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Changes to hurdles needed to lower fatality rate.


JUST seven weeks after deciding that 2010 would signal the end of jumps racing in this state, Racing Victoria have now announced that the sport might continue beyond then, provided certain stringent requirements are met.

It has clearly been a big effort by MRC committee man Mike Symons, who has been in discussions with RV on behalf of the jumps racing industry, to achieve this about-face and give the sport some hope of continuing to 2011 and beyond.

However, no-one is popping any champagne corks. The possibility of continuance is dependent, for one, on a halving of the 2009 fatality rate (per runner), along with a 40 per cent reduction in the rate of fallers.

Obviously everyone in the industry would have been hoping for these reductions in any case, as safer jump racing benefits us all, but the fact is we are still going to be jumping obstacles which are too soft to warrant horses' respect, and which are non-collapsible, so a horse that hits them too low will still be likely to suffer a fatal injury.

The latest proposed modifications to the jumps (which reportedly involve increased padding and a change to the angle of the flimsy yellow brush) will surely do nothing to change these two key safety flaws.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 25, 2010
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