Salisbury will look at drink-free options after Johnson Houghton experience
Salisbury racecourse will improve stewarding and explore whether it is possible to have drink-free areas after trainer Eve Johnson Houghton's altercation with a group of men in a section reserved for owners and trainers during Saturday's evening meeting.
Jeremy Martin, clerk of the course and executive director at the Wiltshire course, was not aware of the incident until he read about Johnson Houghton's experience in the Racing Post.
But after speaking to the trainer on Tuesday he said it was unacceptable that she had to endure such "idiotic and obnoxious" behaviour.
Johnson Houghton called for designated drinking areas after she had been involved in an exchange with eight to ten men in their 20s when she asked them to move from the owners' and trainers' section.
Martin said: "It appears that this is a case of some young male racegoers being idiotic and obnoxious. In Eve's own words they were non-aggressive and non-threatening, which she very much emphasises.
"They were in the owners' and trainers' seated area, which is in the top corner of the Bibury stand. It's something we have never stewarded because there has not been something like this before.
"It was not an incident of disorder, it was young men being in the wrong place and being obnoxious. When she has asked them to sit down they have been cheeky and rude back and have used bad language, which is not acceptable."
Security at Goodwood and Ascot and levels of drinking at racecourses generally have come under scrutiny after outbreaks of fighting at two Saturday meetings this month.
Martin said all Salisbury's Saturday evening meetings are attended by six police officers plus security staff, specially trained to deal with city and town nightlife, while the size of the track might limit the options for introducing designated drinking areas.
"Salisbury is a small course with only small enclosures," he said. "There are three or four Saturday nights when it is busier than normal.
"We'll discuss as a board if there are one or two areas you can make drink free, and possibly that upper seated level. We're a bit limited as to where we can restrict but we'll certainly look at it."
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