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Worcester pledge to ensure safe ground in wake of fatalities.

Byline: Rodney Masters

GROUNDSTAFF at Worcester have worked from "dawn to dusk" to ensure safe ground for today's meeting following the deaths of four horses at its last fixture 13 days ago.

No single factor has emerged to link the fatalities, said Roderick Duncan, acting clerk of the course, but a review of the circumstances is being conducted by the BHA.

Duncan said yesterday: "Every accident at a racecourse, be it human or equine, is distressing for everyone.

"We worked hard before the last meeting to provide good, safe ground and we've worked equally hard to do that again for tomorrow's fixture. At that latest meeting many jockeys and trainers told me it was beautiful ground. We had no complaints. No horse was withdrawn due to the ground."

One of the fatalities occurred when handicap hurdler Lady Of Synone fractured her pelvis.

Andy Hobbs, husband of the mare's trainer Rachel Hobbs, said their stable also lost a horse at the August meeting and he claimed there was "a fundamental problem" at Worcester that needs to be addressed because of the number of fatalities.

"Ground is an issue and one very dodgy area is the Cathedral turn," he said.

Duncan stressed yesterday that none of the injuries happened at that bend, but he admitted that section of the course had been difficult to manage in the aftermath of flood defence earthworks carried out by the Severn Trent water authority.

He said: "The works were off the racing line, on the inside of the running rail. There's nothing wrong with the bend, but it does get a lot of use."

Duncan walked the track on Tuesday with Richard Linley, a BHA inspector of courses.

"Richard made several suggestions for the future as regards the bend and we'll be looking at that. Our team here have worked very hard, from dawn to dusk, to ensure conditions are safe and we all hope for a trouble-free meeting," he said.

Fifty-one horses are scheduled to run at the seven-race programme.

Worcester stages one further meeting, on Wednesday week, before its winter break.


Worcester: four equine fatalities at its last meeting but no single factor has emerged
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 6, 2011
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