Fakenham racecourse defends actions after horse dies

Fakenham Races, Victoria Pendleton taking part in the Betfair Switching Saddles Grassroots Fox Hunters Chase at 4.10 
Wearing Red/White/Black ANL-160220-091955009

Fakenham Races, Victoria Pendleton taking part in the Betfair Switching Saddles Grassroots Fox Hunters Chase at 4.10 Wearing Red/White/Black ANL-160220-091955009

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Fakenham racecourse has issued an official statement in reaction to a barrage of criticism following the death of a horse in Friday’s meeting.

Marden Court, ridden by Paddy Brennan, died in the 3.05pm race after taking a fall over one of the fences.

The horse, trained by Colin Tizzard in Dorset, broke its pelvis and back and had to be destroyed.

Hostile comments on Facebook said that the matter had not been well dealt with by race officials and said they seemed distracted by the hoo-hah surrounding Victoria Pendleton, who was riding in a later race.

David Hunter, clerk of the court, said in the statement: “As chief executive and clerk of the course at Fakenham I want to reassure everyone that the tragic injury sustained by Marden Court in 3.05 race at last Friday’s race meeting was dealt with in a totally professional manner.

“A vet was attending to Marden Court within 30 seconds of the fall (the horse ambulance arrived within a minute) and the vet remained with the horse, along with jockey Paddy Brennan, throughout the incident, although this is not evident from the TV coverage as the horse obscured the vet, nor is the presence of emergency vehicles just out of camera shot . The ground staff decided to screen the horse once the field had passed, for safety reasons.

“I am satisfied that everything was done to ensure Marden Court was dealt with as quickly and safely as possible by a highly professional team. Finally, once again our thoughts are with Marden Court’s connections.”

A stewards’ enquiry was held into the incident and a report has been passed to the British Horseracing Association.

Comments on facebook included; “Find it incredibly hard to see anything to believe in this statement sadly. None of the above were evident on that second circuit when the field went past” Dee Instone; “This makes me so angry. Why not confess, apologise and learn from the very serious mistakes made that day” Marie Nickless; “All racing should be suspended until a full enquiry is conducted and an apology is made by those connected to Fakenham” Bill Washington; “We need to speak up so this NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN !!! I’d have been devistated if this had happened to one of mine” Hope McSnowy.

But Alec Swan said: “The downside to Facebook is that anyone with an opinion, no matter that they weren’t there, didn’t witness the incident and don’t know either the CttC or the Attending Vet, can post their speculative views, views which will most probably distress Marden Court’s Owner, Trainer and Lad. If Marden Court’s Connections read this page, I can assure you that I was at the course that day, and that the very best was done for your horse and that everyone will join with you in your sorrow. To dismiss the best efforts of all concerned is without foundation, cruel and needless, and I’d suggest that those who only wish to worsen a tragedy, keep their thoughts to themselves.”