The British Horseracing Authority described the death of three horses at Hexham on Monday as ‘an exceptionally rare occurrence’ but, as it does with every racecourse fatality, it will investigate the circumstances around each one.

The three horses injured were Skywards Reward, which broke a leg on the flat approaching a hurdle, Nelly La Rue, which broke down 50 yards after jumping a fence seemingly without problem in three mile handicap chase while, in the same race, Flemerina took a fatal fall at the seventh fence. Ironically Flemerina, who vets tried in vain to save for 20 minutes, was the only faller in seven races.

Hexham has a better safety record than most courses and the ground was soft, good to soft in places although tendon injuries tend to be more common on fast ground, hence the watering of courses when it is dry.

The injuries occurred on different parts of the track and besides its own three veterinary officers there were four BHA veterinary welfare officers in attendance at the course.   

David Sykes, the BHA’s director of Equine Health and Welfare, said: “We are saddened following the fatal injuries incurred by Skywards Reward, Flemerina and Nelly La Rue at Hexham yesterday.


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