Animal Aid

A weekend of racing in atrocious conditions leaves three horses dead

Posted 1 March 2010

Desperate that their income should not be affected by considerations of Thoroughbred welfare, some racecourses staged meetings this past weekend in atrocious weather conditions – with predictably tragic consequences.

On Saturday (27 February), Chepstow racecourse held their National Hunt (jump) race meeting after giving the go-ahead to race on what Animal Aid identified as unsuitable, waterlogged ground. In the six jump races that took place, an alarming 26 of the 52 runners (50 per cent) were unable to complete the course, either falling or pulling-up in the appalling conditions.

In the Mares’ Novices’ Chase, only one horse managed to finish. Eight-year-old mare, Orana Conti, was unable to jump the third last fence and fell, sustaining serious injuries. Whilst vets struggled for two hours trying to save her life, racing continued, with horses running just a few metres from her prone position. Her injuries proved so serious she was destroyed.

On Sunday (28 February) at Fontwell Park racecourse, twelve-year-old gelding, Garryvoe, was destroyed by vets after falling and breaking his hind leg whilst jumping on the deep, heavy ground in the Fuller’s London Pride Foxhunters Trail Hunters’ Chase. Thirty minutes later, in the Handicap Hurdle, chestnut gelding, My Turn Now, collapsed and died after finishing a long way last and totally exhausted from racing on abysmal ground conditions.

Says Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall:

‘This weekend produced what I would describe as some of the worst racing ground I have seen in recent years. The result was that three innocent horses paid with their lives when forced to compete at race meetings that should, on welfare grounds, have been abandoned. Instead, the financial interests of the racecourses, big bookmakers and TV companies took precedence.’

More information:

  • For full background and interviews, contact Dene Stansall on 01732 364546
  • An ISDN line is available for broadcast-quality interviews

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