Mr X who is ultimately behind X Racing Ltd bred a racehorse from a well-known sire. The horse was 4 years old when it was sent to a professional pre-trainer, to be backed.
The trainer had just had his gallops resurfaced with woodchips and it was thought that our client’s horse was the first to use the new surface. Unfortunately, a nail went into his hoof. By the time the vet was called the horse was irremediably damaged and he was put down.
HorseSolicitor was instructed to act on a no-win no-fee basis.
The trainer’s duty, under the contracts (a) of bailment for reward and (b) for the supply of training services, was to take reasonable care which he did when he entrusted the resurfacing to an independent contractor. The trainer was therefore not the obvious Defendant.
The contractor that supplied the woodchips knew that the woodchips were to be used to resurface gallops, and it was reasonably foreseeable that a horse would be damaged if it ran on gallops containing nails. A metal detector was used and more nails were found in the surface.
The contractor owed owners of racehorses a duty of care in tort, and if it supplied woodchip containing nails, it must be in breach of that duty.
Initially the contractor alleged that the nails originated from vans used by the company responsible for transporting the woodchip and that it was therefore not liable.
A letter of claim was sent to the contractor setting out the allegations of negligence together with an offer of £20,000. Court proceedings were threatened if the offer was not accepted.