Uttoxeter called off after bomb scare

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The Independent Online

Racing at Uttoxeter was abandoned today with one race remaining following a security alert.

Racing at Uttoxeter was abandoned today with one race remaining following a security alert.

Racegoers were asked to evacuate the stands after what is believed to be a coded bomb warning as the seven runners were taking part in the 3.10 contest, the stanleybet.co.uk Handicap Chase.

And soon afterwards the meeting was officially abandoned.

Uttoxeter general manager Rod Street said: "We have had a bomb warning which we must take seriously due to the persistent number of calls.

"A code was given, as was a precise location, and we are sweeping the area now."

Street added that the caller claimed to be from the IRA, although it is unclear if a known code word was used.

Stan Clarke, chairman of Uttoxeter's owners Northern Racing, was saddened by the scenes at the course.

"It's a great pity this sort of thing happens," he said.

"Everyone is enjoying themselves and then someone comes along to spoil it.

Racing has been seen to be increasingly vulnerable to bomb alerts in recent years.

Most infamously the 1997 Martell Grand National was cancelled due to a security alert, the race eventually being run two days later.

Racing at Kempton on Boxing Day 1999 was abandoned after the Pertemps King George VI Chase following a car bomb threat.

And the meeting at Ascot on October 7 last year was abandoned after just one race because of a coded telephone warning.

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