A DAY of heartbreak that saw two fatalities in one race has forced Sedgefield to axe its next meeting as an investigation into the track’s safety continues.
Racing lovers at the Stockton-on-Tees course and watching at home were devastated to see Sweet Auburn and Thermusa tragically break down on Thursday.
The meeting was abandoned about an hour later amid concerns over the track.
Now bosses have said the next raceday scheduled for Thursday, November 10, is off as a probe into its condition continues.
A statement posted last night read: “Sedgefield racecourse would like to offer our sincere condolences to the connections of Thermusa and Sweet Auburn, who separately suffered fatal injuries during a race this afternoon.
“The welfare of participants, both human and equine, is paramount and the decision was taken to abandon the remaining two races and to undertake further inspection and investigation of the track.
“The fixture scheduled for Thursday November 10 will not take place at Sedgefield, to allow further time to undertake this process with the British Horseracing Authority.
“We will be in touch, in due course, with our customers and bookmakers who have attended this afternoon’s race meeting, along with the connections of horses that were scheduled to run in the last two races.”
Grand National hero Donald McCain, trainer of Sweet Auburn, expressed his sadness at the horse’s passing on Twitter.
He wrote: “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.”
Sweet Auburn, a six-year-old mare, and Thermusa, a five-year-old mare trained by Ruth Jefferson, were both running in the 2.55pm novices’ hurdle.
Thermusa was leading under jockey Brian Hughes when she sadly suffered a fatal injury just before the last jump.
Sweet Auburn was quickly pulled up on the home bend by her rider Paul Kavanagh.
Champion jockey Hughes was among a delegation of riders and trainers who took to the track not long after the race to check it out.
They deemed it was unsafe to carry on, forcing officials to call off the meeting.
Sedgefield, which labels itself ‘one of the country’s friendliest racecourses’ on its website, hosts 20 fixtures a year.
Its next raceday, pending the outcome of the investigation, will be on Thursday, November 22.
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