Four horses die on 'extremely distressing' race day

A Scottish racecourse will be investigated after four horses tragically died on a single race day this week.

The deaths occurred on Monday at Musselburgh Racecourse, one of Scotland’s largest tracks.

The four horses were Kensukes Kingdom, Sierra Oscar, Leather Belly and Smart Ruler.

Kensukes Kingdom won the first race of the day but pulled up sore after the post, with a tendon injury diagnosed soon after.

Sierra Oscar, in a hurdle race, and Leather Belly, in a bumper race without obstacles, also suffered leg injuries.

Smart Ruler’s trainer Jimmy Moffat believed his horse suffered a heart attack 100 yards after leading its hurdle race.

The horses were four of just 44 runners on the day, the 9.1 per cent fatality rate much higher than the 0.2 per cent average.

The British Horseracing Authority will undertake an inspection before the end of the week.

“The incidents at Musselburgh were extremely distressing for everyone involved,” the BHA said in a statement.

Musselburgh Racecourse is one of Scotland’s largest tracks. Pic: Getty

“Work will now be undertaken to identify if there are any risk factors at the course or with the horses that might have contributed to these incidents.

“The BHA’s inspector of courses will be visiting Musselburgh in the coming days to carry out a full inspection.

“Some of the horses are also being sent for post-mortems to establish more information, including for one of the horses whose death seems to relate to a sudden collapse.”

Kensukes Kingdom trainer Phillip Hobbs, Moffat and track officials all believe the track did not cause the deaths.

“The course was fine,” Hobbs said.

“It was just one of those things, unlucky and upsetting for staff and owners.”

The investigation comes as the BHA finalises a report into the deaths of six horses at the four-day Cheltenham Festival earlier this year.

Four of the six horses died on the final day of racing at the March event.