A Rotorua racehorse that was seen bolting down Fenton St is feeling "happy" and "stress-free" a day after her chaotic escapade.
Local mare Lauramia caused quite a stir yesterday afternoon after she escaped before her race at Arawa Racecourse, running about 2km before hitting a council truck.
Established local horse trainer Bill Pomare was counting his blessings this morning that the jet-black and grey beauty had not caused any serious accidents.
He said the two-time winning horse was not short of experience, but just clicked into race mode a little too early.
The jockey had placed herself on the back of Lauramia and the pair were being led through the side gate on their way to the track.
As they made their way through the gate, the person leading the mare got herself jammed between the horse and the railing. To save being crushed, she was forced to let go of the horse.
I’ve just spoken to Bill Pomare trainer of Lauramia - the horse that bolted off the track & onto the road. She made contact with a truck but galloped away & came to a stop at Government gardens. She has few lacerations but remarkably ok. From what I’ve heard no one is injured— Brendan Popplewell (@b_popplewell) November 27, 2019
Delay in race five at Rotorua (Arawa Park) with runner Lauramia throwing jockey Jasmine Fawcett. Horse has jumped fence into carpark and is believed to be running down the busy road alongside the course. Delay until horse has been caught. Updates to come!— Pat Comerford (@PComerford17) November 27, 2019
Feeling the release, Lauramia clicked into racing mode. She began a slow gallop, giving the jockey the fright of her life.
As she picked up speed, the jockey bailed and the horse realised she was in charge.
Before she knew it, she had jumped and smashed through a steel fence and was galloping full-speed down Fenton St.
"We all started running," Pomare said.
Hold your horses: Escaped racehorse hoofs through CBD
Pomare and his wife began running down the street, followed by a course clerk on the back of a horse and an ambulance to catch her.
"It is near impossible to stop a horse galloping at full speed."
Police and the council also got quick to work to catch the mare.
After clearing two sets of lights, the horse collided with an Infracore truck at the Arawa and Fenton St roundabout.
The horse only suffered moderate injuries, including a bad scratch to the nose and some bruising.
The truck, however, received some extensive denting and a smashed windscreen.
The horse ambulance got to the scene in record time to help the horse, before bringing her back to the course to be checked over by the vets.
Pomare said the outcome was a "blessing from all angles" as Lauramia was fine and had not caused any accidents where people were injured.
"It could've ended very badly. Ninety per cent of situations like this end up in a fatality for the horse," he said.
Pomare said everyone had done their jobs exceptionally well to ensure the situation was handled quickly and Lauramia was walking around "happy" and "stress-free" today.
In Pomare's 28 years as a horse trainer, this had never happened to him before. However, he had seen it happen twice before at the Rotorua track.
He recalled about 20 years ago, where a horse had bolted the track and found itself in a supermarket carpark. Another time, a horse was not so lucky and ended up being seriously injured after running in front of a car on Te Ngae Rd.
Lauramia will likely be back racing in the next couple of months but the headstrong horse will "let us know when she's ready," laughed Pomare.
Chief executive of Infracore Matt Scott said the people in the truck involved in the accident received no injuries.
They were currently working with the insurers to establish the level of the damage and a full investigation was under way, he said.
A security guard at the races Michael Witoto said he was making his way to the stand when he heard a big "ooh" from people in the crowd.
He said he looked up to see a horse crashing through the fence.
Suddenly, loads of people were people were running past him, trying to chase down the horse, he said.
"I've never ever seen anything like that in my life."
Thomas Sears was just minding his business standing outside the bank on Fenton St, when he heard something unusual.
"I heard a galloping noise, so I turned around and had a look and I saw this completely jet-black horse come flying down the road in the oncoming lane towards traffic," Sears said.
"In the other lane was a cop car with his lights on coming after him."
Sears went back to getting money out of the ATM when he heard a second galloping noise behind him.
"I looked up and there was a second horse, with a rider on it, chasing after the first one."