A spectacular crash marred Southland's biggest day of harness racing at Ascot Park in Invercargill today.

The race-10 crash is thought to have been triggered when Louie, driven by Tim Williams, faltered through injury and crashed to the track about 50m past the winning post.

Several runners behind were unable to avoid the stricken pair and crashed over top. Williams said the incident happened so quickly it was difficult to establish exactly what happened.

''When you are going at that speed ... it happens that quick.''


Ambulance personnel and others went immediately to the aid of the affected drivers.

Peter Hunter, the driver of My Georgie Boy, was taken to Southland Hospital by ambulance. His condition was not known but several people leaving the track after the incident commented Hunter had been talking to ambulance personnel.

All the other drivers who had been dislodged from their carts walked away with minor injuries. The race was subsequently abandoned. After the race meeting, stewards were still working their way through a lengthy list of witnesses. Chairman of stewards Liam Tidmarsh then adjourned the inquiry.

''We can not comment any further, given there is an investigation pending.''

He confirmed Louie was euthanised at the track.

Ascot Park Raceway was hosting the Southern Harness Diamonds Day.