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Michael Chapman veterans returned to trainer following York sale

Horses were inspected by RoR officials and found to be healthy

Michael Chapman: "The only reason I went was so that we could buy them back and bring them back home"
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Trainer Michael Chapman again insisted he would not allow horses to fall into the wrong hands on Friday after he bought back National Hunt veterans Feeling Peckish and Peak Seasons from a York sale.

The pair, aged 14 and 15 respectively and boasting more than 300 starts between them, were returned to Chapman for £520 and £750, with the trainer now hoping to find suitable permanent homes for them.

Concerns had been raised about their presence in such a sale but Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) officials inspected both horses and were satisfied that there was not a welfare concern.

"The only reason I went was so that we could buy them back and bring them back home, that was always the object of the exercise," Chapman explained. "It wouldn't have mattered if they had been £5,000 and £7,000, there was never any question of letting them go.

"The horses are happy to be back home and are in their stables waiting for their evening feed.

"I always ensure that when horses leave my yard, they're going to good homes, so if anybody is looking for two nice horses, they should give me a ring."

Earlier this week, Chapman explained that the reason the horses were being offered for sale was a financial dispute with the owner, adding: "If you need to take an owner to court you have to send the horses to auction to be sold to the highest bidder."

'We would have intervened'

While Feeling Peckish and Peak Seasons were thought fit to go through a sales ring, RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot urged owners not to offer their horses for sale at auctions such as the one conducted in York on Friday.

Responsibility for horse welfare lies with the individuals taking care of them but Arbuthnot insisted the RoR is available to help in cases where welfare is a concern, adding that the charity would have stepped in had Feeling Peckish and Peak Sessions been considered not to be in good health.

"The horses were inspected by an RoR representative and their body scores were considered acceptable to go through a sales ring," she said. "Had they not been, we would have intervened. Hopefully the attention given to this incident will ensure these horses go to a good home for their post racing life. 

"There are proper racehorse sales around run by Tattersalls and Goffs that are suitable places for horses to go through a ring. Market sales are not and if owners, or trainers, need help or advice when it comes to moving horses on RoR are there. They only have to call or email."

Echoing the sentiments of Arbuthnot, the BHA's Robin Mounsey outlined the systems in place to ensure thoroughbreds do not fall into the wrong hands or descend into poor health.

"Any ex-racehorses who are found to be in a poor state of health or in need of immediate attention can be assisted through the Emergency Relief for Thoroughbreds (ERT) fund," he explained. "Through the ERT, funds are made available to contribute to the costs of transport to a suitable location for immediate care and veterinary assessment, as well as general management and upkeep costs.

"Improvement of traceability of thoroughbred horses is a key part of the BHA’s overall equine strategy. A survey was recently sent to trainers as part of this process, and this will be extended to owners in due course. The sport’s duty of care to its participants extends beyond their racing career and we are determined to do all we can to ensure our former stars are given the life they deserve once their racing career is at an end.

"Owners and trainers play in important part in this, there is a responsibility there to ensure that the next step in a horse’s life is suitable and appropriate for that horse." 

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It wouldn't have mattered if they had been £5,000 and £7,000, there was never any question of letting them go

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