RACING has been abandoned at Sedgefield after two horses tragically suffered fatal injuries in the same race.
Fans were heartbroken after Sweet Auburn and Thermusa sadly went wrong in the 2.55 contest on Thursday afternoon.
The plug was pulled on the final two contests around an hour later due to concerns over the ground.
Brian Hughes, who had been aboard Thermusa in the contest over hurdles, was one of those to take to the track to see if it was safe.
Ultimately he and a number of other jockeys and trainers told officials it wasn’t.
Sky Sports Racing host Leonna Mayor said: “Racing has sadly been abandoned for the afternoon.
“Racing has been abandoned for safety concerns around the home bend.
“Jockeys and trainers have been out checking the ground and they are not happy with it.”
The gut-wrenching scenes in the earlier 2.55 contest had soured proceedings anyway.
Lovers of the sport watching from home and at the track expressed their deep dismay at the two fatalities.
One said: “Iâve never seen a more heartbreaking race than that 2.55 at Sedgefield.
“Thoughts with Thermusa and Sweet Auburn and their connections – horrible.”
Another commented: “Gut-wrenching scenes at Sedgefield. Hearts go out to all involved with of course the poor Thermusa and Sweet Auburn.”
While a tweet posted from the account of popular owners the McNeill family read: “Thoughts to all connections in the race at Sedgefield. A horrible race to watch.”
Grand National-winning trainer Donald McCain, who trained Sweet Auburn, posted on Twitter: “So sad to report that we unfortunately lost Sweet Auburn today at Sedgefield.
“She was a lovely sweet character with a bright future and a real yard favourite #ripsweetie.”
The official British Horseracing Authority stewards’ report said: “An inspection was held as a result of concerns raised by riders and trainers regarding the safety of the ground on the bend leaving the back straight.
Riders Brian Hughes, Richie McLernon and Sean Quinlan, trainers Donald McCain, Ben Haslam, James Moffatt, a representative of Rebecca Menzies, the Clerk of the Course and the Veterinary Officer, were all interviewed.
“Having considered the evidence, the stewards ordered racing to be abandoned.”
While Clerk of the course Michael Naughton told Sky Sports Racing: “The safety of the horses is paramount, which is why we’ve chosen to abandon.
“A couple of the trainers voiced their concerns and they have owners to keep happy. Having lost two horses in the same race, we decided to abandon.
“Everyone that went up [to inspect] said the ground was perfectly fine.
“Both bends have been realigned. When they come round, there’s an adverse camber on that bend turning into the home straight.
“Everybody says it’s been an age-old thing here and that’s what they’re blaming it on.”
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