Talking Horses: Gay Kelleway claims trainers are running lame horses

POSTED ON  |  08-01-2020

Gay Kelleway
Gay Kelleway has made a strongly worded call for more pre-race checks of racehorses and accused some of her colleagues of sending horses to the track which are not fit to race. The veteran Newmarket trainer, known for being outspoken, is at odds on this subject with many of her rivals, who insist that trainers can be trusted to send only sound horses to the races.

“There’s a lot of horses running with injuries before they start,” Kelleway said. “We’ve got to start being a bit stricter. I’m sick of it. “What they don’t seem to pick up, the BHA, is how chronically understaffed everyone is, so corners get cut. I got to the stage last year where I was a bit disillusioned. I thought, do I want to be involved in this sport?

“I think things have improved a lot for the staff but I think it’s got worse for the horses’ welfare, because things are rushed. You can’t count hours with animals. You might need to do that bit of extra time if a horse is sick.”

Kelleway says she has had reports from owners and jockeys about the poor physical condition of some horses they have observed at certain other yards. She declined to name names but felt the authorities have not usually applied the same scrutiny to the sport’s bigger names as to the smaller operators. “I believe they should bring in what they do in Sweden, where you have to trot horses up to show they’re 100%. I’ve been to Stockholm and they were doing this before every race.”

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