Four Horse Deaths At Track's Opening Day Sparks Investigation in England

Following the death of four jump horses on opening day at Wetherby Racecourse and Conference Centre in England, the track will be investigated by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), according to an article today (Oct. 16) on

The previous day a track press release from Paul Struthers, Media Relations Manager for the British Horseracing Authority, said, "We have worked very closely with the team at Wetherby throughout the summer.  As well as numerous visits to the course by our Racecourse Inspectorate, we asked them to produce a week-by-week plan of the proposed work to be carried out on the racing surface during the off-season. This plan was validated by an independent, professional agronomist and passed to both the National Trainers Federation and Professional Jockeys Association for their input.

"Wetherby had received positive reports about the ground ahead of the meeting, and we are not aware of any complaints made about the ground on the day," Struthers continued.

"It is always desperately sad when a horse has to be put down as a result of injuries sustained during racing," he said. "In circumstances such as these it is our policy to undertake a thorough review and look into all of the circumstances--the course, the horses, the injuries, and any other relevant information--in an attempt to establish whether or not there are common factors involved.

"We have already requested reports from our Racecourse Inspectorate, Veterinary team, and Stewards, who were all in attendance yesterday. We will await receipt of the reports and our other findings and will liaise closely with trainers, jockeys, and the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)."

The Horse and Hound article noted that the RSPCA had called on the British Horseracing Authority to conduct an inquiry after the incidents. It also stated that the Wetherby course had undergone £50,000 of improvement in the past few months after ground and conditions were criticized last season.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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