The Australian horse racing industry has been rocked by the death of a horse at the Perth Cup on Sunday. Two horses fell to the turf just 200 metres into the Perth Cup in front of 10,000 spectators on New Year's Day at Ascot Racecourse.
West Australian horse Chili Is Hot had to be euthanised at the track after the fall, while officials said Dom To Shoot "suffered abrasions and is slightly lame in the off-foreleg". The meet was later abandoned, with the Perth Cup rescheduled to January 14.
Dom To Shoot got up after the fall and finished the race without a jockey. Peter Knuckey and Jordan Turner, the two jockeys involved in the fall, were not injured. Turner returned to the mounting yard with a bloody nose.
"This is one of the hardest events for anyone involved with racing to deal with," Perth Racing chief executive James Oldring said after announcing an investigation into the incident.
"The welfare of jockeys and horses is always our top priority, Our thoughts are with all those connected with Chilli is Hot."
Chili Is Hot appeared to clip the heels of Buster Bash, ridden by Joe Azzopardi. Dom To Shoot then had no hope of avoiding the fall and hit the turf.
Racing Western Australia chief steward Brad Lewis said he hoped the inquiry into the fall would be conducted on Monday morning. It marked the first time the event had to be called off in its 136-year history.
Horse racing world reacts to 'terrible' Perth Cup fall
Race broadcaster Darren McAullay said: “The crowd went from a mighty roar to utter disbelief. It’s one of the most bizarre feelings I’ve had in 43 years of calling.”
One punter told Perth Now: “It’s just solemn, no one knows what to do. The crowd’s in shock, it’s just awful.”
The horse racing industry had come under intense scrutiny in recent years after a number of deaths on Melbourne Cup day in the past decade. While the past two Cups have managed to avoid tragedy, there were seven in the eight years before that.
Anthony Van Dyck’s death in 2020 was the seventh since 2013 and led to a raft of changes in the way horses are screened and prepared for the race that stops the nation. Cliffsofmoher (2018), Regal Monarch (2016), Red Cadeaux (2015), Admire Rakti (2014), Araldo (2014) and Verema (2013) were the other recent casualties of the Melbourne Cup.
A small group of protesters had lined the streets outside Ascot Racecourse before Chili Is Hot's death.
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