Two prominent British owners in jump racing have created a stir in the industry by choosing not to enter their horses at Cheltenham, one of the world's most renowned steeplechase venues.
According to the Racing Post, Paul and Clare Rooney wrote to their trainers, telling them not to run at Cheltenham, where six fatalities occurred at the recent Cheltenham Festival. Following the incidents, the British Horseracing Authority made 17 safety recommendations to the racecourse. In each of the last two Cheltenham Festivals, the Rooneys have lost a horse due to injury.
David Pipe, trainer of one of the horses, Starchitect, told the Racing Post: “The Rooneys were deeply upset and had their own views about Cheltenham, and that's their absolute prerogative as they buy the horses and pay the bills.”
He added: “Unfortunately, what happened to Starchitect is part of the sport, and it can happen when they're out in the fields on their holidays.”
The Racing Post said a number of prominent figures came to the defense of Cheltenham and that the racecourse has yet to have a discussion with the Rooneys.
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