Animal Aid

Four Horses Die in One Day at Wetherby Racecourse

Posted 15 October 2009

On the first day of racing at Wetherby since May this year, four horses were killed. Two of the victims, Nut Hand and Miss Gibboa, were just three years old. One was entered in the final event on a day when an exceptionally high number of races were staged at the course. The number of fatalities at Wetherby for this year now stands at nine.

Nut Hand finished his race lame, and in the final race of the day, Miss Gibboa, fell and broke her leg. Both horses were destroyed. In other races on the same day, two horses died in the feature race, the Bobby Renton Chase. Divex, an eight-year-old gelding, broke his foreleg and eleven-year-old Marrel fractured his hind pastern. Another horse, Tom’s Toybox, sustained a serious fetlock injury.

The likelihood of injuries and fatalities at the West Yorkshire course had been flagged up by Animal Aid, due to our concerns about the condition of the ground and drainage issues, following the widening of the adjacent A1 in 2007. Our Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall, spoke with the RSPCA’s equine consultant, David Muir earlier this week and asked him to inspect the course. Muir agreed and was present at yesterday’s carnage.

Yesterday’s racing not only presented testing running conditions of Good to Firm, but additionally, the unusually high eight racecard day meant that any problems with the ground would have intensified throughout the day. Consequently, it could be argued that Miss Gibboa’s death, in the final event, was all the more predictable.

Animal Aid is demanding that the British Horseracing Authority suspends all further racing at Wetherby, until an independent evaluation of the ground can be undertaken by a specialist consultancy.

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