The Carnage Continues For The Horseracing Industry

There has been carnage on racetracks in Victoria and NSW during April 2019, that has resulted in immense suffering of both jockeys and horses. At least ten horses have been killed on the racetrack in these two states alone and many more have been injured.

Injuries in horse racing are extremely common. It is not unusual to witness a horse suffer a catastrophic musculo-skeletal injury or collapse and die due to cardio-vascular/respiratory failure (sudden death).

Tarka died of acute cardiopulmonary failure
Source: Breednet

At Randwick fillies, Bye Bye Belle (aged 3 – 13 April) and Ocean’s Faith (aged 2 – 25 April) collapsed and died in the home straight.  We know that horses who are assessed after racing with evidence of cardiac arrhythmia, are ordered by stewards to undergo an ECG (electrocardiogram) and pass a veterinary check before being allowed to return to the races.  Considering the frequency of this condition, it should be mandatory for all horses to undergo an ECG to at least attempt to identify cardiovascular/respiratory problems before they result in catastrophic deaths. Furthermore,  trainers should undergo further education and be provided with heart-rate meters for the horses they train.

Also at Randwick in NSW on 13 April 2019, Persan and War Baron crashed to the turf in the concluding stages of the race.  While we understand that the jockeys involved were not seriously injured, we have no information on what injuries the horses may have suffered.  Stewards report here.

At Tomingley in NSW on 27 April 2019, three jockeys and three horses, Sikum, Another Plan and Run the Red, crashed to the ground, suffering serious injuries. Jockey M. Hackett (Another Plan) sustained severe head injuries and was airlifted to Liverpool in Sydney in a critical but stable condition. Another Plan was found to have sustained a small abrasion to the nasal area. R. Blewitt (Run the Red) was airlifted to Westmead Hospital in Sydney where he was found to have sustained a fracture to the scapula, a fractured rib and stable in-displaced thoracic spinal fractures. Run the Red was found to have a deep abrasion to the off-fore fetlock as well as a small abrasion to the off-hind. M. Gray (Sikum) was transported to Dubbo hospital where he was found to have sustained a fractured clavicle, a fractured wrist as well as a thoracic spinal fracture. Sikum was found to have a palpable fracture to the nasal bones.  Stewards report here.

Carnage at Tomingley
Source: Central Western Daily

We believe the deaths of all active racehorses should be recorded and made public. This includes all horses that die in training, trials, jump-outs, and races. The community is entitled to know.

Summary of the race day deaths in April in NSW and Victoria recorded

VIC 5.4.19Cranbourne/TrialsMonarch Chimes7yo gelding/no details
NSW 11.4.19
Categoric3yo gelding/collapsed and died
VIC 11.4.19Kyneton RacesSaracentinal8yo gelding/serious racing injury/euthanised
NSW 12.4.19Randwick/JumpoutMississippi Miss3yo  filly/collapsed and died
NSW 13.4.19Randwick RacesTarka3yo colt/acute cardiopulmonary failure/euthanised
NSW 13.4.19Randwick RacesBye Bye Belle3yo filly/collapsed and died
VIC 16.4.19Bendigo RacesEgotist4yo gelding/serious racing injury/euthanised
VIC 20.4.19Caulfield RacesMagnapal 4yo gelding/serious racing injury/euthanised
NSW 25.4.19Randwick RacesOcean’s Faith3yo filly/collapsed and died
VIC 27.4.19Caulfield RacesColumbus Circle 3yo gelding/serious racing injury/euthanised

There is no doubt there are many more deaths that are not recorded as horses who are euthanised off the racetrack do not need to be reported to stewards

Nearly 30 years ago, a Senate Select Committee of Inquiry handed down its recommendations to improve the welfare of racehorses in the racing industries. According to our investigations, none of these recommendations were enforced by State Governments who are responsible for regulating their racing industries and safeguarding the welfare of racehorses on behalf of the public.  With animal welfare now a serious political issue, all animal industries are under intense scrutiny and pressure to improve the welfare of animals they use. 

It is clear from the ongoing carnage on racetracks around the country, that the Federal Government needs to conduct another Inquiry into the horseracing industry in Australia.  

Cover Image Source: ABC News


  1. Yolanda Wilczek


    I totally agree with the ECG being done on horses 2&3 year olds shouldn’t die from running on the track recording of all deaths made public knowledge and ban jumps racing in every state it is a disaster to horses sustaining catastrophic losses

  2. Magali Frederic


    No animals should suffer for human’s recreation purposes, there must be a more humane way to treat them. Animals are not put here for our entertainment, we should respect them

  3. Sharon


    Have you looked into the issue of Equine Complex Vertebral Malformation which is a congenital malformation of the C6C7 cervical vertebrae. Reports indicate that 40% of thoroughbreds have this condition which can lead to them crashing to the turf unimpeded. This is dangerous for jockeys and fatal for horses but Racing Vic won’t address this issue. These horses are ticking time bombs and it needs investigating. Please read Sharon May Davis research

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