Anger after 3 horses killed at Ellerslie Racecourse


An investigation has begun after three horses had to be put down on one day at Auckland's Ellerslie Racecourse.

Video footage of Monday's steeplechase races at Auckland's Ellerslie Racecourse shows the moments three horses fell, causing their euthanisation.

Pressure to ban steeplechases is building following the deaths of the three horses at the Queen's Birthday race.

The animals were euthanised on the track after falling and breaking bones.

Animal rights organisation SAFE says it condemns jumps racing because of the inherent danger to horses who are pushed to jump fences at speed, resulting in injury and death.

"Jumps racing is impossible to make safe, as by its very nature, there is a constant risk to the horse. Horses are dying on race tracks every year and the casualties will continue to mount unless action is taken," SAFE spokesperson Mandy Carter said in a statement.

"People are betting, while owners and trainers are making money, and it is costing the horses their lives. The only solution is to ban jumps racing."

The three horses were jumping when they fell and fractured bones, and were euthanised soon afterwards.

Tu Meta Peta was euthanised after jumping the first fence awkwardly, falling and fracturing his right shoulder. Musashi was killed after falling and fracturing his left foreleg, while Bahhton fractured his right shoulder on falling, and was then euthanised.

The racing industry says three deaths in one day is unusual but admits it's not a good look and has launched an investigation.

"We'll look at every aspect of the jumps themselves, qualifications of horses to run in those races, the type of ground, and that review won't be confined to Ellerslie; that'll be nationwide," says NZ Thoroughbred Racing spokesperson Matthew Hall.

An Ellerslie racecourse spokesman says while the deaths have shocked the racing community they must be put into perspective. He says only two other horses have been fatally injured while jumps racing at Ellerslie in the past six years -- the last in 2013. 

SAFE has launched a petition to stop steeplechase races.