Compo Claims Add Further Fuel To Jumps Debate

By: Ryan Clark
May 11th, 2011

Almost inevitably after the jumps incident at Warrnambool last week some of the spectators that were injured have launched compensation claims.

They are claiming payouts for both medical expenses and for loss of income after a runaway horse jumped a barrier and landed in the crowd.

The most serious injuries were a two-year-old who suffered a fractured collarbone and an 80-year-old woman who sustained both hip and shoulder injuries.

The lawyer representing Warrnambool, Peter Claven, said there had been a number of compensation inquires received from spectators.

“We’re assisting those people and at the moment it’s really about ensuring they can pay for any expenses they have incurred, primarily medical expenses, but also any loss of income they’ve incurred as a result of their injuries,” Claven said.

Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said he wouldn’t be drawn into commenting on the unfolding legal matter.

“People are entitled to seek legal advice on these issues,” he said.

If a case were to formally be lodged before the courts he said he would then seek professional legal advice.

The video footage associated with the incident has had blanket coverage across TV networks and once again brought the jumps racing debate back into the spotlight.

Napthine is a long time supporter of jumps racing and he said the recent events had not swayed his decision to allocate $2 million of funding to the sport.

“I have made it clear that I support jumps racing … the government supports jumps racing,” he said.

He said any decision on banning the sport was not a matter for government but rather for Racing Victoria.

It was a horror event for jumps racing when so much scrutiny and attention was already focussed on it.

In the very first race of the carnival Shine The Armour was killed, the second death at the track this season.

In the same event where the spectators were injured just two horses managed to complete the course.

The RSPCA has been vocal in their attack on jumps racing dubbing Warrnambool a killing field and leading the calls for it to be banned.

Locals fear a ban on the sport would destroy the Warrnambool carnival and cripple the livelihoods of thousands of people.

They also argue that without jumps racing giving these horses a second chance most of them would be killed anyway.

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