9 Horses Have Been Killed On Track In October

As we come into the week before the Melbourne Cup, don’t fall for the glitz and the glamour of the racing industry. These horses are the real story of Australian horse racing … and most people would never have known about them.

In the month of October, when Spring Racing Carnival is already in full swing, 9 horses have been killed on Australian racetracks. Their deaths are traumatic – but they are only a drop in the ocean for an industry that has no retirement plan for its horses.

Rock With You – 5 October 2018
Track: Moonee Valley, Victoria
Age: 5

Ever since the release of our annual Racehorse Deathwatch report, Victorian racing stewards have no longer disclosed causes of deaths of racehorses, simply listing them as ‘serious racing injuries’. While we don’t know what caused Rock With You’s death on the track, we do know some of the most common serious injuries sustained by Australian racehorses are catastrophic front and hind limb injuries (ie broken and fractured legs), massive bleeds and cardiac arrests.

Knievel – 8 October 2018
Track: Tamworth, New South Wales
Age: 3

While the average horse lifespan is between 25 and 30 years, Knievel only made it to 3. The young bay gelding began his racing ‘career’ as a 2-year-old, predisposing himself to injury before his young and underdeveloped joints were fully formed. He died of a compound fracture of the cannon bone.

Hamada – 13 October 2018
Track: Werribee, Victoria
Age: 4

Hamada was tipped to be a star – set to run in the Melbourne Cup in November. But while training on the track for the big race, he ‘broke down’ in the near hind leg. His stablemate ‘Emotionless’ was also pulled after fracturing his pelvis.

Blinkin Impressive – 13 October 2018
Track: Gulargambone, New South Wales
Age: 5

Blinkin Impressive is a typical example of a horse who dies on the track that nobody ever hears about. She’d won just $1,300 – which like most, does not even cover the costs of having a racehorse. While racing in October, she suffered a carpal joint fracture of the near fore leg.

Deny – 14 October 2018
Track: Armidale, NSW
Age: 5

Following the death of 2 Australian racehorses just the day before, Deny also became a victim of October horse racing. He fractured his near fore knee while racing.

Gustavas Vassa – 17 October 2018
Track: Caulfield, Victoria
Age: 5

Just 3 days before thousands of people flocked to Caulfield Racecourse for the Caulfield Cup, Gustavas Vassa became the victim of a ‘serious racing injury’ on the very same track and was killed. Racegoers and supporters of the Caulfield Cup had no idea.

Not For Export – 22 October 2018
Track: Coonabarabran, New South Wales
Age: 8

Not For Export had won $168,335 for his owners and connections. He suffered a compound fracture to the off fore cannon bone while racing on a remote Australian racetrack and was killed.

Ain’tabay – 26 October 2018
Track: Scone, New South Wales
Age: 3

Ain’tabay was just a filly – that is, a young female horse. She began racing as a 2-year-old and had won just $500. The day she died, she didn’t want to race. The stewards report reads:

“…became cast in the barrier after being extremely fractious and when attempts were being made to free the filly, it lashed out several times and repeatedly struck the structure of the barriers, resulting in it sustaining an open comminuted transverse fracture of the mid cannon bone of the of the off hind leg.”

Ednablue – 26 October 2018
Track: Scone, New South Wales
Age: 5

Just two races after Ain’tabay was killed, Ednablue became the second victim of the same meet. She also made an attempt to break from the barriers, and the stewards report reads:

“…became very fractious in the barrier and when being removed from its stall, broke away from the handler and galloped through the fence at the rear of the 1100m chute and then through the perimeter fence of the adjoining rural property. After this Ednablue fell over an embankment and became cast in a dry creek bed on the property. Ednablue was immediately anaesthetized to enable its removal from its position. Ednablue was withdrawn at 6.06pm. During prolonged constant observation and treatment of Ednablue by the club’s veterinary officer, it became apparent that the mare had lost movement in its hindlegs.”

October isn’t any sort of one-off or month of ‘freak accidents’ like the racing industry would have you believe. Consistently, one Australian racehorse has died on the track every 3 days, or less, for the past 4 years.

If you’re thinking of attending the races, or even placing a bet, think of these horses. And choose kindness instead.

7 Horse Racing Facts That Will Change How You Feel About Melbourne Cup Forever

Horse racing struggles to maintain relevance throughout the year. Some people don’t even realise it runs outside of Spring. If you enjoy a flutter and a drink or two at the races, these hidden facts will make you reconsider.

1. Thousands of failed racehorses are slaughtered each year
Nothing says “we love our horses” like sending thousands of them to slaughter every year, right? While you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Melbourne Cup winner at your local knackery or slaughterhouse, there are 13,000 racehorses exiting the racing industry every year… And the majority of them aren’t the winners you see on the TV or in the newspaper during Spring Carnival.

In Australia there are dozens of knackeries that process failed and former racehorses for pet food, as well as two abattoirs that kill horses for human consumption in South Australia and Queensland. Some of their ‘horse steaks’ are served in a select few Melbourne restaurants, but the majority are exported to European countries like Belgium and France.

2. Racehorses die on the track … regularly
Unless you live ~under a rock~ you will have heard about the four Melbourne Cup deaths in recent years. The industry would have you believe these are ‘freak accidents’ and ‘rarely occur’, right? Wrong.

One racehorse dies every 3 days in Australia. And 119 racehorses have died in the last racing year alone. They most commonly suffer catastrophic limb injuries, cardiac arrests and massive bleeds causing them to collapse and die. We compile them all in our deathwatch report, which you can read here.

3. Studies have shown whips hurt
Whipping = one of the most public displays of animal cruelty.

While the RSPCA would be quick to charge you for whipping your dog, cat or rabbit – whipping in horse racing is exempt from this rule, even normalised and celebrated, despite the fact studies have shown whips hurt racehorses.

4. Jumps racing is 20 times more dangerous than flat racing
Jumping. While. Racing. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds.

While there are no jumps races at official Spring Carnival events anymore, they do run throughout the season. Jumps racing is 20 times more dangerous than flat racing and kills multiple horses every single year when they fall on their heads and necks, or break their limbs.

Paying for a ticket to the races supports this.

5. Less ‘valuable’ foals are discarded
‘Nanny’ mares are kept in foal in order to have a milk supply, and when a prized broodmare dies giving birth to a thoroughbred foal, the nanny mare will step in to raise the thoroughbred ‘foster’ foal, and their own biological foal is discarded.

They are the bobby calves of the racing industry. And it’s a practice barely spoken about, but you can read the story of one lucky survivor here.

6. Some participants use drugs
With so much money at stake in horse racing, it’s no wonder that some owners and trainers resort to using drugs on their racehorses.

The cobalt saga involving numerous high profile trainers is just one example of using stimulants to push horses beyond their physical capabilities.

7. Horses are raced before their bodies are mature enough
A famous trainer once said “Two year olds, as we know, can be here today and gone tomorrow.”

It’s the perfect way to sum up 2-year-old racing. What good can come of racing young horses well before they are skeletally mature? And who would want to support that?

Instead of going to the races, on Melbourne Cup Day take part in something to help racehorses. Find out how here.

4 Ways You Can Help Racehorses This Melbourne Cup Day (And Spring Carnival)

If you think the race that stops the nation is no cause for celebration, you’re not alone! Here are 4 really awesome ways you can help racehorses on Melbourne Cup Day and throughout Spring Carnival.

1. Volunteer
There are sanctuaries across the country who are constantly cleaning up the mess of the racing industry by rescuing failed & former racehorses.

But maintaining and looking after them isn’t an easy task, and those caring for them can always use a helping hand.

Make a commitment to volunteer with your local horse rescue or animal sanctuary instead of watching the races on Melbourne Cup Day!

2. Donate or hold a fundraiser
This one is a sure bet.

Instead of putting money on the big race, why not commit to donate what you’d spend to an animal welfare group or sanctuary? Your money could go towards anything you choose – from long term campaigns for a racehorse retirement plan, to feed and vet care for an ex-racehorse at a sanctuary.

You can’t lose out when you’re putting your money on a kinder world for racehorses! Find an event near you here.

3. Attend a protest
The only way that we will change the way horses are being treated in the racing industry is by raising awareness and keeping up the pressure!

If there’s a protest in your area, head on down to show your support. You can find a list of our own protests on our Facebook events page.

If you’d like to hold a protest, contact us, and we’d be more than happy to support. You can also download banners and posters on our resources page.

4. Share the darkside of horse racing on social media
The good news is, you don’t even have to leave your house to help racehorses! Check out our Facebook page and website for some really good information to share with your family friends online … and you can even add our ‘Nup to the Cup’ frame to your profile picture!