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Vincent Finegan

Vincent Finegan

Martin Wasylocha talks about the Panorama Programme

Mon 26th Jul 2021, 15:12

Twenty four-year-old Pasghetti Hoops and twenty-year-old Hearthstead Dream

Racehorse owner and breeder Martin Wasylocha who's High Expectations was one of the racehorses featured in last week's BBC Panorama documentary entitled 'The Dark Side of Horse Racing' has spoken for the first time about the programme.

Wasylocha, whose red and white hooped silks are regularly seen on racecourses both here and in the UK and owned 2018 Cheltenham Festival winner Veneer Of Charm said: "I was the owner and also the breeder of High Expectations. He was a wonderful horse and provided me and my family with many fantastic days. I have been horrified with how my horse has been showcased in recent days, in the Panorama programme and then in subsequent press coverage."

"There is an obvious inference that I as the owner basically didn't care about the horse once his career finished. I find this extremely upsetting and unfair."

"From my point of view the facts are that the horse had a career ending injury at Bellewstown in 2019. I had an agreement with Gordon Elliott for the horse to see out his days on his farm at Cullentra. In early January 2020 Gordon called me and advised that the horse had further aggravated the injury and after veterinary advice, he advised me that in order to stop the horse from suffering he should be euthanised. I agreed and took it as the end of the matter. Perhaps I have culpability in not following up, but I just took it that it would be handled properly."

"When I saw the Panorama programme, I was shocked, angry and horrified that my horse could end up in an abattoir in the UK."

"I am of the opinion that the traceability of the horses currently employed is completely unfit for purpose. I don't understand why there is not a system in place for an annual return of horses which, when necessary, should be accompanied by a death certificate."

"I am enclosing a current picture of two of my horses, Pasghetti Hoops (foaled 1997, my first racehorse) and Hearthstead Dream (2001) both of which I still own and who are currently enjoying their retirement at my expense on a farm in Co. Meath. For the record, Pasghetti Hoops had career earnings of €525 and I estimate that between training, keep fees and other expenses that I have spent in excess of €200,000 on her over the years."

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