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
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
“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
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