SOME of Victoria's most respected racehorse owners have rallied around chief steward Terry Bailey and his integrity department after the gun attack on Bailey's home that rocked the racing world earlier this week.

PATRICK BARTLEY reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that almost 40 of the industry's top names have bought prominent advertising space in the state's two leading newspapers, Fairfax's The Age and News Ltd's Herald Sun, to show their support.

The move was orchestrated by two leading owners and syndicators in Nick Williams, son of leviathan owner Lloyd, and Terry Henderson, head of the OTI syndicate, run in partnership with former Test cricketer Simon O'Donnell.

The pair are tough competitors on the track, but they were united in their abhorrence of the standover tactics unknown assailants used to try to silence Bailey, as he mounts a crusade against drug use and wrongdoing in the sport.

"It's so important that Terry and his department know that we are behind him and that his department is so critical in the running of the industry that we all love," said Nick Williams.

"This is why we have joined together to show how unified we are as an industry and that he knows we have got his back."

The full-page advert pulls no punches in its denunciation of cheats and criminals who drag racing's image through the mud.

"The events of the past week have created a bond between competitors that is stronger than any one individual's goals within the sport," it says.

"That bond manifests itself in our absolute support for Racing Victoria's integrity department and in particular its drive to ensure a clean and safe environment for our racing product and, most importantly, the welfare of our horses.

"The actions of a small minority who seek to take advantage of our sport through cheating or crime are in no way representative of the spirit of racing that the vast majority of those who invest or participate in the sport."

The list of signatories is a who's who of owners and managers who will take prominent positions during Cup week.

They include: David Redvers, the representative for Sheikh Fahad's Qatar Racing (which won the Melbourne Cup with Dunaden four years ago); Tom Magnier, the Australian head of the Irish-based Coolmore organisation, one of the world's leading bloodstock and racing concerns; Black Caviar's breeder Rick Jamieson and the champion mare's senior part owner Neil Werrett; and prominent Melbourne sporting identity Gerry Ryan, who was a part owner of the 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain.

The racing world was thrown into turmoil on Sunday evening when news broke that Bailey was attacked in his own home.

Bailey and his family were relaxing in the back of the house at the time, and were uninjured. He has vowed such standover tactics will not force him to change the way he operates to safeguard racing's integrity.

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