Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Cable removed after horse deaths

Racing at Newbury was abandoned after two horses collapsed and died in the parade ring
Marching Song collapsed and died along with Fenix Two before the first race at Newbury Racecourse

Investigators have removed a length of cable from Newbury Racecourse following a freak incident in which two horses were killed in an apparent electrocution.

Fenix Two and Marching Song both collapsed and died in the paddock on Saturday after a suspected underground power leak.

Other horses were seen to wobble in the incident and organisers decided to abandon racing amid safety concerns.

It is thought electricity could have been conducted through the horses' metal shoes, explaining why handlers were not affected.

Investigators said an electricity cable had been found and will undergo further testing.

Stuart Hogarth, operations director for Southern Electric Power Distribution, said: "Following yesterday's unprecedented event, a full investigation is already under way. A section of electricity cable has been removed from the paddock area for further detailed inspection.

Mr Hogarth added: "Our initial on-site investigations last night confirm there was no danger to the public."

Newbury Racecourse joint managing director Stephen Higgins said: "We have been reassured that the site is safe and we hope that the final results of this investigation will be established as soon as possible. Once again, we extend all our condolences to the connections of those horses affected."

The bizarre events forced organisers to abandon racing after just the first run. The incident took place in the paddock as horses were warming up for the day's opening race.

Mr Higgins has said there was a "distinct possibility" maintenance carried out prior to Saturday had disturbed the cable, which is believed to have been buried for at least 40 years.

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