Race regulator says horse who snapped leg in starting stalls was ‘unruly’

Posted on the 13th September 2016

Anyone who saw Animal Aid's footage of Mukaynis getting caught up in the starting stalls and snapping his leg while waiting for the start of a race at Doncaster on Saturday could have felt nothing but shock and dismay.

Even in that brief sequence you could see Mukaynis’s deep distress and pain caused by a break so severe that the lower half of his leg swung and dangled held on only by skin. Our horse racing consultant Dene Stansall saw what happened first hand:

‘This poor horse really suffered in the final moments of his life – it was heart wrenching. I have never ever seen anything as bad as this on a racecourse. He was trembling with fear when he came out of the stalls, awful. My daughter broke down in tears – the bone was just sticking out of his leg.’

What was the official racing industry regulator’s response – almost silence. There was however a brief mention on the British Horseracing Authority’s website rounding up the day’s events: ‘Mukaynis was withdrawn after being unruly in the stalls.’

Mukaynis was certainly not unruly, he looked settled until a course employee ran in front of the stalls which startled him, he reared up and trapped his leg in the metal of the stall. There could be no mistaking the severity of his injury. The incident was played out in seconds and it would have been known the moment he left the stalls that he would be put down.

Said Dene Stansall:

‘When the vet came to kill him with a needle, the poor horse tried to get away but pitifully hobbled on what was now a stump – the raw bone repeatedly going into the turf. They couldn’t get the needle in, so they got him behind some screens and got out a silenced hand pistol and shot him in the head – but you still heard the bang of the gun.

‘I saw him fall to the ground. He was then loaded onto a long trailer and taken away out of sight. People around were just stunned and upset – strangers gathered together in tears.”

Animal Aid is in the process of producing an analysis of how the racing industry’s regulator carries out its statutory duties. Key among them is protecting the welfare of the Thoroughbreds who are at the heart of the industry. We are determined to shine a light on this self-regulating body and call it to account for what it has done and what it has failed to do.

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