Everest betting suspended amid Opera House row
ALL betting has been suspended for the world's most lucrative horse race as fiery debate over its advertising on the Sydney Opera House rages on.
Racing NSW announced the drastic move citing "security risks" at the Everest race in Sydney.
The organisation also revealed the barrier draw had been conducted in confidence and the result would be kept secret until Tuesday evening, when the controversial imagery is planned to be projected onto the Opera House.
"Racing NSW Stewards today have conducted the barrier draw for the 2018 The TAB Everest in preparation for this evening's barrier draw event," the organisation said in a statement.
"Racing NSW has made the decision to conduct the draw prior to the event to circumvent any security risks that may exist.
"The results of the barrier draw have been held in confidence by Racing NSW Stewards to ensure they are not publicly known until this evening.
"To avoid any perceived integrity risk, Racing NSW has determined that all betting on the 2018 The TAB Everest be suspended commencing at 12pm today until the final barriers have been publicly displayed this evening.
"Racing NSW Stewards shall advise all wagering operators this evening when they may recommence betting on the event."
The live barrier draw results were due to be projected onto the Opera House sails this evening.
However a bitter dispute over the plan continues as thousands of Sydneysiders gear up for a planned protest at the Opera House tonight.
Around 3000 people on Facebook said they are attending the protest on Tuesday night where they will try and disrupt the Everest projection using torches and mobile phone lights.
The Change.org petition, which the website says is its "fastest growing petition" in recent memory, is expected to be delivered to NSW parliament on Tuesday morning.
It was started by Sydney father Mike Woodcock who says he was "offended" by the state government's presumption Sydneysiders would be OK with the decision.
Police are monitoring a number of Facebook groups organising protesters armed with lights and torches to ruin the light show.