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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.