A security guard was bashed on the head and body with his own torch, then eye-gouged, as he struggled with a burglar in what is being described as a senseless and stupid attack.

Police have arrested one man and say they're looking for up to four others after the guard caught the group allegedly trying to break into an office at the Thames Racecourse.

Detective Sergeant Martyn Hughes of the Thames CIB said the 49-year-old victim was doing a routine patrol when he disturbed what was thought to be a group of five burglars.

"Initially, he didn't see anything suspicious, but he was on the phone to police when he saw the group walk past a window and go into an office.

"The victim was still connected with the police call-taker when he went to investigate what was happening. Four of the group fled the scene but our victim ... grabbed a fifth and a struggle developed."

Mr Hughes said that during the struggle, the guard lost his metal torch, which the offender used to hit him several times on his head and body.

The detective said the guard bravely held on to his attacker, "who then resorted to gouging him in one of his eyes".

"The pain of this made the victim let go and the offender fled, but not before leaving a hooded sweatshirt behind which the victim gave to responding police."

The guard, who works for Safe & Sound security, could not be contacted for comment yesterday but his employer, Lisa Brodie, said the attack was senseless and stupid.

"It wasn't worth hurting someone for. To be honest, we are not entirely sure what they are after, but a racecourse isn't a place where they would leave money lying around," she said.

"It's just one of those senseless, stupid crimes that we hear about."

Ms Brodie said the guard was highly experienced and had been working for the firm for nearly two and a half years.

Yesterday, he was recovering from a serious eye injury in Waikato Hospital.

Ms Brodie said she had owned the security company for 14 years and the assault was the first any of her staff had ever suffered.

"We are a pretty tight team and it's knocked us a bit," she said.

"But it is a risky business and you can't avoid all things like this."

Officers, with the help of a police dog, found a 22-year-old man hiding in a tree shortly after the incident, but they doubt he was the guard's attacker.

Mr Hughes said the suspected burglars needed to hand themselves in to the police.

"We believe the person responsible for the victim's injuries will be sporting possible bruising to his face because the guard put up quite a struggle," he said.

"We're asking any medical centres who have treated someone for possible black eyes or facial bruising to contact us. Likewise we would like to [ask] ... anyone who knows someone suffering from unexplained bruises or scratches to the face to contact Thames police on (07) 867-9600."

Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.