The Heat was on at Worcester

After almost ten months of sorting out a waterlogged racecourse, Worcester Racecourse was only too happy to open its doors to horse racing in the beginning of May. But yesterday, 1 July 2009, Mother Nature once again proved that she was a force to be reckoned with, when an almost unbearable heat wave hit the racecourse and had everyone a little hot under the collar. The heat proved to be too much for the horses and after the havoc that incurred after the first race, the rest of the meeting was cancelled, which has led to an investigation.

With soaring temperatures, the jumps racing meeting at Worcester Racecourse was marred from the start. Temperatures of almost ninety degrees were recorded in the stable yard, causing many horses to dehydrate even before the racing had even started. And one of the main issues raised on the day, was the fact that there was not enough water available to cool down the horses, and many have raised the question as to why the racecourse was so ill prepared for the heat. Officials at the track have said that the rest of the day was cancelled due to the heat and concern for the welfare of the horses, and not because of a shortage of water.

Only one race was run at the track and chaos ensued when two athletes collapsed during the event. Third place winner, Higland Laddie, collapsed after he had run, and officials were running around wildly, struggling to get water holders refilled to help the horses in distress. Director of Equine Science and Welfare, Professor Tim Morris, commented on the events of the day, saying: “The length of time taken for the distressed horse to be treated for dehydration, and the amount of water used, was exceptional. The delay this caused, coupled with the exceptionally high temperatures in the stable yard, meant the horses due to run in the following race were already becoming dehydrated. The abandonment of racing on the grounds of horse welfare was undoubtedly the right course of action.” British Horse Racing officials have requested several reports to investigate the debated issues, and will inspect the racecourse next week. What matters most however, is that racing was cancelled and the welfare of the horses was the most important factor to everyone.