01 Jul 2009 Pre-2014 Releases

Professor Tim Morris, Director of Equine Science and Welfare, said:

“We are fully aware of the effects of heat on horses, both at rest and when performing, for racehorses and in other equine disciplines. The Authority’s Veterinary Officers have been well briefed as to how to cope with situations of high temperature and today’s successful use of water on the distressed horse was a result of our preparations to ensure that horses received as much water as possible.

“The length of time taken for the distressed horse, Highland Laddie, to be treated for dehydration, and the amount of water used, was exceptional. The delay this caused, coupled with the exceptionally high temperatures in the stable yard, meant the horses due to run in the following race were already becoming dehydrated.

“The abandonment of racing on the grounds of horse welfare was undoubtedly the right course of action, and supported by the trainers and jockeys the Stewards spoke to – Nicky Henderson, Seamus Mullins, John Mackie, Richard Johnson, Robert Thornton and AP McCoy.

“We have asked for separate reports from both the Stewards and the Worcester Executive and our Racecourse Inspectorate will visit Worcester ahead of their next meeting (on the evening of Wednesday 8th July) to see if any improvements can be made in terms of the availability of water.”


1. Our requirements on water supply at racecourses are laid down in our General Instructions as follows:

Hot and cold water outlets must be provided at convenient points in the Official
Racecourse Stables with permanent notices indicating their positions. Dedicated
wash down areas must be provided which are:
a. appropriate to the racing surface (turf or AWT), timing of fixtures and
minimum number of runners;
b. equipped with hoses and shower heads on reels or overhead booms;
c. provided with a well drained non-slip floor;
d. covered, if appropriate to a racecourse’s fixture programme e.g. if holding
a high percentage of winter fixtures.

Abundant supplies of fresh, cold water are to be positioned at certain critical
points e.g adjacent to the parade ring, unsaddling enclosures etc as agreed with a BHA Veterinary Officer and/or the Inspector of Courses. These water supplies
may be provided in the form of hosepipes or filled water butts.

2. A good background piece on horseracing in the heat from 3 years ago can be read here: