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HKJC sued over death of horse.

Byline: Nick Pulford

THE Hong Kong Jockey Club is being sued by insurers Lloyd's of London in a landmark case over the death of a horse from injuries suffered in a race at Sha Tin almost four years ago, writes Nick Pulford.

The lawsuit is believed to be the first in the world which tests whether a racing authority and jockeys owe a duty of care to racehorse owners during a race.

Lloyd's is seeking to recoup Ff3.5 million (pounds 325,000) in insurance paid out after a horse owned by Hong Kong business tycoon Dickson Poon had to be put down following a racing accident.

The horse, Harbour Master, suffered a severed tendon in its left foreleg during a race at Sha Tin on May 3, 1998.

The lawsuit has been brought against the HKJC and the estate of rider Willy Kan, who is alleged to have caused injury to Harbour Master through reckless riding aboard Winning Scene. Kan died, aged 20, in 1999 from injuries she received in a race fall at Sha Tin.

Anselmo Reyes, counsel for Lloyd's, told the Court of First Instance in Hong Kong that Kan's mount had twice caused interference before the first bend.

"The rider of Winning Scene owes a duty of care to Mr Poon, the owner of the horse, and that duty of care was breached and damage resulted," he said.

Kan was suspended for five days by the HKJC stewards after being found guilty of careless riding in the race.

Poon has issued a statement to stress that the court action was not instigated by him, while Joseph Fox, counsel for the HKJC and the estate of Kan, said the law had never been tested on this point and it could expose jockeys to lawsuits every time they rode a race.

The case is expected to last two weeks.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 7, 2002
Words:311
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