23 March 2006

Cheltenham carnage sparks flurry

Eddie Freemantle sums up nicely in The Guardian:
"The nine horses who lost their lives over the four days were so much less fortunate. Bayard, No Where To Hyde, Holy Orders, Sh Boom, Basilea Star, Millenaire, Mr Babbage, Olaso and Buck Whaley were all good horses, all winners. They enjoyed good lives, with the best food and the best care but this can be an unforgiving sport. Nobody can say that the huge fields and breakneck pace of races at Cheltenham do not lead to equine deaths on occasions. There were, thankfully, no deaths in Cheltenham's other eight meetings this season but there were an average of 12 runners per race at those against 20 per race at the Festival and that begs the question: Can you have too much of a good thing?"

As is to be expected, the Jockey Club says no, in the personage of Peter Webbon, Director of Veterinary Science and Welfare , in a statement entitled the "CHELTENHAM FATALITIES":
“We are deeply upset by the fatalities at this year’s Cheltenham Festival and our sympathies go out to the connections of those horses which have been fatally injured.
“We monitor injuries and fatalities on an ongoing basis as a matter of routine and, from a veterinary and welfare point of view, we always review the major racing festivals and the high number of fatal injuries at Cheltenham this year will be subject to particularly close inspection.
“As part of this review, we will sit down with the Cheltenham executive and our welfare partners, the RSPCA and International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) to discuss any lessons to be learned or action to be taken.”

Expect a flurry of inactivity.

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