Protesters get vocal at Oakbank

Members of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses outside Oakbank Racecourse. Picture: Tom Huntley

ABOUT 50 protesters have lined the streets around Oakbank Racecourse, as thousands gather to attend the racing carnival this Easter Monday.

The protest, run by the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, is calling for jumps racing to be banned.

It follows a serious fall in the first Oakbank jumps race on Saturday, which led to horse Wheeler Fortune being euthanased.

Protest organiser Elio Celotto said yesterday that the organisation was sick of horses dying for entertainment.

“Every time something like this happens, it just reinforces that jumps racing can’t be made safe,” organiser Elio Celotto said.

“It just makes us more and more determined to bring this sport to an end.”

Protesters line the streets around Oakbank Racecourse. Picture: Tom Huntley

Protesters line the streets around Oakbank Racecourse. Picture: Tom HuntleySource:News Corp Australia

On Sunday, Sports Minister Leon Bignell called jumps racing “barbaric” and urged jockeys and trainers opposed to it to push for a ban.

“It’s time for all the trainers and jockeys who are against jumps racing to speak up and have it banned,” he said.

“It’s barbaric and it has no place in the 21st century. If the people who run horse racing in SA think this is a good look for racing, then they’ll oversee the death of the sport overall.”

However, he said it was “up to the racing industry” to impose the ban.

Oakbank Racing Chairman Barney Gask said members of that committee “spoke to all stakeholders and they saw fit for jumps racing to continue”.

Horse Wheeler Fortune moments after it fell. Picture: Kelly Dinham / Facebook

Horse Wheeler Fortune moments after it fell. Picture: Kelly Dinham / FacebookSource:Facebook

Horse Wheeler Fortune, a New Zealand five-year-old gelding trained by champion horseman John Wheeler, was involved in a fall in the Somerled Hurdle when fellow contender Searaven fell at the final hurdle in the home straight.

He brought down Wheeler Fortune, who had cleared the last fence cleanly.

Searaven regained his footing and galloped on but Wheeler Fortune suffered a serious injury to a foreleg.

He had to be euthanased by course veterinarians minutes after the race finished.

The RSPCA on Sunday said it was the fourth fatality at Oakbank in the past six years, after a horse died in a trial race in 2014 and two horses were put down in 2012.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival on Monday.

Originally published as Protesters get vocal at Oakbank

SOURCE: newsnow sport