Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Racing resumes after horse deaths

Wetherby Racecourse
Four horses were put down after a race meeting earlier this month

Racing has begun at Wetherby Racecourse for the first time since four horses died at the track in one day.

Four animals had to be put down following the opening day of the jumps season at Wetherby on 14 October.

The British Horseracing Authority investigated the course after the deaths and further improvements have been carried out.

Wetherby's chief executive, Jonjo Sanderson, said the inquest did not reveal an obvious cause of the deaths.

Mr Sanderson said: "I walked the course with a British Horse Racing Authority inspectorate.

"We concluded that despite unfortunate circumstances there wasn't anything that was glaringly obvious as to the cause of any problems."

'No link'

The racing world was shocked when thoroughbreds Marrel, Divex, Nut Hand and Miss Giboa were all destroyed after races on 14 October.

David Muir of the RSPCA inspected the course both at the time of the incident and before the current race meeting.

"People blame the racecourse immediately, but there are many reasons why horses can end up a fatality", he said.

He cited pre-existing injury or a bad jump or landing as reasons horses can die or be fatally wounded.

Mr Muir added: "The conclusion that I came to was that there was no actual connection between each of the deaths, however, the course may well have played a part in it."

Mr Sanderson said work on the course carried out since the deaths included specialist aeration techniques and an irrigation programme.

"This could have happened anywhere", he said.

"I have had numerous messages of support from my counterparts over the course of this week, so I think there is empathy from my colleagues across the country."


David Muir of the RSPCA inspects Wetherby racecourse before a race

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Wetherby set for fatalities probe
15 Oct 09 |  Horse Racing

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