The racing industry presents itself as a fun, family-friendly event, but this is far from reality. Every month, hundreds of horses sustain injuries or suffer from illnesses after being forced to race in the name of entertainment.
Animal Liberation monitors the NSW Horse Racing Steward’s Reports to record how many horses display signs of an unwillingness to race, suffer from injuries, collide while running, and are over-whipped.
The following is a breakdown for NSW tracks in 2021.
Injuries, Illnesses, & Deaths
In just three months of racing, 426 horses have sustained one or more injuries while running on NSW tracks.
Melted Moments and Noble Belle are two individuals who lost their lives due to the severity of their injuries.
Good As Gold was euthanised after suffering from a ruptured suspensory ligament resulted in luxation of the fetlock joint.
In March, three horses lost their lives on NSW tracks.
Lalvani was killed after sustaining a comminuted bilateral sesamoid fracture.
Stonehenge was killed after sustaining an injury to their leg.
Bella Cavalla was killed after fracturing her cannon bone.
|Injuries, Illnesses, & Deaths||Jan||Feb||Mar|
|Slow to recover / Poor post-race recovery||54||41||47|
|Lameness / Soreness / Strain||44||30||44|
|Abrasions / Lacerations / Graze / Speedy Cuts||19||17||21|
|Abnormal Respiratory Noise / Respiratory Distress / Coughing||10||9||8|
|Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hypertension (Bleeding lungs)||6||8||14|
|Atrial Fibrillation / Cardiac Arrhythmia||5||4||5|
|Thumps (Irregular Spasming of Diaphragm)||1||2||1|
|Tying Up (Stiff and in Pain)||1||1||0|
The Stewards also report the number of horses who “made contact”, “bumped”, or “struck” another horse, barrier, or running rail, during the event. On many occasions, it happens more than once. While not all of these collisions result in an injury, many are noted to become unbalanced after the contact, which increases their risk of injury.
|Made Contact / Bumped||221||317||301|
Poor Behaviours & Unwillingness to Race
The Stewards take notes on the horse’s behaviour before and during the race. The behaviours, such as having poor performance, being fractious, uncompetitive, or refusing to be loaded into the barrier, are indicative of an unwillingness to participate.
Please note, some horses display more than one negative behaviour and are recorded multiple times.
|Disappointing / poor performance / Uncompetitive / Poor racing manners||65||74||61|
|Fractious / Agitated||31||24||26|
|Unsettled / difficult to ride / Intractable / Unresponsive||15||8||8|
|Reared / Escaped / Ran off / Dislodged rider||11||7||16|
|Poor barrier manners||6||15||2|
|Stood flatfooted / Refused to jump||5||10||4|
|Difficult to load||5||4||2|
|Refused to load / go to barrier||4||5||11|
Pre-Race Injuries & Illnesses
Before they even entered the race, 28 horses sustained one or more injuries or displayed signs of an illness.
|Pre-Race Injuries & Illnesses||Jan||Feb||Mar|
|Abrasion / Laceration||6||8||18|
|Blood in nostril||2||0||2|
|Kicked by another runner||0||3||2|
Throughout January, 223 jockeys were noted as having “exceeded the permitted strikes of the whip prior to the 100m under AR132(7)(a)(ii)”, yet only four were penalised with a fine.
In February, 284 jockeys were noted as having “exceeded the permitted strikes of the whip prior to the 100m under AR132(7)(a)(ii)”. Only 20 were penalised, either with a fine or suspension.
In March, 276 jockeys were noted as having “exceeded the permitted strikes of the whip prior to the 100m under AR132(7)(a)(ii)”. Only 17 were reprimanded for breaking the racing rule.