Horse racing officials have condemned the actions of two men, one of whom is understood to be former AFL player Rhys Palmer, who threw shoes onto a Perth harness racing track in the middle of a race, hitting one horse and sulky.
In a bizarre incident at Gloucester Park raceway on Friday night, which was captured on film, a shoe can be seen flying through the air and onto the track, bouncing amid a group of six horses and their drivers riding in sulkies.
The race caller could be heard saying “someone has thrown a shoe onto the track, Security please grab this man”.
None of the drivers or horses were injured in the incident and the race continued.
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Gloucester Park chief executive Michael Radley said it was “an extremely ugly incident which could have resulted in the field falling and serious injury or death to the drivers and/or horses”.
He said race officials would speak with police about the incident.
Operations manager Tony Williamson described the pair as “well-known young guys here in Perth here that play a bit of footy”.
“We grabbed a couple of young guys that were being absolute idiots. They threw a couple of shoes onto the track as the horses were in the straight,” he said.
“One had actually hit a sulky and a horse, so luckily it wasn’t a major incident or major accident.”
He said the two men were issued with move on notices, and the club would ban one of them from the venue permanently.
“What he did was absolutely ridiculous, was dangerous, so he won’t be allowed to set foot on Gloucester Park, and the stewards will also be investigating, look at the vision, look at what happened, and be taking further action,” Mr Williamson said.
Palmer, who won the AFL rising star award in 2008, played for Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney and Carlton, before joining WAFL club Swan Districts, who he currently plays for.
In a statement, Swan Districts chief executive Jeff Dennis confirmed “there was an incident involving its players at Gloucester Park last night”.
“The first and utmost concern of the club at this point in time is the health and safety of all involved,” he said.
“This includes the participants and spectators at WA Harness Racing and our players.
“The club is in the process of confirming what has occurred. It’s important that any decisions taken by the club are informed by facts.”