Blow up at club being investigated

CHIEF Steward of the Northern Rivers Racing Association, Craig Pringle, will finalise an inquiry this week into an alleged assault that took place at Ballina Jockey Club on October 14.

The son of a prominent trainer, and the brother of another prominent trainer, became involved in the blue with a punch being thrown.

The argument was broken up by two race club officials. At this stage police are not involved.

Mr Pringle said details of the stoush were being kept ‘in-house’ until the inquiry was finalised. But it is understood that when officials first met to settle the argument last week another heated argument broke out between the two parties.

No apologies had been offered, Mr Pringle said.

Ballina Jockey Club secretary, Sarah Wills, said details of the inquiry would not be released, but indicated that there were several reasons which had built up over time, before ‘blowing up’ into thealleged assault.

“When you have people working in close quarters in a competitive arena things can happen,” she said.

Lismore Racing Club secretary, Michael Timbrell, said the barney was no surprise considering the potential for petty jealousies, big personalities and close working conditions.

“When you have big personalities people can get on each other’s nerves,” he said.

“And when you’re working in close quarters, as at Ballina, sometimes things can boil over. But it is not acceptable behaviour and it is bad publicity for the industry. I’m sure the stewards will deal with it in an appropriate manner.”

The last time horse racing personalities clashed at Ballina it involved trainers Stephen Lee and Steven Phelps, with Lee fined $10,000 and Phelps banned for six months.

Ms Wills said the latest incident did not relate to the Lee-Phelps controversy.

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