Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Calls for Inquiry after Three Horses Die in Race

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Calls for Inquiry after Three Horses Die in Race

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE KELLY Reporter mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk @MIKEJKELLY1962

AN animal rights charity has demanded an investigation after three horses died within 30 minutes of each other at a North East race meeting.

The deaths happened at Hexham racecourse on Monday, where the first victim was Skywards Reward who broke a leg on the approach to jumping a hurdle in the 3.20pm race.

In the 3.50pm Handicap Chase, two more horses died. Flemerina fell in the back straight of the course and just minutes later Nelly La Rue looked to break a leg that she trailed along the ground until she eventually pulled up on the turn into the home straight, according to Animal Aid.

Its Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall said: "What happened at Hexham needs investigating and not passing off as only a blip.

"There might be an underlying problem as two of the horses broke legs between fences."

Racecourse manager Robert Whitelock said: "Racing in this centre is obviously regulated by the British Horseracing Authority and the BHA and takes the welfare of both the animals and jockeys very seriously." Mr Whitelock detailed how at each meeting the course employs three vets while the BHA has a further four vets and equine welfare officers on site.

The BHA said it would look into the circumstances of the deaths, as it did when all fatalities occurred.

Its director of Equine Health and Welfare, David Sykes, said: "This was an exceptionally rare occurrence and overall Hexham's recent safety record has been good, operating well below the national average fatality rate.

"We will look at the circumstances that caused these injuries - as we always do when there is a fatality - however the initial indications suggest that there is no one factor which links these unfortunate accidents.

"As the sport's independent regulator the BHA works constantly to minimise the risks as much as possible through a combination of regulation, research and education. …

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