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Harness racing boss threatened with machete

Driving Horse and Pony Club (DHPC) will not be pressing any charges against a man alleged to have threatened association President Arnold Manders during last weekend's harness racing at Vesey Street.

It is alleged that a man threatened Mr Manders with a machete during a heated row that started near the judge's box before spilling onto the racetrack.

According to observers, the machete wielding man was only prevented from inflicting any harm when a club member courageously stepped in before police arrived on the scene.

Asked will his association press any charges, Mr Manders said: “No charges have been pressed because we don't need the negative publicity.”

Teacher Mr Manders, who also serves as Bermuda's interim national cricket coach, added that his association does not have the authority to impose any disciplinary sanctions on the man alleged to have threatened him.

He said: “Our hands are tied because the individual is not a member. If it was a driver or member we could've dealt with it.”

Mr Manders said the matter has been refered to Bermuda Equestrian Federation (BEF) who will ultimately determine what action, if any, to take.

“The Bermuda Equestrian Federation are the ones responsible for the property so we have to turn it over to them,” he added. “It has to be dealt with by them.”

The incident marred last Friday's harness racing and left some onlookers terrified, observers claimed.

“It was a full house and the women and children who saw it happen panicked,” said one observer who spoke under condition of anonymity. “A lot of people were upset about what took place. Words and threats were exchanged and a machete was produced.”

When initially probed on the incident, Mr Manders said: ”It's very unfortunate that it happened but it did happen and you can't control other people's behaviour. I'm just glad that it happened after the races and not during.”

It is understood that several police officers in cars and bikes were summoned to the disturbance at Vesey Street.

However, police have yet to confirm that any of their personnel attended the scene.

DHPC executives met last Monday to review the incident that ruined what was otherwise a pleasant and entertaining night of harness racing.

A few years ago club officials banned driver Bobby DeGraff from the Vesey Street racetrack for several race days for assaulting rival driver David Burrows Jr.

The matter eventually spilled over into the courts where a judge placed Mr DeGraff on probation for a specified period.

Driving Horse and Pony Club President Arnold Manders (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published September 19, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 19, 2013 at 12:35 am)

Harness racing boss threatened with machete

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