‘Prankster’ banned for life
by Ray Thomas
The Daily Telegraph
June 22, 2008
O’Mara, 31, from Canberra, has been warned off tracks around the world for life after this drunken prank at Moruya in February which nearly had disastrous results.
The racehorse Morcombe was galloping to an easy win when O’Mara, wearing nothing but underpants and a purple wig, jumped on to the track and made his own dash to the finish line, only to fall flat on his stomach right on the finish line.
Morcombe caught sight of the stumbling O’Mara, took fright and tried to jump the inside running rail, nearly dislodging jockey Tracy O’Hara.
This enabled Bournda See to “win” but stewards declared a no-race as O’Mara’s actions had effectively altered the result. O’Hara said Morcombe was definitely going to win until O’Mara ran on to the track.
“The horse could have gone through the rail; anything could have happened,” O’Hara said.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys authorised stewards to hold an inquiry into the incident on Friday and to “warn off” O’Mara from all racecourses.
O’Mara did not appear at the inquiry but provided a written submission to stewards. It is understood O’Mara was on his buck’s day and began drinking at 7am.
A clearly intoxicated O’Mara was arrested by police at the course and later appeared in court and was charged with offensive behaviour, fined $1000 and banned from drinking on a racecourse for 12 months.
Stewards have extended that to a worldwide ban from even setting foot on a racetrack – and it might not end there.
V’landys will write to other bodies such as the NRL, AFL, soccer and cricket, to see if similar bans can be extended to other sports, similar to the reciprocal understanding racing bodies have around the world.
“If someone put lives at risk with a stupid prank on the track or sporting field, then they should have the liberty of having the right to attend races and sporting functions withdrawn,” V’landys said.
“Likewise any idiot who sets off a flare … at a footy match for example, we don’t want on our racetracks.”
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