Racing industry boss attacks ‘extremist’ criticism over Melbourne Cup deaths

admin | 杭州桑拿
4 Dec 2018

Distressing scenes: Favourite Admire Rakti died after his Melbourne Cup run. Photo: Eddie JimAdmire Rakti examined before raceWhen horses suffer, so do connections

Australian Racing Board chief executive Peter McGauran hit back at “animal rights extremists” looking to exploit the deaths of Admire Rakti and Araldo in the Melbourne Cup.

“There are six animal rights groups, and with the exception of the RSPCA, all have adopted a position to close down racing. It is impossible to persuade them of another point of view regardless of the facts of the matter,” he said.

“They are politically and ideologically opposed to racing because they believe horses should not be used for an economic benefit.”

The ARB released raw figures about raceday fatalities stating that 125 horses died in races or barrier trials in the 2013-14 season in 19,511 races where there were 189,259 starters, which means the ratio of deaths to runner is 0.0066 per cent. There are 36,675 racehorses in Australia.

The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses stated that there was one death every three days.

“Horses in the racing industry are regularly pushed beyond their physical limits with cruel devices such as the whip, as well as being raced far too young when their bodies are not yet fully developed in 2 year old racing,” the group’s Facebook page stated.

“If they make it out of the industry alive, they are often sent to slaughter when no longer profitable – as there is no industry retirement plan – despite the fact they churn out 15,000 horses year after year.”

The RSPCA called for a full investigation into the deaths and stated it was “a stark reminder to the community of the real risks to horses associated with racing. Sadly, injury and death are the price some horses pay for our entertainment in a sport that puts intense pressure on animals to perform to the limits of their endurance.”

RSPCA chief executive Heather Neil focused on the use of the whip and called for it to be abolished by 2015.

“While racegoers were enjoying the spectacle that is Cup Day, for the horses, the sound dominating the last stages of every race was not the cheering of the crowd but the persistent whack, whack, whack of whips on flesh,” Neil said.

McGauran admitted the deaths had focused community attention on racing.

“It is distressing that two horses died after the Melbourne Cup for everyone involved in the industry, especially their owners, trainers, jockeys and strappers,” he said.

“The level of safety and veterinary care for racehorses is of the highest standard and extremely well regulated but animal rights extremists want to use this to promote their agendas to shut down racing.

“The facts simply do not support their campaigns.”

The preliminary result from Admire Rakti’s autopsy was he died of heart failure as his owner Richi Kondo was still coming to terms with the loss of his horse.

“We are very proud but yet we are so very, very upset,” Kondo said.

“Everyone associated cannot believe what has happened and we are genuinely thankful for the help from the Australians for all the time that we are here but also deeply thankful for the many, many hundreds of well wishes that our group has received since the tragic death of Admire Rakti.

“Admire Rakti brought great, great fame to our country by winning the Caulfield Cup, but yet we are understandably shattered by what has happened.”

The full results may not be known for 10 days but Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey confirmed he had ordered a raceday veterinary inspection of the Cup favourite after he was a notable betting drifter at Monday’s Call Of The Card.

Admire Rakti had been a $5 favourite since his Caulfield Cup win on October 18 but $6.50 was the quote on Monday, raising concerns for Bailey, who contacted Racing Victoria head vet Brian Stewart late on Monday night.

“[It was] probably a bit of chief steward paranoia, but after the call of the card, there was a little bit of easing in the market and some good judges [were] suggesting that it couldn’t win,” Bailey said.

“I just felt it was our role – and duty bound – to make sure the public of Australia were protected. After all it was the favourite in the Cup, to just make doubly, triply make sure that the horse is OK.”

Dr Stewart found Admire Rakti was fit and well to race in a Tuesday morning inspection.  He explained that Admire Rakti, which was eased out of the race by jockey Zac Purton, had had what amounted to a heart attack after he returned to his stall.

“The diagnosis is that the horse died of acute heart failure as a result of ventricular fibrillation probably, which is a disorganised heart rhythm,” Dr Stewart said on Melbourne radio.

“[It] happens very, very rarely in human athletes and in horses and is a consequence of the athletic heart and the rapid heart rate during racing. It is very rare.”

Meanwhile, Racing Victoria said on Wednesday night the way horses return to scale will be changed for the carnival’s remaining group 1 races – Thursday’s Oaks and the Darley Classic and Emirates Stakes on Saturday – after Araldo’s death following a freak accident.

“The incident involving Araldo was a freak accident and something that we have not seen previously,” the statement read. “However, we have taken these interim measures for the remainder of the Carnival and will discuss the long-term procedures with the VRC following its completion.”

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