A number of men caused havoc on the N4 leading several motorists to take evasive action last Friday during a so-called ‘sulky race’ between Longford and Edgeworthstown.
Gardaí were called to the scene at around 3pm after receiving notification that the horse racing craze was underway.
When they arrived, there was no sign of the men.
A follow up search uncovered some individuals hiding in a rented yard off the main N4 with others taking to the fields in a desperate bid to escape.
“Motorists had to take extreme care and try to avoid them as the men raced the animals on the road,” said a Garda spokesman.
All of those involved were swiftly stopped as Gardaí invoked powers under the new Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.
“Gardaí from Edgeworthstown soon located the men involved hidden in a rented yard off the N4.
“Some ran off on seeing the Gardaí but were soon stopped,” added the spokesman.
The owners of the animals were ordered to provide veterinary treatment for what were described as “obvious injuries” to the horses.
No arrests were made though the Leader understands those taking part are from a Kildare-based Traveller family linked to serious crime and a string of burglaries nationwide.
Garda sources believe senior members of that family were down visiting a well known Edgeworthstown criminal at the time of the incident.
The Kildare family are a settled Traveller gang who in recent times have become targets of Operation Fiachla, a national Garda operation targeting those involved in countrywide burglaries and robberies.
They were also in the company of a man, now living in Edgeworthstown, whom Gardaí are also targeting in relation to a series of burglaries and other crimes.
Sulky racing, as it has become widely known, has come under increasing fire from from animal welfare activists.
Last month, ISPCA officials called for its prohibition after a pony was left injured following an incident in Tipperary.