Betting has been suspended for The Everest horse race amid the Sydney Opera House saga

Mark Evans/Getty ImagesThe Everest Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse in 2017.

  • NSW Racing has suspended betting for The Everest horse race.
  • It also announced that it secretly conducted The Everest barrier draw ahead of tonight’s official announcement.
  • The decisions by the regulating body follows public backlash over the NSW government’s decision to allow the event to be advertised on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Racing NSW has suspended betting for The Everest horse race following public backlash over its plan to advertise on the Sydney Opera House.

It today announced that all betting on the 2018 The TAB Everest will be suspended from 12pm AEDT, until the final barriers have been publicly displayed on the Opera House this evening.

The regulating body said the suspension was in order “to avoid any perceived integrity risk”.

The original plan was to conduct a live barrier draw and project the result onto the Opera House sails.

Racing NSW Stewards will later this evening advise all wagering operators when they may recommence betting on The Everest.

It also announced that it secretly conducted the barrier draw ahead of tonight’s official announcement.

Racing NSW said the decision to draw the results prior to tonight’s event was “to circumvent any security risks that may exist”.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have backed the government’s move to allow the advertisement despite calls to reverse the decision.

“It’s important for us to promote our major events (and) I believe the tomorrow evening strikes that right balance,” Berejiklian said yesterday, adding that it “will be in good taste”.

Meanwhile, radio commentator Alan Jones, who last week launched into an aggressive argument with Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron over the ad, has apologised for his remarks.

“I used some words in these programs about The Everest, and the Opera House, and Louise, which in hindsight I now most regret,” he said this morning.

“So to Louise and those people who’ve been offended, I apologise.”

The projection is due to go live tonight at 8pm AEDT, but could be targeted by as many as 3,000 protesters.

Australian music news website MusicFeeds reports some are planning a “light-based” protest to disrupt the 6-minute advertising projection.

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