All betting for the Everest horse race has been suspended, with Racing NSW stewards citing “security risks” amid a fiery debate about the use of the Sydney Opera House to promote the event.
Racing NSW also revealed the barrier draw had been conducted in confidence and the result would be kept secret until Tuesday evening, when the imagery is planned to be projected onto the Opera House.
“Racing NSW has made the decision to conduct the draw prior to the event to circumvent any security risks that may exist,” the organisation said in a statement.
“Racing NSW stewards shall advise all wagering operators this evening when they may recommence betting on the event.”
The original plan was to conduct a live barrier draw and project the result onto the Opera House sails.
Opera House chief executive Louise Herron opposed that plan last week, saying it would breach guidelines that limit what can be projected onto the building.
The NSW Government overrode that position after broadcaster Alan Jones clashed with Ms Herron in a heated on-air discussion about the merits of the race and its value to the economy.
Mr Jones today apologised for the comments he made during the interview, saying he regretted the impact of some of the words used.
Racing NSW said betting had been suspended from midday “to avoid any perceived integrity risk”.