Death of four racehorses on opening day races probed (UK)

Cross-posted from HorseTalkNZ

British racing authorities are probing the circumstances behind the deaths of four racehorses in one day at a meeting in Yorkshire, England.

Brandy Wine and jockey JP Ennis jump the final flight on their way to victory in the Wetherby Race Tickets Conditionals' Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby racecourse. Photo Credit-John Giles/PA.
Brandy Wine and jockey JP Ennis jump the final flight on their way to victory in the Wetherby Race Tickets Conditionals' Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby racecourse. Photo Credit-John Giles/PA.

The incident-plagued track at Wetherby has come under fire from the animal welfare group, Animal Aid.

The group is demanding that the British Horseracing Authority suspends all further racing at Wetherby until an independent evaluation of the ground can be undertaken by specialists.

The track had undergone substantial remedial work, worth £50,000, in the off-season after heavy criticism of the surface during last season’s racing.

The October 15 meeting, the first at Wetherby since May, saw two horses die in the feature race, the Bobby Renton Chase. Divex, an eight-year-old gelding, broke his foreleg and 11-year-old Marrel fractured a hind pastern. Another horse, Tom’s Toybox, sustained a serious fetlock injury.

The meeting also resulted in the deaths of Nut Hand, who finished his race severely lame, and Miss Gibboa, who fell in the last race of the day, breaking a leg. Both were three-year-olds.

The number of fatalities at Wetherby for this year now stands at nine.

Animal Aid said it had flagged the likelihood of injuries and fatalities at the West Yorkshire course track over concerns about the condition of the ground and drainage issues, following the widening of the adjacent highway in 2007.

“The racing not only presented testing running conditions of Good to Firm, but additionally, the unusually high eight racecard day meant that any problems with the ground would have intensified throughout the day,” the group said. Read full story >>

Note: Image not filed with original story.

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