DUBLIN trainer James McAuley is ‘still in shock’ after a ‘nightmare’ event on Tuesday afternoon which saw 17 of his horses break loose from a paddock before galloping down the road at speed, some up to eight kilometers.
17 returned to McAuley’s yard in the Naul after being arrested by locals, but two were shot on humanitarian grounds after a veterinary inspection showed they had suffered ‘bad cuts which severed tendons during the harrowing experience.
Chilling dash cam footage has circulated on social media over the past 24 hours showing the horses – all wearing blankets after morning exercise – galloping dangerously against oncoming traffic.
McAuley, who was saddled a winner at Gowran Park at the same time, was shaken by the incident but told the Irish Independent that there were no collisions with people or damage to vehicles.
“I can’t understand how many people have gone this far and never met anyone. I was devastated leaving Gowran but when I saw the video I feared the worst. Imagine having to hit at someone’s door and try to apologize,” a shocked McAuley said.
“They were going at incredible speed, just fresh and running with the herd. Some galloped for seven or eight miles and ended up in Garristown. How they ventured that distance and didn’t meet anyone I will never know.
“Two were shot on humanitarian grounds after suffering bad cuts which severed tendons. One would imagine something would have met a catastrophic injury on the road, but they all came back. It’s bad but it could have be much worse.”
McAuley is still unsure what ‘scared’ them enough to force their way through a door and reported that the other 15 horses had thankfully just returned with ‘nicks and cuts’.
“Something must have scared them. Some of these horses have been here for two years and in the same paddock and there’s never been a problem with them. It only takes one to knock on a door and they all follow It was a scary thing to watch,” McAuley said.