Racetrack one of the “safest” despite deaths

CONCERNS have been raised around the safety of the Dundalk Stadium track following six horse fatalities since January.

CONCERNS have been raised around the safety of the Dundalk Stadium track following six horse fatalities since January.

Last week apprentice jokcey Luke Dempsey was injured and taken to Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda in an incident which claimed the life of his horse Toberton.

Toberton was the sixth horse to be killed on the track this year, which raised questions of about the surface.

Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat, a spokesperson for Dundalk Stadium said that that the track is one of the safest in the country.

“Dundalk Stadium continually ranks as one of the safest courses in the country; not least for the all-weather surface and the safe and consistent surface it affords,” said Emma Meehan on behalf of Dundalk Stadium.

“The Turf Club releases annual figures and confirms Dundalk as one of the safest tracks in Ireland.  We work closely with the Turf Club to monitor the racecourse on an ongoing basis and employ a full-time grounds team to attend to the racing track.

“ The running surface is continually praised by jockeys and trainers alike with some of the best racehorses in the country regularly attending to race at Dundalk.”

Toberton was the first of the six horses to be killed due to a fall at 14 meetings held at Dundalk so far in 2013, the other five having pulled up with fractures and were subsequently euthanised.

The comments have been backed up by Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan, who told the Irish Independent that there was “no apparent reason” for the equine fatalities.

“There is no apparent reason and we haven’t got complaints about anything,” Egan said of the fatalities yesterday. “It is obviously something we would be very concerned about, though.

“We have an annual safety review meeting, where we look at every racecourse to see are there any trends that might indicate there is a problem. But I have spoken to the vets, to (clerk of the course) Brendan Sheridan and to some of the jockeys and there is nothing apparent.”