Horse Racing NSW: Summary

thoroughbred horse

Horse racing is often referred to as the “Sport of Kings”, alluding to the idea of glamour and prestige. This, however, is far from the reality. Every horse entered into a race is at risk of sustaining an injury, or worse, death. While horses are physically capable of running, forcing them to compete with somebody on their backs, places their bodies under immense pressure and as a result, many break down.

The following is a summary of the NSW Horse Racing Steward’s Reports from 1st July 2020 to 31st December 2020. The Steward’s provide a brief summary of every race in NSW, noting any behaviour issues, injuries, deaths, jockey errors, and over-whipping that takes place. We have summarised these into “Deaths”, “Injures”, “Collisions”, and “Behaviours” that are indicative of not wanting to race. We have also recorded the number of times jockey’s over-whipped and were not charged for breaking the rule.

Please note, all information has been taken from the NSW Racing Steward’s Reports, which you can find here. Please note, some horses are listed in multiple summary tables and may have sustained more than one injury.


In just six months, seventeen horses died or were killed after sustaining an injury whole racing on NSW tracks. Three individuals collapsed and died on the track suffering from cardiorespiratory failure, while the others were killed for sustaining catastrophic injuries, such as a fractured pelvis, leg, or dislocations.

The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses analyses all race reports in Australia, and they have found that one horse dies every three days on Australian tracks. While these deaths may only make up a small percentage of the total horses raced, one death is too many. Their lives are worth more than gambling money.

While the industry claims that euthanasia is the “humane” procedure to take, we argue that these animals should never have been placed in the situation in the first place because of the known risks.

07 JulNewcastleThree SheetsEUTHANISED: Suffered injury to near-foreleg and was retired from race.
09 JulKembla GrangeI Am A Country BoyEUTHANISED: catastrophic injury to off-foreleg 
18 JulLismoreOur Boy BenEUTHANISED: Fracture Sesamoid near fore leg (suspected) – broke down and eased out of event, euthanised later date
25 JulRosehillHot ‘N’ HazyEUTHANISED: Colt fell and suffered catastrophic injury to near fore leg
25 JulCoonabarabranCanvasEUTHANISED: fractured pelvis
8 AugCoffs Harbour Rosy ElsieDIED: Collapsed and died after running 
19 AugCanterbury Park Sacred CaptainDIED: Collapsed, exercise associated sudden death, cardiorespiratory failure, and died
22 AugInverellDavorDIED: Collapsed at 350m and died 
04 NovGraftonEcho LadEUTHANISED: fractured sesamoid and suspensory breakdown in the near fore leg
09 NovLismoreSomebody Loves YouEUTHANISED: bilateral front suspensory breakdown and dislocation
13 NovCanterbury ParkAlrilloEUTHANISED: injury to its near fore leg
14 NovBathurstTurcotteEUTHANISED: fractured off fore pastern
9 AugDubboMajor ZarizEUTHANISED: barrier trial: fractured pelvis
23 OctSconeLucky ShadowEUTHANISED: blundered, broke down and suffered catastrophic luxation of near fore fetlock
18 DecGoulburnCubmanEUTHANISED: injury to pelvic area, retired, killed
26 DecQueanbeyanOppositeEUTHANISED: injury to fore fetlock
15 SepTaree FastquestEUTHANISED: clipped heels of another runner, fell and fractured radius to near foreleg after finish line 

An additional five horses were killed after competing in a trial or during routine track work. One Last Throw, who was killed in April, has also been included as their death was still being investigated.

21 AprilOne Last ThrowEUTHANISED: Severe colic (only just reported)
31 AugRosehillGod Of ThunderEUTHANISED: Trial: fracture to the pelvis.
30 OctCodebreakerDIED: Trial – suffered exercise associated sudden death as a result of cardiorespiratory failure.
18 NovMuswellbrookWhitelyDIED: Trial
19 NovLoudazEUTHANISED: Trackwork: proximal radial humeral fracture. 
The Last RoadieEUTHANISED: Trackwork: fracture to proximal end of left metacarpus.
race horse eye

Injuries and Health Issues

In 6 months, 780 horses suffered from one or multiple injuries or health issues while racing on NSW tracks. While not all of these injuries are life-threatening, it highlights the risks involved with racing horses. To view the full breakdown, please download the report here (PDF).

Please note, some horses have since been retired as a result of their injuries and health issues.

Injury / Health IssueNumber of horses
Abnormal Respiratory Noise / Respiratory Distress36
Abrasion / Graze23
Aggravated Old Wound2
Atrial Fibrillation1
Bleeding in the Lungs (Both and Single Nostrils)105
Blood present (Not from Lungs)4
Bowed Tendon3
Cardiac Arrhythmia30
Choke (may not be race related – update needed)1
Crack in hoof2
Elevated Heart Rate2
Fell / Slipped6
Galloped on19
Heat Stress7
High Temperature2
Hit in Eye1
Internal Bleed1
Locked Stifle2
Mouth sensitivities1
Muscle tear1
Muscle, shin, back, hooves soreness13
Nasal discharge3
Other injury8
Puncture wound to foot2
Roarer (Recurrent Laryngeal Neuropathy)1
Skin Reaction1
Slow to Recover / Poor Recovery Rate208
Speedy Cuts12
Strained Muscles2
Struck by Whip on Face6
Swollen eyes4
Tendon Rupture1
Thumps (Irregular Spasming of the Diaphragm)6
Tying Up9

Pre-race Injuries / Health Issues

Before their races, 156 horses were reported as being injured or having health issues. This means that the horses arrived at the racecourse with visible issues or sustained an injury prior to competing. For a full breakdown, please click here (PDF).

Some horses were still raced despite these issues.

Injury / Health IssueNumber of Horses
Blood in Nostril / Mouth6
Broken Tooth1
Cast (Stuck)2
Elevated Temperature5
Fell / Slipped4
Kicked by Another Horse4
Nasal Discharge1
Old Wound2
Other Injury18
Struck Head16
Swelling in Legs6
bleeder race horse injury
Example of a Bleeder – generic image, not from discussed race. Credit: Matt Goins


While racing, 1,528 horses were reported to have “bumped”, “made contact”, “brushed”, or “clipped/struck the heels” with/of another horse, the barriers, or running rail. Horses who collided with others were often noted to have “blundered”, sustained injuries (such as lameness), or were said to have performed “poorly” or became “unresponsive” to their rider. In many cases, horses made contact with another horse more than once in a single race.

Collisions are particularly dangerous as the horses are racing at approximately 70km per hour. Any interference can throw them off balance, placing them at risk of sustaining life-threatening injuries.

For a full breakdown, click here (PDF).

IssueNumber of horses
Bumped / Made contact with1,503
Clipped / struck heels8
race horses made contact, bumped
Horses colliding – generic image.

“Horses Love to Run”

We often hear that horses love to run, and while this may be true, it does not mean they love to race. Competing and the lust for winning is part of human behaviour. Horses, on the other hand, are prey animals and developed their ability to run to evade predators or other threats. Racing them only plays on their fears.

Between July to December, 1,585 horses displayed signs of an unwillingness to race, either through their behaviour prior to or during racing. The following is a summary of the noted “poor” behaviours, taken from the steward’s reports. Horses who repeatedly show these behaviours are often ‘retired’. For a full summary, please click here (PDF).

BehaviourNumber of horses
Broke through barrier10
Bucked/Attempted to buck29
Difficult to load22
Difficult to ride / Unruly42
Dislodged rider34
Fractious (barrier / en route)113
Leg up on running board10
Missed the start62
Poor performance955
Poor racing manners60
Raced flat footed / Stood flat fooded56
Refused to leave barrier2
Refused to load35
Unresponsive to rider120

Pre-Race Behaviour

Prior to entering the racetrack, 40 horses also displayed signs of an unwillingness to race, highlighted in their distress and manners. For a more detailed list, click here (PDF).

BehaviourNumber of Horses
Broke free4
Dislodged rider7
poor racing manners horse
Unruly horse – generic image, not from listed race.

Over Whipping

Racing NSW only permits 10 uses of the whip prior to the final 100m, after this, horses can be whipped an unlimited amount of time. Despite this rule, 1,577 jockeys were not penalised for whipping more than the allowed amount during their races. To view the report, click here (PDF). We question why Racing NSW is not penalising jockeys for not abiding by the rules.

Whip use – generic image.

How can I help?

Hundreds of horses are suffering in the name of “entertainment”, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If a person truly loved their horse, they would not risk their life for money. Additionally, horses who repeatedly fail to perform well leave the stable, highlighting that the owners are in it for profit. The only way to end the cruelty is to end the “sport”. You can help make this happen, by choosing to not support the industry. Take the pledge to never bet on an animals life, here.

You can also help by sharing this information with your friends and family.

See past summaries

View past Steward’s report summaries here:
JanuaryFebruary. March, AprilMay, and June.

thoroughbred horse racing Nsw

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