Saturday 25 August 2012
FIVE racehorses have been killed in a stable fire at Leeton Racecourse this morning.
The blaze, which broke out about 4am today, destroyed a block of 10 stables.
A Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman said worried owners had gathered at the racecourse to see if their horses were among the dead in the burnt-out stables.
"There are a number of horse owners that heard about the fire and they arrived at the showgrounds obviously worried about their livestock," he said.
Harness Racing NSW said trainer Phil Maguire lost three horses, while local trainer Wal John Kefford lost two horses.
"It's just a tragic set of circumstances and I feel incredibly sorry for those affected," said Harness Racing NSW chief executive Sam Nati.
Leeton Harness Racing Club president Gary Punch said the cause of the fire was a mystery.
"It's a bit mystifying; I think they're worried as to whether or not any malpractice has been involved by anybody," he told ABC Radio.
Veterinarian Brian Munro was one of two called to the complex about 6am to tend to the survivors. Three of the animals suffered burns and at least one will be taken to Charles Sturt University to check for smoke inhalation.
"Burns assessments in animals are always difficult but they are likely to survive," Dr Munro said.
He said the horses would probably race again but "not in the immediate future".
"Standardbreds are remarkably stoic. If it were thoroughbreds it might be a different story," Dr Munro said.
Two horses escaped the fire unhurt.
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