Two years ago a fight broke out during racing at Royal Ascot, and last November there was a mass brawl at Newbury. Although nobody was injured on either occasion, that was not the case at Sandown on Saturday after a fight in the car park after racing. Ambulance crews treated one man at the racecourse after he suffered cuts and bruises, but much more seriously, one person was stabbed in the neck, and taken to hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.
Two groups of suited and booted people started fighting in the car park at about 6.15pm, and police arrested 10 of them, around half of those involved. This was not a case of young hooligans, as all those taken into custody were said to be in their 40s.
One of the things the police are trying to establish is whether the two people hurt were involved in the scrap or whether they were innocent bystanders who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Detective Inspector Kevin Jewell, who is leading the Surrey Police investigation, said: "This was a concerning incident resulting in one man receiving what were originally thought to be life threatening injuries. A large number of people would have been leaving the venue around the time that the altercation happened so I am certain that members of the public must have seen the incident taking place and would urge them to contact police as soon as possible. Fortunately no one appears to have now suffered any serious injuries during the altercation but we are carrying out a thorough investigation into the incident. "Our response to this incident was swift and thanks to the public's assistance and that of staff at the racecourse we have already made a number of arrests in connection with the incident.”
The police acknowledged that such incidents are rare, but despite that Elmbridge Neighbourhood Sergeant Mark Bracknell said, "Following the incident at Sandown Park, Elmbridge neighbourhood officers will be carrying out additional high visibility patrols in the area and will be speaking with local residents. We are working closely with security and other staff at Sandown Park to gather information and I would urge anyone who knows anything about the incident where two men sustained injuries to come forward. The venue hosts a number of events throughout the year and incidents of this nature are very unusual."
For Jockey Club Racecourses, owners of Sandown Park, Rupert Trevelyan said that they had passed CCTV footage and witness statements on to the police, but beyond stressing that security at the racetracks was taken seriously, did not want to comment further.