Sedgefield racecourse is not unsafe despite the deaths of 12 horses in 12 months, says a report by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

But despite no correlation in the deaths being found, the BHA has produced a number of recommendations to help reduce the racecourse’s fatality rate including upgrading their watering system and considering the ratio of novice races.

The course will also look at the possible creation of a three-mile chase start and redesigning the fences without guard rails.

And Sedgefield has already reduced the amount of horses permitted to run in both their hurdle and chase races.

A spokesman for Sedgefield Racecourse told H&H: “We are continuing to work with all the relevant authorities, making ongoing investments in facilities and infrastructure, to provide as safe a racecourse as possible for horses, jockeys and all racegoers.

“The circumstances of every faller – not just each injury or fatality – are always investigated fully.”

The report, carried out by the BHA was released last Friday (13 June). While it found no common factor to the deaths of 12 racehorses between March 2007 and March 2008, it did find that the faller rate increased between 2006-2007 — a factor which will be kept under review.

Evidence was taken from the senior veterinary adviser Anthony Stirk, inspector of courses Chris Dennis and Sedgefield’s clerk of the course Charlie Moore.

The review covered maintenance of the course, the career profiles of the horses, the ground conditions and the location of the injuries.

A spokesman for the BHA said: “We have concluded a comprehensive review and it has been found that there is no common theme to the deaths and that the course is not unsafe for racing to continue.”

The report was launched in April following the announcements of the high number of equine fatalities and an animal cruelty protest at the Stockton-on-Tees based course (H&H news 3 April.)