PLUS: South Bur­nett trainer, jockey hit back at crit­ics after Cup death

Trainer, jockey share heart­break after Cup death but say well­be­ing at heart of in­dus­try

South Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Clau­dia Williams Clau­dia.Williams@south­bur­nett­times.com.au

NANANGO Race Club pres­i­dent An­drew Green has grown up around thor­ough­bred rac­ing as the son of a trainer and race caller.

He went on to get his scrap­per’s li­cence at 15 and his trainer li­cence at 20.

Through the years he has con­tin­ued to be heav­ily in­volved in the sport as a trainer and race horse owner.

Mr Green stopped with the rest of the na­tion to watch the Mel­bourne Cup on Tues­day, but said the en­joy­ment of the race was over­shad­owed by Cliff­sof­mo­her break­ing his shoul­der, and sub­se­quently be­ing eu­thanised.

“It was a bril­liant race but the whole thing was ru­ined for me be­cause of what hap­pened,” he said.

As a trainer, the well­be­ing of his horses is his main fo­cus.

“If they are in any doubt they stay at home be­cause for peo­ple like us there is al­ways an­other race next week,” he said.

“For ev­ery­one I know in the in­dus­try, and hold in high re­gard, the horses are their top pri­or­ity be­cause if you haven’t got a horse you haven’t got any­thing.”

Each year when the Mel­bourne Cup rolls around, there are calls from ac­tivists to put an end to the race.

But Mr Green be­lieves crit­ics have a nar­row view and don’t look at the flow-on ef­fects do­ing so could have.

“They don’t take into con­sid­er­a­tion that if thor­ough­breds weren’t rac­ing the whole species gets wiped out be­cause there is no other pur­pose for them than to race,” he said.

“It is a whole in­dus­try – it is very unique be­cause you have scores of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent an­gles that rely on it.”

For South Bur­nett jockey Han­nah Phillips, the fact a horse was eu­thanised at the race was heart­break­ing.

“There is noth­ing worse than a trainer walk­ing back in car­ry­ing an empty bri­dle,” she said.

Phillips said an­i­mal wel­fare was of top pri­or­ity as a jockey.

“I don’t like the ex­trem­ist ac­tivist that would like to ban rac­ing out­right or those who par­rot what is in the me­dia, but I have a lot of time for the peo­ple that ap­proach it from an an­i­mal wel­fare per­spec­tive,” she said.

“When you are train­ing at an elite level there will be in­juries and we wish we could talk to them and they could tell us how they are, but we can’t, so we try and do ev­ery­thing to keep them happy and healthy,” she said.

“The horses love do­ing what they do. They are very in­tel­li­gent and like go­ing to dif­fer­ent places and do­ing dif­fer­ent things; they thrive off it.”

When a horse is bred for rac­ing it is tracked from the mo­ment it is con­ceived to en­sure trans­parency.

Phillips en­cour­ages crit­ics to look into the sta­tis­tics.

“Ap­prox­i­mately 35,000 horses race ac­tively each year and have over 180,000 starts be­tween them,” she

said.

“That means the death rate is 0.0034 per cent for horses raced and 0.00066 per cent per start.

“Those stats can be eas­ily sourced through the Rac­ing Aus­tralia Fact Book which is pub­lished yearly to pro­vide to­tal trans­parency on the in­dus­try.”

There is noth­ing worse than a trainer walk­ing back in car­ry­ing an empty bri­dle. — Han­nah Phillips

PHOTO: CLAU­DIA WILLIAMS

LOVE FOR HORSES: Han­nah Phillips on Kumbia Cup-win­ning horse Still the Same.

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