The show must go on: blaze close to course fails to halt evening action
There was high drama at Yarmouth on Wednesday evening with racing delayed after two fires broke out close to the end of the back straight, sending plumes of thick, grey smoke over the track.
An initial blaze was spotted after the first race with the fire brigade quickly on the scene and apparently containing that fire relatively easily and the second race run without delay.
However, a second fire erupted closer to the track, encroaching on the golf course next to the course and looking more serious than the first.
As a result the third race on the card was delayed by approximately ten minutes but with more fire crews called to the scene, the second blaze was contained and clerk of the course Richard Aldous was able to give the thumbs-up for racing to continue.
“It has got a little bit into the golf course but we’re going to run these two races around the bend, which is absolutely fine and 400-500 metres away," said Aldous before the third race on the card.
"The wind does not seem to be blowing the smoke towards the bend and I’ve got my head groundsman and executive director down there, and we’ll keep an eye on it and keep everyone updated as things happen."
He added on At The Races: “There are four or five [fire] units down there so hopefully they will dampen it down and hopefully there will be no more flare-ups. We had to make sure they could get around the bend without any problems.”
An eyewitness at the course had earlier said: “The first fire looked to be under control but then a second one broke out over a wider area and if anything closer to the track. There were lots of firefighters at the scene to tackle it but it did not look good with all the smoke.”
The meeting had started in dramatic fashion with jockey Shelley Birkett unseated soon after the start from her mount Terri Rules in the opening 5f handicap.
The rider was taken to hospital having suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the incident, with her mum Julia Feilden, also the trainer of Terri Rules, later reporting from hospital that her daughter's shoulder had been put back into place.