Future of Victorian jumps racing known on Monday

May 15, 2009

The future of jumps racing in Victoria will be known on Monday. Racing Victoria said yesterday that its board had not yet reached a decision on the sport's future.

"However, an announcement will me made next Monday at 3pm," it said in a statement.

Racing Victoria said its board received submissions from stakeholders and interested parties, as well as the Jumps Review Panel. It needed more time to consider the submissions.

The board is understood to have received a wide range of submissions, including some proposed changes to make the sport safer.

They include abolishing barrier stall starts and doing away with the last jump.

Jumps racing in Victoria was suspended on May 8 after the deaths of two horses that day at a meeting at Warrnambool.

The first casualty of the day was race favourite Hassle, who was pulled up after the second-last hurdle after his jockey Brad McLean reportedly felt one the horse's legs go. The horse was destroyed on the track.

The second was top jumper Clearview Bay in the Grand Annual Steeplechase, who was put down after crashing through a jump at the 1000m mark.

Deputy Premier and Racing Minister Rob Hulls said the recent spate of deaths horrified many Victorians.

"I have always maintained that the death of any horse is not an acceptable by-product of racing and the rate of deaths so far this season is unsustainable," Hulls said.

Five horses have died at jumps racing events in the state this year, including three at Warrnambool, one at Yarra Valley and one in a hurdle trial event at Cranbourne.

Horse welfare groups have been calling for a jumps ban. Animals Australia executive director Glenys Oogjes said: "The [state] government can no longer ignore the carnage."