Peak Drama: Betting Suspended After Everest Security Concerns
All bets are off.
Racing NSW stewards have suspended betting on The Everest horse race and conducted the barrier draw behind closed doors as a direct result of the fallout over the Sydney Opera House fight.
The original Racing NSW plan was to conduct the barrier draw live at the Opera House, with the results projected in real time onto the sails of the much-loved architectural icon.
But Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys decided to conduct the draw in private on Tuesday morning in order to lessen the security risk at this evening's Opera House function, when thousands of Sydneysiders are expected to protest.
Racing NSW stewards took a video of the draw for audit purposes, and as a precaution against anyone illicitly using the information, made the decision to suspend all betting on the race.
"Racing NSW Stewards shall advise all wagering operators this evening when they may recommence betting on the event," a Racing NSW statement said.
The controversial saga over Australia's richest race started when Alan Jones conducted an interview in which he said Opera House CEO Louise Herron should be sacked if she didn't agree to project the barrier draw of The Everest on the Opera House sails.
The interview was widely perceived to be bullying in tone, and there was a massive public backlash against both the nastiness of the interview and the concept of using the Opera House as a "billboard".
Jones later apologised for his comments, while The Chaser projected an advertisement onto the Opera House in a stunt which appeared to mock both Racing NSW and prime minister Scott Morrison, who said "Why not put it on the biggest billboard Sydney has?".
Meanwhile a petition carrying 232,000 names opposed to the projection has been delivered to NSW Parliament.
Betting will resume on The Everest later this evening after the results of the draw are released.