Two horses were scratched from Sunday’s Racing.com Park (Pakenham) meeting owing to their trainers considering the synthetic track ‘unsafe’.
Colin Little withdrew Peko from Race 9 for that reason, with Pat Carey scratching one of his two runners in Race 10, Habesha, on the same grounds.
Little said he felt compelled to scratch Peko after watching the first two races on the synthetic track and observing a large number of horses coughing after competing in their races.
“I’ve scratched the horse because I think the track is unsafe,” Little said.
“I’ve been a disciple of this track, it’s been through a lot, but it has gone pear-shaped.”
Chairman of stewards, Brett Wright, disagreed that the track was ‘unsafe’ but permitted the scratching of the horses on ‘horse welfare’ grounds.
Sunday’s meeting, which saw the first six jumps races run on the turf track with the final four races run on the synthetic track, was the second on the track in three days following a meeting on Friday.
Another nine-race card is scheduled for Tuesday.