Racing week: horse ambulances called into question

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  • Horse ambulances and their staff came under attack this week following the death of winning novice hurdler Afro Man.

    The gelding had injured his pelvis in a fall in the handicap chase at Leicester racecourse and was taken back to the racecourse stables in the ambulance. But the front exit of the ambulance was reported to be stuck and Afro Man was forced to go out of the trailer backwards. He subsequently collapsed and had to be put down.

    The horse sped out of the back of the trailer, worsening his injuries. This is the second time an incident of this nature has happened to one of Charlie Mann’s horses.

    Owners and trainers are now calling for horse ambulances to be checked every day before racing. The trailers are provided by the racecourses themselves.

    The Jockey Club confirmed that if the front ramp was indeed inoperable, its instructions regarding the horse ambulance service were breached.

    Hedgehunter on form

    Last year’s Grand National winner Hedgehunter delighted trainer Willie Mullins on Thursday in his final workout ahead of his eagerly awaited clash with Beef Or Salmon in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown this Sunday. The Grand National winner teamed up with David Casey who will step in for the injured Ruby Walsh at the weekend.

    Both Casey and Mullins were happy with the way he went and hope he will get closer to Beef or Salmon on Sunday.

    Demon racing at Exeter

    Henrietta Knight has confirmed Racing Demon will run at Exeter on Sunday rather than in the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick on Saturday. The six-year-old has been denied an outing in recent weeks but – weather permitting – Knight hopes gelding can enhance his reputation at the Haldon track.

    The current plan is for him to run in the South West Racing Club Novices’ Chase over two miles and three furlongs, a race which Knight hopes will groom him for Cheltenham.

    Henry Cecil makes the cut

    Henry Cecil has been chosen to train the National Stud’s Never Say Die Club’s filly. A poll was conducted among members and Cecil won the vote by a decisive margin. The members also voted on the filly’s name and the Chairman announced that she is to be named Precious Mettle.

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