Thousands of spectators jammed Canberra racecourse on Monday (26 April) to watch and bet on Australia's first official camel race.
GV Crowd at camel race meeting
SV Camels led out for race
SVs Bookmakers and crowd (3 shots)
GV Two riders fall off as camels race round track and winner passes finishing post
SV Camels led in for second race
GV Camels race round course watched by crowd
SPORT: CAMEL RACING
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Background: Thousands of spectators jammed Canberra racecourse on Monday (26 April) to watch and bet on Australia's first official camel race.
There were two events - the Camel Cup and the Dromedary Handicap, both over 800 metres (yards). But there were only a total of nine starters, four in the first race and five in the second. Only two camels officially finished in each race, which made it a sad day for the punters trying their luck on a novelty event.
The bookmakers did a roaring trade, however, taking bets of up to 2,000 Australian dollars (GBP1,360 sterling).
The camels had undergone a crash training programme after being brought from their wild environment in Australia's Northern Territory, but the big occasion proved to be too much for their nerves.
In the first race long-legged Rangoon tossed his rider at the first bend, while heavily-fancied Throo lived up to his name - he crashed into the rails and left his jockey spreadeagled on the track. Serangle won the event by a short half-hump from the favourite, Naree.
The second race was marred by a false start when the camels jumped the gun and refused to return to the line. Their riders attempted to haul them back, but the camels beat a wobbly retreat along the grandstand rail.
It took a female hand to subdue one flighty contestant - Joanne Mc Eachran piloted Satinshathan to an easy win in the second race.
The experiment was considered a huge success and Canberra race officials are considering convening regular meetings -- if they can find a number of jockeys game enough to participate.