A survey into racecourse fatalities shows that 200 horses per year die in British racing, the International League for the Protection of Horses was told at its annual seminar last month.

James Wood, head of epidemiology at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, said that the survey – which looked at flat, national hunt and hurdle races – provided a mathematical model to try to explain why horses died, so that future work could help lower the risks. His team’s work looked at racecourse fatalities and fractures in young horses in training.

For every 1,000 starts, said Dr Wood, there were an average 2.8 deaths – 6.5 deaths per 1,000 in chasing, 4.9 in hurdling and one in flat racing.

Fatal injury types varied between different types of racing. Lower limb injury was the most frequent cause of death in flat racing and was responsible for more than half the deaths. Tendon injuries were prevalent in hurdling and spinal or head injuries more common in steeplechasing.

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