BHA will review horse deaths at Cheltenham Festival

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  • The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is holding a routine review into the deaths of five horses in two days of racing at the Cheltenham Festival.

    On Tuesday, the opening day of the festival, three horses – Garde Champetre, Scotsirish and Educated Evans – had to be destroyed.

    Then yesterday, Wednesday, Abergavenny and Featherbed Lane both broke legs during the Coral Cup.

    And Wishfull Thinking fell in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, rolling under the rails and into a crowd of photographers, but was reported to be uninjured.

    Robin Mounsey of the BHA said: “Racing carries risks. No one wants to see valuable and valued racehorses injured so it is regrettable that several horses have now suffered accidents where the injury was not treatable and so euthanasia was the proper and humane option.

    “As with every equine injury or fatality, detailed data will be collated by the BHA, examining the type of injury in question and the context in which it took place.

    “Racecourses, trainers and the sport’s regulator are not complacent about these risks and recognise there is always more to do,including both on-going improvements and scientific research, to further reduce these risks.”

    And Roly Owers of World Horse Welfare, which is an advisor to the BHA, said: “We will be monitoring the investigations into what happened, and look at the findings and the circumstances around each fatality – including the state of the ground.

    “This isn’t just about Cheltenham – there are many thousands of races each year and with drought conditions in much of the country we believe it could be beneficial to review again what stage the going is considered safe.”

    One horse died during the Cheltenham Festival meeting last year.

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