‘He is fine’: Racehorse condemned to death found alive
Racehorse Reliable Kingdom is not dead in a pet food factory but alive and well in a paddock two hours north west of Sydney.
Distressing ABC footage aired last week reported that the five-year-old gelding was among nine horses sold through Camden Horse Sales and condemned to death at Burns Pet Foods.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal Reliable Kingdom was bought back by its former owners when they realised his fate and he is fit and well.
Racehorse syndicator David Mourad said: "We have got him in the paddock … and he is fine."
Mr Mourad from Import Racing bought and syndicated the horse. When it became clear a bad back meant he could not race Reliable Kingdom was rehomed through Mr Mourad's trainer.
"After I saw the ABC story I was very distressed and contacted our trainer to find out who had rehomed him," Mr Mourad said.
"The couple who had him were retraining him as a riding horse but that did not work out. Eventually they sold him as a riding horse at Camden Sale.
"When they found out he was going to Burns Pet Foods the man's wife was upset and they went and bought him back."
Mr Mourad contacted them this week to buy the horse back and yesterday shipped Reliable Kingdom home to Cavallo Park Stud at Putty. Stud manager Cate Lavender said Reliable Kingdom remembered her immediately.
"He is definitely himself, still full of character and he came straight up to give me a cuddle," she said.
She also cross-checked his microchip details at the Hawkesbury vet to give official proof Reliable Kingdom is alive.
"We just love him here and won't be letting him out of our sight again," she said.
The ABC never reported Reliable Kingdom had been slaughtered, only that he had been sold through Camden Horse Sales and sent to Burns Pet Foods. His subsequent rescue was unknown until this week.
"This movement of a racehorse in NSW - sold at an unapproved livestock auction and ending up at a knackery - are two breaches of Racing NSW's Rules of Racing," an ABC spokeswoman said.
"The ABC would like more information on how and why he ended up at a livestock auction and a knackery."
The ABC yesterday reported a thoroughbred sold at Camden was slaughtered and Racing NSW was contacted in advance. No action was taken because an error indicated the purchaser was in Victoria.