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Tramore Festival Investigation

Tramore Festival Investigation

A meeting took place at the Turf Club on Tuesday 30th August 2011 to consider a number of incidents, which occurred at the Tramore festival that took place from 11th to 14th August. Representatives attended the meeting from the Trainers and Jockeys Associations, Tramore management and Turf Club officials.

The matters investigated were:

(i) The number of horses which either stumbled or fell on the flat at two particular areas of the track.
(ii) The four fatalities that occurred on Sunday 14th August.

The following points were accepted by all present at the meeting:

• The safety of horse and rider is the main priority and that must take precedence over everything else.
• No complaints were received on any of the days by either the Clerk of the Course, Acting Stewards or Tramore Management from either jockeys or trainers about the layout or condition of the track.
• There was no commonality between any of the fatalities and the condition or layout of the track was not a factor in any of the cases.
• The statistics do not indicate the fatality rate at Tramore to be significantly greater than other tracks and the fatal injuries sustained by the horses at Tramore on Sunday 14th August could have occurred at any track.
• The ground got faster as the meeting progressed due to the dry weather conditions and it was not possible, in the time available, to manage the watering of the track to the extent that the executive would have liked. The weather forecast of showers and heavy rain did not materialise.
• The watering guidelines state that ground should not be overwatered to produce slower ground. Trainers expect good to fast ground at Tramore when the weather is dry and the type of horses that run there generally require this type of ground.  There is a difficulty in producing ground that is suitable for both flat and national hunt horses where the same parts of the track are raced over.
• Many of the slipping problems which arose were due to the faster ground and would not have occurred had the ground been slower.
• All horses may not have been suitably shod for the prevailing ground conditions and this may have contributed to the slipping and stumbling that occurred.

The meeting also noted that the Turf Club had arranged for John Souter, Agronomist to examine the track on Wednesday 17th August to advise on any measures which could be taken to improve the racing surface in the future.

The following course of action was agreed to address the issues that arose:

• Where practical, watering should commence at the earliest possible stage to ensure that ground is no faster than good to firm for all future racemeetings.
• Bends where slipping has occurred on fast ground should be watered, aerated and sanded as required.
• Trainers should ensure that horses are properly shod to minimise the risk of slipping on fast ground at Tramore and the Turf Club will introduce new rules to deal with the proper shoeing of horses.
• The shoes of all horses that slip or fall in future should be examined and trainers should be penalised if horses are inadequately shod.
• Consideration should be given in future to the appropriate grass length depending on underfoot conditions.

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