A racehorse set to become a racing rarity by competing without a whip has been tragically killed on the way to the races.
Otago trainer Nora Bishop was left stunned today when she lost her favourite harness horse Hudson Sully in a motor accident near Moeraki.
Bishop was transporting four of her racehorses to tonight's Addington meeting when she ran off the road and is still unaware how the accident happened.
"I don't know what went wrong and I am all right, but I lost my favourite horse," says the small time trainer.
The horse killed in the accident was nine-year-old battler Hudson Sully, who would have been having his 153rd start at Addington tonight.
He was never going to be a star but had won seven races and over $50,000.
But he was to have undergone a rare trial tonight, Bishop planning to race him without his driver having a whip.
And if Hudson Sully had performed to his usual level, Bishop was considering racing all of her horses in future without whips.
While the trainers of horses applying to race them without a whip is not unheard of it is rare and had Hudson Sully performed well tonight then Bishop's stable could have been an interesting test case at a time when whips in racing look certain to come under more scrutiny.
"Ideally, if I knew they would race as well and try as hard, I'd like to race my horses without whips and Sully was the one I wanted to start that with because he tried so hard." Another of Bishop's horses was hurt but not seriously in the accident and Bishop continued on to Addington to race two more members of her team.
"But we are in shock. It has been a horrible day."