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BHA to probe Sedgefield deaths.

Byline: Jon Lees

THE BHA will examine the circumstances of every fatality at Sedgefield in the last 12 months after a rise in horse deaths at the course, writes Jon Lees.

The sport's regulator said it would work closely with the RSPCA to establish whether anything could have been done to prevent the deaths of 12 horses at the last 18 meetings.

The spate of fatalities since March last year has led to animal rights group Animal Aid branding Sedgefield the most dangerous track in Britain.

Yet according to the BHA, which monitors each faller and every injury sustained in races as well as examining fatalities, the course's death rate is in line with the five-year national average, although the figures for the last 12 months have exceeded that level.

BHA media relations manager Paul Struthers said: "Sedgefield's five-year fatal and long-term injury rate is in line with the national average of less than 0.5 per cent for jump racing, although the last 12 months is in excess of that.

"Our racecourse and equine welfare departments are therefore looking into the circumstances of each fatality and will work closely with the RSPCA's equine consultant, David Muir, to establish if there is any common cause or problem with Sedgefield."

The RSPCA was already aware of Sedgefield's statistics and Muir plans to visit the course to begin his own investigations next month.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 30, 2008
Words:231
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