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Racegoers disgust as 'Party in the Paddock' descends into violence

Newbury Racecourse accused of failing to control the crowd

William Walker

Dan Cooper

william.walker@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886641

Racegoers disgust as 'Party in the Paddock' descends into violence

NEWBURY Racecourse has been accused of failing to control its crowd after its ‘Party in the Paddock’ descended into violence.

Angry racegoers took to social media to express their “disgust” at the events, with many reporting glass bottles being thrown and injuring people, and fighting taking place.

Much of the trouble was said to have taken place during performances from DJ Fresh and Danny Howard after the racing. However, both the racecourse and Thames Valley Police confirmed that no arrests had been made.

One comment, which was posted on Facebook after the fracas, said: “Very shocked tonight with the level of violence and fights at Newbury Racecourse, along with the constant bottle-throwing of alcohol and wee.

“I am more shocked as children were at the event and had to witness such violence. I will not be attending these events again. Hugely disappointed I paid £55 for violence. I am disappointed Newbury Racecourse – what a huge let down.”

Nadya Szczodrowski said: “I’ve just come back from hospital having to have stitches in my lip due to having a glass bottle hurled at me from across the crowd. As you can imagine, I had a fantastic first time at the races.”

Kim Haysom-Gamblin said: “The bottle that I was hit in the back of the head with was a glass champagne bottle. There was a small child pulled out of the middle of one of the bigger fights at the front which was horrible. The security ‘supervisor’ had no control at all.”

Another innocent racegoer caught up in the middle of the violence was 43-year-old Nicola Tomkins of Craven Road, who was attending the event with her 19-year-old daughter Ella.

She said: “I go to every single one of these events and they are progressively getting worse. It had been simmering all afternoon.

“My daughter got hit and is bruised and a little lad in front of us can’t have been older than seven, and he was hit by a glass bottle. I was screaming at them to get this poor boy out of the crowd.

“It is absolutely disgusting, dangerous and getting out of control. What has the world come to when a seven-year old is in tears and needing emergency medical treatment after being hit by a glass bottle?

“The racecourse said they were not encouraging young people to attend the event, so why did they take our money?

“This is really bad. They are putting public safety at risk and soon someone is going to get seriously hurt. The security was terrible, they couldn’t control the crowd. You would expect a lot better at an event of this size.”

A spokesman for Newbury Racecourse, Andy Clifton, said: “Regrettably, the behaviour of a small number of people during the evening performance spoil-ed the day for some of our customers, for which we apologise. As a result of that we are reviewing thoroughly our stewarding, crowd control and staging arrangements and will make changes should an event of this nature be held here in the future.”

Mr Clifton added: “We work closely with our own stewarding contractors and the police to provide an appropriate level of cover for all events at the racecourse. Our policy is not to discuss the specifics of stewarding and policing arrangements.”

A total of 13,768 attended the event. The main race of the day – the £250,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint – was won by the Richard Fahey-trained Lathom at odds of 28/1.

Did you witness any of the events described above? Email dan.cooper@newburynews.co.uk

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