Animal rights activists have demanded Royal Turf Club to disclose whether the champion race horse Charlatan who fell and broke his leg at the concluded races in Nuwara Eliya on the 30th of April 2016 is alive or killed.
The champion thoroughbred fell during his last race for the season and was transported to the stables thereafter.
The following day the Royal Turf Club officially posted a comment on its Facebook page stating that the champion horse will be treated and used as a ceremonial mascot.
The full comment read ” “The final race meet for the spring season finished with great success with the patronage of the governor his Excellency Niluka Ekanayake, the central province MP for Nuwara Eliya and president of CWC Mr. Arumugam Thondaman and his worship the Mayor Mahinda Dodampegamage. Some tense moments were experienced when charlatan the champion of the hills who never lost a race for the past 3 years was nipped by the hind hoofs of the horse in front fell on the tracks. Charlatan is now back in the stables ably cared for by the veterinary team from Peradeniya and Dr. Mahesh from Bangalore. Another specialist team will be arriving from India at 5am Monday morning to take care of him. Charlatan will become the ceremonial lead horse for RTC after he is fully cured. All are welcome to visit him and offer him their support. Those who have made negative comments kindly note that RTC is a proper professional racing club with animal protection rules. Putting horses down just because of an injury is a suggestion that comes from twisted minds. RTC is here to protect animals and not to kill them. Horses are athletes. They should be treated with the respect any athlete deserves. There are many safety regulations that have been brought after RTC took over. But sometimes accidents do happen as in any sport. RTC has installed methods and rules of how these incidents are handled so that horses can come back and play a big role”.
A week has now passed by and the Royal Turf Club has been silent with no official statement made to the media about the champion horse.
However a source close to the Edwards Stables in Nuwara Eliya owned by Rienzie Edwards a committee member himself of the Royal Turf Club said ” the day after the races an Asiri Hospital ambulance arrived with a guy called Bernard transporting a portable scanner to check on the injury of the horse. The report was not favorable and if it was another country they would have put down the horse immediately. However the veterinary surgeons from both Sri Lankan and India treated the horse and somewhere in the afternoon on the 1st of May 2016 the horse died. I think they gave the horse an injection to die but I am not sure.The horse was fine until they gave him the injection. However later in the night the dead horse was transported in a lorry that was driven into the stables. It was a good camouflaged job they did and not many people knew what really happened. Rienzie Edwards has a plantation in Kurunegala and that is there where they said they were taking the carcass of Charlatan to”.
Speaking to Colombo Telegraph the Convener, Animal Welfare Coalition Vositha Wijenayake said “many see horse racing as an activity for their entertainment, many horses suffer in its process. The incident reported on the horse is an example of the cruelty of horse races. The RTC needs to inform the public of the horse in question so as to set aside doubts created about the horse’s safety.”
Horse racing rose to an unprecedented height this year after a lapse of over 35 years. The series of races held commencing on the 20th of March 2016 and continuing on the 10th, 16th, 23rd and 30th of April 2016 was held in a lavish manner with over tens of millions of rupees being spent. Government Ministers, a Mayor, a Governor, special guests, horse owners, trainers and jockeys reveled in its pretentious euphoric madness.
It was during the late Upali Wijewardena’s era and after the United National Party came into power in 1977 did the ban on the importation of thoroughbreds and racing be revived in the country.
However with Upali Wijewardena’s disappearance racing came to a stand still. It gathered momentum once again in 1993 and in the year 2010 the Sugathadasa Sports Complex Authority took over the premises as the rightful owners and leased the race track, stables and grand stand to the Sri Lanka Turf Club.
However with a dispute ensuing in 2014 over the doping of horses, a case was filed where it currently sits in the Attorney Generals office.
In 2015 the Sugathadasa Sports Complex Authority then leased the premises to the newly formed Royal Turf Club for a period of two years.
Meanwhile what is intriguing is that even the CEO appointed by the Royal Turf Club Australian Wayne Wood has also had his hands tainted regarding horse race fixing dating way back to the late 80’s. The ‘Racing and Post’ highlights an incident where Woods then a steward and former jockey himself failed to report a race held in Western Australia when a jockey jumped off his horse to have the result fixed. At the inquiry when questioned if he had made an error in judgement he said “Yes I agree. I was young and inexperienced”
Meanwhile several attempts to contact Royal Turf Club’s CEO Wayne Wood for a comment regarding the horse Charlatan proved futile, as he did not answer his mobile phone.