Racing: Renewed calls to shut down jumps after injuries

There are renewed calls to shut down jumps racing after two horses were put down and three jockeys injured in one day's event.

The first three races of the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty Hunt Club's meet on Wednesday were chaos, as horses fell on the rain-soaked track.

One jockey ended up in hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while two others were treated by medics and ruled out from further racing on the day.

Several horses were involved in the falls and two needed to be euthanised.

Animal rights group SAFE says the sport needs to be banned in New Zealand.

Campaign director Eliot Pryor said it was unacceptable that people went into jumps racing knowing that horses would die during the season.

"It's not a sport. It shouldn't be a sport," Mr Pryor said.

"We think jumps racing should be banned."

Racing Integrity Unit general manager Mike Godber said it was unusual to have so many incidences on one day - but he defended the track's safety.

He said there were about 4000 races in New Zealand each year and there were a handful of horses destroyed.

"In these two cases the horses weren't able to be saved so had to be humanely put down," he said.

"It is surprising to have a horse die on a race day. To have two is just an unfortunate coincidence.

"In the end it's a great sport. It's like all higher level sports - they all have an element of danger."

Mr Godber said there were always two vets and a staffed ambulance present at jumps races, in case of accidents.

- By Kieran Campbell of APNZ and Sonya Bateson of The Daily Post 


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