It Seems Animal Welfare Comes Second in the Sunshine State


When a jockey immediately realises that his mount has a physical problem just metres after the start, isn’t there a positive obligation both under the rules of racing and the law to immediately pull the horse up and dismount, so as not to cause further injury?

I believe so, and I am confident that most horse lovers would agree.

So why did Sean Cormack continue to ride a horse named Bradbury for about two kilometres after the start of Race 10 at the Sunshine Coast yesterday afternoon, and why did actions go unpunished?

It is an agreed fact that Cormack felt that Bradbury had an issue just metres after the horse had jumped from the barriers in the Butler McDermott Lawyers Benchmark 65 Handicap run over 1800 metres.

It is also agreed that a post-race veterinary examination found the horse to be sore in the off-foreleg, an ailment possibly caused by the shifting of a plate (a horse shoe).

Cormack may not have known why Bradbury felt wrong in its action – he most likely didn’t – but he did know that something was wrong, and as a result he didn’t apply undue pressure to the horse at any stage of the race. He did however continue to ride it at high speed and complete the race, and I think its a disgrace.

Two horses died on Queensland tracks on the weekend, at a time when thoroughbred racing is in the glare of the spotlight over animal welfare abuses in or connected to the sport.

In times like these it is incumbent on the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission to stamp down hard on racing participants that fail to put equine welfare first. After all, the QRIC was created for this express purpose.

The Stewards called Cormack in to explain his ride on Bradbury, but their only interest was in knowing why the jockey didn’t take to his mount with whips and heels and metaphorical spurs to encourage it to race more competitively.

Once Cormack told them about his certainty immediately after the start that Bradbury was suffering from a problem, they wrote the gelding’s trainer out a warning, marked him down as requiring a veterinary certificate prior to starting again, and lost interest.

If this type of negligence and neglect continues, a whole lot of other racing people soon might too.

Editor’s note – I doubt that Romaneque lost it’s near fore in running. Three-legged-horses have trouble standing up, let alone running. I suspect that it might have been a lost plate.


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