By Nicholas Godfrey
Japan: Four racehorses have been killed in a stable fire at the Japan Racing Association’s primary training centre, Ritto.
According to Japanese reports, ten fire engines attended the incident, which was discovered at about 5.40pm in the stable of trainer Akira Murayama, best known for the multiple G1-winning dirt performer Copano Rickey.
The Murayama stables were reportedly “burned down” and the fire spread to two neighbouring buildings before it was extinguished at about 8.25pm.
Tragically, the fire claimed the lives of four horses, including two, Aoi Hope and Miracle Univance, who were due to run at Kokura on Sunday. One fireman and two volunteers suffered burns.
Located in Shiga Prefecture, Ritto training centre has room for more than 2,000 horses. Murayama also trains Copano Kicking, who won G3 races last year with both Oisin Murphy and Nanako Fujita, the JRA’s sole female jockey.
Although investigations into the fire are continuing, initial reports suggested it had its origins in an air-conditioning unit at the Murayama stable.
• More about Japanese racing and breeding at the JRA website