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Byron Shire
May 30, 2023

Racing NSW inquiry into animal abuse investigates Ballina horse trainer

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Racing New South Wales will meet with local horse racing figures in Ballina this morning for an inquiry into allegations of animals abuse against a local horse trainer.

Racing NSW Chairman of Stewards, Steve Railton, confirmed that an inquiry would be held today in Ballina but did not elaborate on the subject of the meeting.

The Echo has heard from concerned members of the racing community who say the hearing will begin at 10am at the Ballina Jockey Club.

Brushing things under the rug

A spokesperson for the group of concerned people, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of backlash from Racing NSW, says the organisation has a tendency to brush things under the rug. ‘They tend to victimise people that stand forward about things – anyone coming forward as a whistleblower will feel their wrath and that possibly will affect their income.’

The person says that a local trainer, who is well known to other trainers and strappers for their abuse against horses, will have to answer questions about two horses who sustained fractured skulls – amongst other injuries. ‘I’m very experienced. I’ve worked in this industry for a long time. I’ve worked with the best trainers and I can honestly say I’ve never ever seen a horse in a racing stable ever get a fractured skull, let alone two horses. It just doesn’t happen. I imagine that would be something like a high speed impact injury but not in a stable environment.

‘They [the accused] have been seen multiple times flogging horses.’

Racing NSW should be asking vets

The person said that Racing NSW should be calling up the vets and asking them if they have tended horses with a fractured skull? ‘How would [the trainer] tell the vet how the horse injured itself?’

The person is concerned that because Racing NSW is self-regulating in this type of case, the fear of casting a shadow over the industry as a whole is enough for them to brush it off. 

They said the owners of the horses are often in the dark about how their animals are being treated – once they have handed the horse over to a trainer, owners might not see that animal again until race day, and maybe not even then.

The person said that most people in the industry absolutely adore their horses. ‘They become like their pet, you know, they bring in little gifts, they pick them grass and you actually bawl your eyes out if something happens to that horse.

Bad for the industry

‘There are so many people in this industry watching this and waiting to see what the outcome is.

‘These [abusive] people, they’re bad for our industry and I can’t stand hearing about this happening to these animals because they’re beautiful.’

The person said that the trainer under investigation has a large team of horses that they oversee and that the racing community want to look out for those animals and all race horses. ‘I’ve worked in industry a long time and I wouldn’t honestly be able to remember the last time I’ve ever seen this kind of cruelty to an animal.

‘It’s our duty to keep them safe.’

Racing NSW will hear from the accused and several witnesses today.

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  1. This story seems far more sinister than the likely truth, what ever happened to the presumption of innocence? also, RNSW is a regulatory body, operating under state government legislation and integrity and animal welfare form the basis of their core principles, to suggest otherwise is inflammatory.

    • Are you kidding ? RNSW does not act with integrity. I have seen fake social media accounts acting on their behalf persecuting people that raised animal welfare concerns. And wasn’t the guy that left the tongue tie on, with the horse that had the tongue partially amputated also from Ballina?

  2. Horse racing IS animal abuse. Any other abuse that happens under its umbrella is incidental.


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