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Calls for inquiry into racehorse deaths at Catterick
THREE racehorses suffered fatal injuries within an hour of each other at a race meeting in the region this week – but racing chiefs say there will be no inquiry.
Racegoers at Catterick Racecourse in North Yorkshire witnessed two horses suffer severe leg-breaks - which resulted in them being destroyed - while a third collapsed and died of a heart attack on Tuesday afternoon.
The British Horseracing Association (BHA) today (Thursday, February 28) said it was a “very sad” event and incredibly rare to have so many horses die in such a short period.
In the 4.20 hurdle race, Irish-owned horse, Soft Spoken Guy, died of a heart attack after finishing, whilst Stop On, an eight-year-old gelding suffered a broken front leg.
About 30 minutes later, No Way Hozay, owned by County Durham businessman John Wade, broke a hind leg when jumping the last fence in the two mile handicap chase.
Throughout the whole of 2012 only two horses died on the Catterick course.
Animal rights group Animal Aid, which is campaigning to ban the Grand National, claimed the course was too cut up, leading to bad racing conditions.
Its horse racing consultant, Dene Stansall said: “We owe it to the horses to get to the bottom of these deaths. Whether it’s the course or the horses’ conditions, the British Horseracing Association needs to get to the bottom of it.”
Mr Wade, from Morden, near Sedgefield, said his horse’s death was “just bad luck” and he had no issue with the condition of the course.
The BHA also refuted Animal Aid’s claims, saying softer ground was statistically safer for horses.
It said there would be no inquiry, but they routinely collect data on every equine injury or fatality.
A spokesman said horse welfare was the “priority of all concerned in the sport”.
He said: “British Racing is open and transparent about the risks involved. It is very sad on the incredibly rare occasions when more than one incident occurs on the same day.
"However, over the course of an average year the fatality rate for runners in British Racing is just 0.2 per cent of around 90,000 runners.”
Catterick Racecourse clerk Fiona Needham said: “Our sympathies are with those connected to the horses and welfare continues to be our priority.”