The Death Toll Climbs
fatalities in 2014 - 3 race horses killed so far:
- Elms, a seven year old gelding, had to be euthanised on 25th May 2014 after severely fracturing his right fore cannon bone in a restricted hurdle at Casterton.
- Show Dancer had to be euthanised after his hind legs slipped preparing for a jump, which had him crash onto his neck at Sandown on 22nd May 2014.
- Viva Delspec suffered a knee injury after a mistake at the 17th fence at the Warrnambool Race meeting in Victoria on 3rd April 2014 and was put down.
Fatalities in 2013 - 4 race horses killed:
- End of Time fell during the Heywood Steeplechase at Casterton, Vic, on 7th July 2013, and had to be euthanised having suffered a neck injury.
- Mikiyama, a 6 year old gelding from NZ, fell heavily during a jumps trial at Warrnambool on 13th June 2013 (VIC). The next day he was euthanized after a vet examination revealed a suspected muscle tear.
- Reckless Rat, a favourite in Race 4 at Warrnambool (VIC), was put down on 11th June 2013 after gaining an injury.
- Scenic Buzz was the first fatality of 2013 - the 7-year-old gelding fell and was euthanised after suffering a neck injury at Sandown (VIC) on 17 April 2013.
Fatalities in 2012 - 6 race horses killed:
- Jockey Jack fractured his fetlock (ankle) and was put down on track at Morphettville, Adelaide (SA) on 18th August 2012.
- Foremost broke his neck after landing on his head in a Cranbourne trial (VIC) on 18th July 2012.
- Black Oak suffered a fractured sesamoid and was killed in Warrnambool (VIC) after a hurdle trial on 16th June 2012.
- Art Success fell and suffered a fractured pelvis - the horse was killed off the track after competing in two races over the Oakbank weekend in April in South Australia.
- Virvacity was killed after being injured on track at the Oakbank festival (SA) in April 2012.
- Jotilla was killed in March 2012 after an injury on the track at Sandown (VIC).
Fatalities in 2011 - 11 race horses killed:
- Guara Grove Beast fell on the track at Morphettville in September, and was killed.
- Fergus McIver died after a faulty jump at the last hurdle at the Grand National Steeplechase in Sandown (VIC).
- Nitronic was injured after falling over a hurdle, and was put down in August in Cranbourne.
- Zealous died from an apparent neck injury in July in Warnambool (VIC).
- Fasilenko was killed after injuring a hind leg on a hurdle at Mt Gambier (SA).
- Ledgers Dreambroke his neck stumbling over a jump during the Dominant Hurdle at Morphettville (SA).
- Java Star died after suffering a ruptured aorta before the final fence of the Woodford Reserve hurdle (SA).
- Shine the Armour fell and died instantly on the first race of the opening day of the Grand Annual Steeplechase carnival, Warrnambool
- Seven year old Hammerblow was euthanised following a fall at Morphettville, South Australia.
- Squire Rex was euthanised after falling on a jump at a trial race in Cranbourne, April 19.
- Casa Boy, euthanised following injuries suffered in a second race of the Victorian Jumps season on April 4th in Warrnambool.
Fatalities in 2010 - 5 race horses killed:
- July marked the death of a third horse in jumps racing in South Australia. Despite continued proof that the sport kills, and the fact that Victorian jumps racing is under critical review this season, Thoroughbred Racing SA maintains that they will continue to support the sport. The death of Tradesman's Choice brings the national death toll to five. Click here to read the news story.
- By the end of May, we hear of Racing Victoria's second death of the season - Prince Vitality. Click here to read the story.
- The 2010 Warrnambool Carnival has already seen the casualty of Sirrocean Storm, whose harsh injury and resulting death has provided further evidence that jumps racing cannot continue.
- Marc of Thunder and Satu San both died following the Oakbank race meeting.
For a deserved and critical review of the 2010 season, see The Australian's dedicated coverage by Patrick Smith here.
- April: Hanging Rock died at Yarra Valley, Taken At The Flood and Wool Zone died at Morphettville, and Shrogginet died at Cranbourne Training Centre.
- May: Pride of Westbury, Hassle and Clearview Bay were killed during the Warrnambool racing carnival
- June: Whatsourgo died at Moonee Valley.
- July: All Square died at Sale, Geeorb died at Mooney Valley, and Dark Disguise died at Warrnambool.
- August: Rough Night died at Warrnambool, and Keepara Lass was killed at Morphettville.
Unequivocally, jumps racing is both cruel and dangerous. Three major internal reviews trying to make it safer for horses have failed to stem the rate at which horses are being killed.
Following a spate of incidents where 3 horses died during the Warrnambool Carnival in May 2009, Racing Victoria suspended jumps racing for two weeks while the industry pondered its fate. Assailed by pressure from within the jumps racing fraternity, Racing Victoria decided to allow it to continue, and announced a number of regulations that they claimed would make the sport 'less hazardous.' These included removing the last hurdle, increasing jockey education and implementing a qualification scheme for horses prior to racing. All of these measures had been trialled in the past, with no success.
Sadly, it wasn't long before another horse was fatally injured following the resumption of jumps racing. Only one month after the new measures were implemented, a horse fell badly while racing, sustained serious injuries, and lost its life in the name of entertainment. In July 2009, a further three horses were killed, and another was euthanased following a serious fall during the first jumps meeting in August.
In early 2010, Victorian Racing Minister, Rob Hulls, stated his concern in the media over the welfare of horses in jumps racing, and commented that the death count was making it increasingly unsustainable. Ultimately though, decisions on the future of jumps racing have been left to Racing Victoria, and thus this deadly pursuit, under the guise of sport, continues.
The conclusion of the 2010 jumps racing season has coincided with a review by the Racing Victoria Board. Unfortunately, despite continued deaths in the 2010 season and a decision in January 2010 to end jumps races in Victoria after the current season, the Board determined to continue with a three year program of hurdle racing and a one year program for next year' s steeplechase racing season, both subject to Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
The 2010 season's racing fatality rate was 0.41 per cent for hurdle racing and 0.58 percent for steeplechasing. Racing Victoria has reversed their January 2010 decision to end jumps racing after the season and will now allow jumps races to continue in Victoria beyond 2010 if the fatality rate is kept to a rolling average of less than 0.65 per cent of starters.
The decision has been made despite Racing Victoria previously admitting that past performances have been unsatisfactory. The Board has assured new obstacles and improved training will help improve safety. However, new measures merely stand for new risks and continued injuries and deaths for the horses involved.
What you can do
Write to Racing Victoria and the Victorian Minister for Racing and ask them to implement an immediate and permanent ban on jumps racing. Send your letters to:
Mr Bernard Saundry
Chief Executive Officer
Racing Victoria Limited
400 Epsom Road
Flemington VIC 3031
Mr Robert Roulston
Racing Victoria Limited
400 Epsom Road
Flemington VIC 3031
The Hon. Dr Denis Napthine MLA
Minister for Racing
Level 16, 121 Exhibition St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Please send copies of any replies you receive to HSI.