The British Horseracing Authority has confirmed to Newbury Racecourse that the rescheduled Totesport Trophy Hurdle Meeting has been officially cleared to take place on Friday 18 February. This decision follows receipt of post-mortem reports, the results of sampling and information provided to the Authority by Newbury Racecourse and Southern Electric Power Distribution.
Newbury Racecourse, based on information provided by Southern Electric Power Distribution, has provided the Authority with satisfactory assurance that the parade ring area is now safe for use by horses and humans and that the cable previously located within the parade ring area has been removed and disconnected. Our investigations are consistent with the view that an electrical discharge in the area of the cable was the cause of death.
Southern Electric Power Distribution has also confirmed to Newbury Racecourse, following subsequent testing at locations agreed with Newbury Racecourse, that they are satisfied that electricity cables within the racecourse area where horses have access are operating normally and within required safety standards at the time of testing.
Professor Tim Morris, Director of Equine Science and Welfare for the Authority, said:
“The Authority has been officially informed that there was leakage of electricity from a cable under the parade ring in the area where the incident occurred. There was immediate veterinary attention, and our enquiry on the day noted the racecourse veterinary surgeons felt a tingling sensation when examining the horses, and that the veterinary surgeons noted particular clinical signs such as muscle contractions.
“Both horses that died, Marching Song and Fenix Two, have undergone postmortem examinations which showed sudden cardiac arrest as the cause of death. Samples taken from the horses affected have shown no evidence of substances that could have caused this incident. These findings are all consistent with the cause of death being accidental electrocution and at this stage we are not investigating any other cause of death.
“I can also confirm that, contrary to speculation, no evidence of any burn marks around the mouth was found on post mortem examination, neither were such marks found by the veterinary surgeons on the horses at the start.”
An investigation into the tragic events at Newbury last Saturday was announced by the Authority in the immediate aftermath of the abandonment of racing, and a large amount of eye-witness feedback and footage has already been collected from the enquiry convened by the Authority’s Stipendiary Stewards on the day. The Authority will continue further investigations to ensure that the Authority and racing learn all we can from this accident, and our findings and conclusions will be published at a later date.