Camel racing takes off in Australia

Camel racing takes off in Australia

Fans starved of horse racing because of an outbreak of equine influenza received bizarre relief when camels took to the track in Sydney.

The strictly no-betting, amateur-jockey race meet took place at Sydney's Harold Park Paceway, which is among tracks where racing has been suspended during the disease outbreak.

Several thousand people turned up to watch the camels, about three times the usual crowd for harness racing.

Members of the public paid for the privilege of being jockeys, and were given the simplest of instructions – “hold on tight.”

The camels ran down the straight and were rewarded with a bucket of food at the finish line.

Such was the success of the event, the organisers now are planning to run several more camel races this year.

Equine influenza was first detected in Australia in August and spread widely among horse populations in New South Wales and Queensland states.

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