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Drones have emerged as a new menace for those holding events involving livestock and bloodstock, after a racehorse was struck by a drone in the parade ring at last week’s Killarney Races.
Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) rules stipulate that drones (small unmanned aircraft) cannot be flown in a negligent or reckless manner, so as to endanger the life or property of others, or over an assembly of people.
The drone at Killarney Races briefly landed on St Killenagh, a 33 to 1 outsider in last Tuesday’s Irish Stallion Farms EBF steeplechase. The horse’s trainer, Keith Watson, from Co Armagh, said he received a kick from St Killenagh’s front leg when the horse was spooked by the drone, and he linked the incident to the poor performance of St Killenagh when the race started shortly afterwards. Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan was quoted in the Racing Post newspaper: “A drone shouldn’t have been there, but the guy concerned didn’t know what he was doing. We spoke to him and he folded the thing up straight away and apologised.” The IAA has announced a restriction on the flying of aircraft, including small unmanned aircraft near Galway Racecourse during next week’s racing festival, but the reason is to ensure the safety of aircraft operating into and out of The racecourse. “Operators of drones and model aircraft must familiarise themselves with the rules regarding these aircraft, to ensure they don’t endanger other airspace users or people,” according to the IAA.
As drones become more commonplace, they could present a danger at events and shows involving livestock or bloodstock.