A racehorse was killed when large branches fell into one of the stables adjacent to the racecourse from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020
A racehorse was killed when large branches fell into one of the stables adjacent to the racecourse from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020

Racehorse a confirmed fatality in Grafton storm

A RACEHORSE was killed during a severe storm that hit Grafton on Thursday afternoon, when a tree fell on its stable and crushed the building.

The horse, three-year-old gelding Sir Racha Force, was a recent addition to the stables of Grafton trainer Dwayne Schmidt from Victoria, and was part-owned by Clarence River Jockey Club executive officer Michael Beattie, who said the horse was crushed in its stable when tree a fell on it during devastating high winds.

"It's suspected the horse suffered a fractured skull when the roof got him," Beattie said.

Beattie said a veterinarian was close by at the time of the incident, and the horse was quickly euthanised.

"It's never very palatable to see, I've been in the racing industry a long time and it doesn't get any easier," Beattie said.

"Right from first time I saw a horse destroyed from injury, to see such a majestic animal succumb to any injury, it never quite sits right."

A tree snapped at the truck next to Grafton racecourse from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020
A tree snapped at the truck next to Grafton racecourse from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020

Beattie said while the CRJC track sustained minor damage during the storm, there would be no issue with racing that's scheduled to take place on Monday.

"Other than some damage to the stable area we got through in pretty well," he said.

"Some minor repairs were required to windows and the like but all in all we got through it pretty well.

"There were some sections of running rail blown over by strong winds but it was no trouble standing them up.

"While it certainly did some damage to our training infrastructure there will be no issue with racing on Monday. What we did to facilitate that happening was we closed trackwork this morning to be able to get cleaned up and repairs started from daylight so there will be no issue on Monday.

"It was very scary for the horses who all would have struggled to get through it mentally being flight animals, it would have been pretty scary."



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