One day before the race that stopped the nation, there was the stubborn snake which stopped a race meet.
Monday’s greyhound races at Northam were abandoned less than halfway through after a huge dugite, estimated at close to two metres long, was spotted on the Burwood Park course.
The fact there was a snake wasn’t a major problem – the issue was after being sniffed out by a dog, the snake went and camped itself near the finish line and refused to move.
“It is the first time I’ve heard a race meeting get called off because of snakes,” Greyhounds WA racing manager Dennis O’Brien said.
“There’s plenty of snakes around racecourses, but he didn’t want to leave.”
A snake handler was called in and recommended leaving the reptile where it was, so in the interests of safety the stewards called the rest of the afternoon off.
O’Brien said it was always disappointing to lose races – particularly the day before the Melbourne Cup, when betting agencies are packed – but that stewards would always act in the interests of the people and animals at the track – including the snake.
“He was basically under rocks and bushes and to get him you would have had to hurt him, and we’re not going to kill the snake just to get races going,” he said.
“It does hurt us, but the welfare of the animals and the people are more important than that.
“No-one was hurt, including the snake… and we’ll be back next week.”