A popular internet forum has closed a thread about a controversial race at Menangle on Tuesday which is being investigated by stewards.
Fed-up punters vented their frustration over Kevin Pizzuto's drive on Our Amazing Art after it ran second to odds-on favourite and stablemate Franco Torres.
Chief steward Bill Cable has stood down Our Amazing Art and adjourned an inquiry into the race, in which Pizzuto loomed up to win in the straight but failed to run down his stablemate.
The website harnesslink.com holds an open forum on the sport and quickly the thread on the race got out of control. ''I'm going to lock this thread as it's taken a turn for the worst,'' Harnesslink's marketing manager, Jules Boven, wrote in closing the discussion. ''I understand many of you are not happy with the state of racing especially in Australia at the moment, but honestly we were hoping this forum would become more than a place to vent.
''Almost daily we receive calls and emails from various parties, often with accompanying legal threats, and, if it does come to it, we will simply have to shut down, as currently the forum is free and not ad-supported, so there's not much business incentive there.''
Boven pointed out legal action could follow from anything published on the website. ''In a perfect world, I'd allow anybody to say what they liked, but internet being what it is, and racing being what that is, it wouldn't take long for everything to fall apart.
''Easiest course of action for Harnesslink would be to simply not allow any talk of suspension, rule-breaking etc.
''In my opinion this wouldn't make us any better than industry bodies (who I won't name) that don't mention the 'dark side' of racing, and want to pretend all is well.''
Harness Racing NSW chairman Graeme Campbell said his board would sign off on the merger of thoroughbred and harness racing stewards' panels only if it was in the best interests of the sport. "Obviously there is a lot to work through but the board has resolved to investigate the viability of combining the regulatory panels,'' Campbell said.
"There may be potential benefits to both codes. However, as a board, we need to be satisfied that our final decision is in the best interests of the harness racing industry.''