Riccarton racegoers still messy despite precautions

Riccarton racegoers unleashed their messy, drunken selves despite increased security and warnings that intoxicated patrons would be sent home.

Numerous people were arrested yesterday at this year's New Zealand Cup celebration held at Riccarton Park Racecourse. TV footage revealed bleeding patrons, raucous racegoers turned away at the door and young women stumbling over their high heels.

In a bid to stop sloppy drunks and unsightly behaviour, the Canterbury Jockey Club increased security by 43 per cent to 262 staff. Crowds were warned they could be breathalysed on arrival. If they were found to be intoxicated they would be turned away.

The move follows unsavoury scenes at Flemington for the Melbourne Cup carnival. International coverage, including pictures of Kiwi "lady in blue" Jade Millings riding wheelie bins and lying in a bush, went around the world and reflected poorly on Australia.

Canterbury Jockey Club chief executive Tim Mills told TVNZ they didn't want to see people behaving badly.

"Steps have been taken to try and remedy that as best as you can do when you've got people arriving, big crowds, perhaps preloading a little bit which is one of our curses."

As with previous years there was a temporary alcohol ban on the roads around the Riccarton racecourse.

BYO is no longer permitted in the members' carpark, but patrons were still able to buy alcohol in the carpark and other licensed bar areas.

Attendance was also capped at 18,000 patrons so as to better manage the event.

A team of 20 "Drinkright Taskforce" qualified duty managers from bars across Christchurch worked with police to ensure alcohol was managed responsibly, assessed patrons for intoxication and removed them as necessary.

Drink Right taskforce leader Chris Casserly told TVNZ there was trouble getting the message out to patrons that intoxication was unacceptable.

"We won't allow people to preload before they come in. They're just not getting that message. So they're spending money on tickets, they're coming down here, they're being sent home."

- NZ Herald

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