Mass brawls at Ascot amid rising violence at racecourses
Calls for horse racing authorities to ensure fighting not repeated at Royal Ascot next month
British horse racing has been hit by violence at meets for a second weekend running, with two mass brawls breaking out at Ascot on Saturday.
One of the fights involved up to eight people, and the other up to 20 young men, four of whom were taken to hospital, The Times reports.
Last week up to 50 people were embroiled in a fight at Goodwood, with video footage posted on social media showing one man being kicked in the head.
There is a “clear risk of further such scenes” at this year’s Royal Ascot, which runs from 19 to 23 June. The event has previously been marred by violence on Ladies Day in 2011 and 2017, reports The Guardian.
“Also at last year’s Royal week, an unidentified racegoer threw a plastic pint glass full of beer at the jockey Andrea Atzeni as he rode to the start,” adds the newspaper.
Matthew Lincoln, a syndicate owner of a contender in the Royal Hunt Cup, called on Ascot racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority to ensure the violent scenes will not be repeated. Lincoln said on social media that the prospect of further fights had left him “seriously considering staying away” from the race meeting, on 20 June.
“Racetracks need to invest in more robust security measures, which may even mean paying for a more significant police presence,” Lincoln told The Guardian. “It might sound drastic but how else are we to deter troublemakers?”
Ashley Morton-Hunte, communications manager for Ascot racecourse, said: “Our annual preparation for Royal Ascot includes a scenario session, which will take place this week, as planned. Topical issues are discussed with relevant authorities and preventative measures will be agreed then.”