JUMPS racing is “barbaric” and trainers and jockeys who are opposed to it should push for the sport to be banned, Sports Minister Leon Bignell says.
Responding to the death of a horse at Oakbank on Saturday, Mr Bignell said jumps racing should be banned “to save the reputation of horse racing in South Australia”.
However, he said it was “up to the racing industry” to impose the 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.”
Mr Bignell’s comments followed a serious fall in the first Oakbank jumps race on Saturday, which led to horse Wheeler Fortune being euthanased.
The 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.
A further three horses died at Oakbank in the two years prior to 2012, RSPCA SA campaign co-ordinator Carolyn Jones said.
Late last year, a parliamentary committee recommended that jumps racing should not be banned and the issue “should not be revisited by Parliament for the next three years”.
Oakbank Racing Chairman Barney Gask said members of that committee “spoke to all stakeholders and they saw fit for jumps racing to continue”.
Greens MLC Tammy Franks still has a Bill before state Parliament to ban the style of racing.
Up to 50 members of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses will protest at Oakbank on Monday morning .
“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.”
Originally published as New push for ‘barbaric’ jumps racing to be banned