A PROMINENT Ballarat harness trainer has hit out at “lunatics” who threw explosives into his paddock full of horses, sending the animals into a panicked frenzy and severely injuring a thoroughbred racer.
Michael Stanley, who runs a stable with 10 horses on the outskirts of Sebastopol, received a phone call about 8.30pm on Tuesday from a neighbouring property to say there had been a series of loud explosions and blinding lights in his paddock.
After rushing to the stables, he found all 10 horses had bolted wildly, crashing through several fences on the property.
The only thoroughbred on the property, three-year-old Vinnie, became tangled in a wire fence hundreds of metres away.
When Mr Stanley arrived, he saw the horse had torn chunks of flesh from all of his legs.
It is believed either flares or fireworks were thrown into the paddocks, according to neighbours.
Emergency vets spent until midnight tending to Vinnie, who is owned by Mr Stanley’s wife Genevieve Browne. The horse required heavy sedation and bandages to stop the bleeding.
The horse has never raced, but showed a lot of promise in trial runs.
Now he will not be able to leave his stable for months, as he recovers from his wounds.
The three-year-old will also be left with scars on his legs.
“They were going crazy, every horse had gone through a fence and were running around wildly,” Mr Stanley said.
“It’s just lunatics with no sense. Any animal would go crazy if that happened near them.”
Mr Stanley is best known for his training feats with Blucolla Tigerpie, who won Victorian pacing mare of the year in September.
Fortunately, his stable star was in Sydney, where she is competing this weekend.
“These are horses that people have paid a lot of money for. There would have been more than $100,000 investment from different people all up,” Mr Stanley said.
“Vinne was only a couple of millimetres from going deeper and nicking a vein or doing something worse. I suppose he was lucky in that way.”
Anybody with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Ballarat police on 5336 6000.