What do you think? Is racing two-year-old horses detrimental?
“Racing two-year-old horses has no detrimental effect on their health and can even lead to them having longer careers than those started later,” new research shows.
Ahead of the Golden Slipper horse race in Sydney on Saturday, the University of Sydney has released research in response to ongoing criticisms from animal welfare groups about the running of younger animals.
Researchers followed the careers of more than 115,000 thoroughbred race horses over 10 years using more specific dates-of-birth than in previous studies. They found there was “no detrimental effect on a horse’s career if it started racing as a two-year-old,” the university’s Dr. Natasha Hamilton said in a statement on Wednesday. “The survival analysis showed the risk of retirement from racing decreased the younger the horse was when it ran its first race,” she added.
But Dr. Hamilton said it was prudent to be cautious when training young horses. She said trainers must be aware “that combining an inappropriate training regime with a genetic predisposition to injury can result in injuries that prevent the horse from continuing or beginning its racing career.”