Patrons and horses were forced to evacuate after the grass fire engulfed cars near the Great Western Racecourse just after 1.30pm today.
Paramedics treated a man in his 40s who tripped over and cut his leg and a few others were assessed at the scene.
Photos showed one car up in flames, with multiple others in dire straits as the fire raged nearby and thick plumes of smoke billowed into the air.
Nine Country Fire Authority (CFA) vehicles, as well as water-bombing aircraft and Fire Rescue Victoria crews, battled the blaze on Moyston-Great Western Road, about 28kms north of Ararat.
“Approximately 18 cars were burnt in the blaze which spread to nearby grassland,” a CFA statement read.
“The fire was brought under control just before 2.30pm and crews remain on scene extinguishing the fire ensuring there are no remaining hot spots.”
The fire also burnt through 0.5 hectares of grass.
Racing Victoria confirmed the Great Western race meeting had been cancelled after the first race due to the blaze.
“Racing Victoria wish to advise that today’s meeting at Great Western has been abandoned after Race 1 owing to a car fire within the vicinity of the racecourse,” a Racing Victoria statement read.
“The CFA is managing the situation and the fire is now under control.
“All participants and horses have been evacuated, and patrons for their safety have either been evacuated or directed to muster points if their car was parked near the fire.”
The cause of the fire is unknown, but it is not believed to be suspicious.