Animal Aid

Whip-Abused Race Horse Rewilding Killed On His Return To Ascot

Posted 23 July 2011

Top race horse Rewilding has been killed on his return to Ascot while being ridden by Frankie Dettori. His death comes just weeks after he suffered an ‘excessive’ whip beating by Dettori at the same Berkshire racecourse during the Royal Ascot meeting. That June thrashing, which can be seen towards the end of the footage here:, was carried out using the hard handle and central rod area of the whip instead of the ‘cushioned’ end. This was an additional abuse that was NOT noted by the race stewards and is one that, Animal Aid has discovered, is commonplace in racing, though remains unhighlighted.

One of five horses in today’s million pound King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, four year old colt Rewilding fell at full gallop a quarter of a mile from the finish line. The brave young horse managed to get to his feet and run on just three legs down the course in front of the thousands of race-goers and BBC TV viewers. As he ran in an effort to follow the other horses, a front leg was seen to be swinging – his cannon bone was broken and exposed. He was destroyed within minutes.

Rewilding’s high profile death brings to 718 the total number of horses killed on British racecourses since Animal Aid launched its online database, Race Horse Death Watch in March 2007.

Says Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall:

‘The sickening sight of Rewilding trying to run on three legs to keep up was heartbreaking. The poor horse’s leg was shattered and swinging loose. Whatever the reason for his death – whether it was the state of the ground or him being pushed to his physical limit – this cannot yet again be dismissed as an accident by the racing fraternity. To make matters worse, this brave horse was, just a month ago, thrashed excessively with the whip by Frankie Dettori, who attracted a penalty from the industry regulator. What was not noted, however, was that Rewilding was beaten, by Dettori, not with the whip’s padded end, which the rules allow, but with the hard handle and central rod of the whip. We see in that incident and today’s terrible death the unacceptable face of horse racing.’

More information

  • For full background and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.
  • ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews

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