Cheltenham 2019 horse deaths rises to three but overall safety record improves on last year

Cheltenham 2019 horse deaths rises to three but overall safety record improves on last year

Earlier a BHA review into the death of Sir Erec dismissed speculation that a last-minute reshoeing of the colt’s right fore plate may have affected his ability to run.

The horse had recently had an X-ray where there had been no sign or recent injury and he had also passed a pre-race inspection by vets.

David Sykes, director of equine health and welfare at the BHA, told ITV Racing that it is impossible to stop some “catastrophic injuries”.

“This morning, he was examined by a veterinary surgeon and trotted up and palpated, and actually the veterinary surgeon has reported he moved very very well,” Sykes said. “There was no indication of lameness, there was no indication of any injuries. Whether he made a mistake at that fence and landed awkwardly, there was no reason we could predict that injury in that horse today.”

Sykes said vets have no choice but to euthanise fallers after leg-breaks, adding “the issue is that a 500kg horse cannot stand for a long period of time on three legs unsupported”.

Sir Erec had fallen while tracking leader Quel Destin midway through the race. Joseph O’Brien, his trainer, told Racing Post: “We’re all devastated…He did a trot-up this morning on concrete for the BHA inspections and passed that perfectly. Nothing was missed.”

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