Wheeler Fortune fourth horse to die at Oakbank in last six years

April 18, 2017

RSPCA South Australia would like to clarify that yesterday’s death of jumps racing horse Wheeler Fortune was the fourth death at Oakbank in the last six years.

In 2014, Black Moon was euthanised after a trial race at Oakbank. In 2012, Virvacity suffered a shoulder injury during the Saturday steeple race and was euthanised. On the Monday of the same year, Art Success was put down after falling in the Great Eastern Steeplechase – the longest steeple race in Australia. Three horses had also died at Oakbank in the two years prior to 2012. Deaths recorded can be found here.

“It’s important that the public has the full picture. Everyone, including the Oakbank organisers, know that it is the jumps that cause injury and death,” said RSPCA South Australia Campaign Coordinator, Carolyn Jones. “As long as jumps racing continues, horses will die. Jumps racing can never be made ‘safe’.

“If Oakbank organisers truly cared about the welfare of horses – as they claim to – then they would remove the jumps.

“We know people stay away from Oakbank because they don’t want to witness the kind of tragedy we saw yesterday, and no doubt Wheeler Fortune’s death left many that attended scarred.”

A 2006 University of Melbourne study found a horse competing in a jumps race is nearly 19 times more likely to die compared to a horse competing in a flat race.

Despite such compelling evidence supporting an immediate ban on jumps racing, a parliamentary inquiry completed last November disappointingly gave Thoroughbred Racing SA three years to address multiple welfare concerns – all the while horses such as Wheeler Fortune continue to die.

RSPCA South Australia firmly maintains its position the ‘sport’ needs to be banned.

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