Death May Signal End Of Jumps Racing 2009: The Fight

death may signal end of jumps racing

THE fight to save jumps racing in Victoria suffered a serious blow when a stayer crashed and broke its neck in front of the
grandstand at the Warrnambool races yesterday. Pride of Westbury’s death &151 the third in jumps racing already this season &151 means that today’s gruelling 5500-metre Grand Annual Steeplechase will face scrutiny like never before in its 137-year history. There was hardly a sound from the sizeable crowd at the finish of the $100,000 jumps feature yesterday, despite the close finish between ultimate winner Desert Master and Hooker Road, as seconds earlier six-year-old Pride of Westbury nosedived into the turf and broke his neck after misjudging the final hurdle. The horse’s jockey, Trent Wells, was last night in Warrnambool Hospital with a suspected broken arm. Last week, Wells was the rider of a horse that fell and had to be destroyed at a bushfire charity event at Yarra Glen. Racing Minister Rob Hulls last year put jumps racing on notice after 12 deaths during races and trials. Yesterday he said he was aware of the latest death. “This incident puts enormous pressure on the jumps racing industry to convince Victorians that it has a sustainable future.”
Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines was at Warrnambool yesterday and said the incident had not helped jumps racing’s image. He stopped short of guaranteeing the sport’s immediate future.

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