Future of jump racing in Australia uncertain after spate of deaths

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  • Horse racing faces an uncertain future in Australia after three horses died in three days at the Warrnambool Racing Carnival in Victoria last week.

    Jump racing was immediately suspended following the deaths and an emergency board meeting of Racing Victoria has been called for this Wednesday (13 May) to discuss the future of the sport.

    Racing Victoria’s chief executive Rob Hines has asked the organisation’s jumps review panel to make a report to the board on the season so far detailing all of the incidents that have occurred.

    A decision will be made this week but jump racing could now face a permanent ban.

    Last weekend jump racing at Moe, in Gippsland, was cancelled and replaced with flat racing.

    The three horse deaths raised Australian horse racing’s death toll to seven in under two weeks.

    Racehorse Hanging Rock died at Yarra Valley on 26 April, Shrogginey died on 23 April at Cranbourne while Taken At The Flood and Wool Zone were both euthanized at Morphettville on 25 April.

    And at the Worrnambool Carnival the Robbie Laing-trained Pride Of Westbury was put down after breaking his neck falling at the last during the Galleywood Hurdle (6 May).

    On Thursday (7 May) Hassle shattered a sesamoid in a hurdle race and Clearview Bay fell in the Grand Annual — the longest horseracing in the country over 33 jumps and 3.4miles.

    The Victorian jump racing industry was reviewed and new safety measures put in place last year by county court judge David Jones after 12 horses died during 2008. But despite the new measures racehorses are still dying.

    A meeting of 23 jumps jockeys at the weekend at Moe racecourse tabled a list of recommendations to be presented to the board.

    Recommendations included dropping hurdles in favour of steeplechases, taking out the last obstacle in the race and not starting from stalls.

    South Australia and Victoria the only two Australian states that still have jump racing. And if racing is banned in Victoria it is also likely to disappear in South Australia, too.

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