A $30 million upgrade all came crashing down on Saturday courtesy of a rogue rabbit blamed for digging holes found on a racecourse in Glenorchy, Tasmania.
The rabbit, a small furry mammal with large ears and a short tail, has brought the Elwick racecourse to a grinding halt. The racecourse, also named Tattersalls Park, is home to the Tasmanian Racing Club which hosts around 110 race meetings and 210 trial days a year, including the Hobart Cup.
Recently, Elwick received a $30 million upgrade, courtesy of taxpayer funds, but the rabbit's attack scuppered the lot. The critter, said the Tasmanian Jockeys' Association, is responsible for burrowing one hole in both the inside and outside tracks of the popular racecourse.
According to The Mercury, although the holes were noticed near the 1000m mark on Saturday and marked with a flag, track inspections on Sunday missed them, until a horse found one with its hoof during the second race on Sunday. Horse racing has been canceled until the holes are fixed.
At first, the holes were thought to be the result of failed drainage works, but rabbits seem to gravitate towards the Elwick course. A ticked-off Geoff Harper, chairman of the Tasmanian Thoroughbred Racing Club expressed disbelief that the track inspection missed the holes even though they were reported. He also told The Mercury, how Tas Racing "have been told consistently that rabbits at Elwick are a problem."
The rabbit's atrocities committed in the name of nature, are thwarting the Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival, including the Hobart Cup. Considered Tasmania's premier thoroughbred horse race, the Hobart Cup is held each year on the first or second Monday in February.
But it appears the bunny's liking for flat stretches is the straw that broke the camel's back and the catalyst for criticism leveled at the racing administration's management of Elwick racecourse. The general manager of the Tasmanian Jockeys' Association, Kevin Ring, complained in a letter to Elwick administrators, "God knows when it was last watered," and Shadow Racing Minister Mark Shelton, called the bunnygate scandal just one of a "string of costly debacles" at Elwick racecourse.
Sadly, the only creature likely to pay for the offenses committed is the poor rabbit. Plans are afoot to call in animal control later this week to deal with him. In search of a home, this poor leporid initiated, well ... a vulgar dysphemism used to describe a chaotic or unpleasant situation. Kind of ironic really, when you consider how wild rabbits eat their own poop.
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