Animal Aid

Great Leighs Racecourse: First Horse Death on Third Day of Racing

Posted 15 May 2008

Great Leighs – the first new racecourse to be built in Britain since 1927 – has witnessed its first equine death, after just three days racing since its launch on 20 April 2008.

St Andrews (IRE), an eight year old gelding, pulled up lame after just half a mile in the Epping Forest Handicap at the Essex racecourse on 30 April. Due to the severity of his injury the horse has subsequently been destroyed.

The racecourse has been beset with problems, with racing on the Polytrack surface taking place ‘behind closed doors’.

Great Leighs’ first public race day – scheduled for 28 May – will see Animal Aid hold a demonstration at the course in order to alert race-goers and the media to the number horses killed on racecourses across Britain – 200 have perished since March 2007.

Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler says:

‘St Andrews’ death comes after just 16 races on a new surface at a new racecourse. Clearly, no progress has been made in the design or safety mechanisms to protect horses in British racing. It is time to take the vital matter of horse welfare out of the control of the British Horseracing Authority, and ensure that these vulnerable animals are afforded proper protection.’

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