Racehorses die in freak incident

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Marching Song collapsed and died along with Fenix Two before the first race at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday morning

Two horses collapsed and died after apparently being electrocuted in a freak incident at Newbury racecourse.

The meeting had to be abandoned after Fenix Two and Marching Song were killed as a result of what is believed to have been an electric shock emanating from underneath the paddock.

A further two horses were seen to “wobble” and a lead rein on one of the dead animals was rumoured to have shown traces of burning. The racing was cancelled after the first run due to health and safety concerns.

Newbury chairman Christopher Spence said: “It’s a nightmare for everybody. We can’t be certain what it is, we all think it’s electric, but we don’t know.

“It’s easy to say carry on and hope for the best, but just hoping is not something we should or could do. We’ve got to look after our customers and we’ve got to look after the horses, so very regrettably we’ve called the meeting off. We’ve looked at the cables and we couldn’t see any damage and no work has been carried out on the paddock since the last meeting.”

He added that the cause of the horses’ deaths had not been established, and an inquiry and immediate post-mortem examinations for the horses was announced.

Jonjo O’Neill, trainer of Fenix Two, said he noticed the horse in front of his, Kid Cassidy, go down on his knees before his horse was struck.

“Mine reared up and we couldn’t get him back, it was like he was stuck to the ground. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Mr O’Neill said.

Marching Song’s part-owner Graham Thorner said the fallen horse had “great potential”.

He added: “To a layman with no evidence, you would say it was electrical. The lad who was with him was saying ‘I’m getting an electric shock off this horse’. It can’t be coincidence four horses have done the same thing and two have died, all in the same area. Three people said they were getting a shock off the horse. I hope we find out what it was but it doesn’t bring the horses back.”

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