Angry punters protest South African result
10:42 AEST Mon Mar 18 2013

Racing at Clairwood in South Africa was abandoned on Sunday after angry racegoers protested over the running of the sixth race on the card.

The odds-on favourite, My Sanctuary, was impeded at the start of the Kings Pact Stakes by her gate opening slowly and finished third.

Clairwood stewards judged that the result of the race, won by War Path, was allowed to stand in accordance with National Horseracing Authority (NHA) rules.

Gold Circle, the South African racing authority, said the remainder of the meeting had to be abandoned as the safety of the jockeys and horses in the last three races could not be guaranteed.

"Members of the public at Clairwood staged a protest and, despite the presence of members of the South African Police services, neither the NHA or Gold Circle could guarantee the safety of the riders and horses scheduled to participate in races seven, eight and nine," the statement said.

"As a consequence, it was decided to abandon these races."

Tex Lerena, chairman of the South African Jockeys Association, played down reports the Clairwood weighing room had been stormed by rioting punters.

"I understand it all came about because the starting gate opened slowly on the favourite," he said.

"The stewards made a call to allow the result to stand, which wasn't to the satisfaction of a group of disgruntled racegoers.

"Had any of my jockeys been in any kind of danger I'm certain I would have known about it.

"People were clearly upset, but I'm sure the situation was soon under control."

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