A RACEHORSE was put down after it crashed into a barrier having bolted from its starting stalls while still blindfolded.

The mare, Just Marion, unseated her jockey before he could uncover the horse’s eyes at Brighton Racecourse on Monday.

A probe has been launched into the incident with charity Animal Aid calling for changes.

The five-year-old, who was running in the 5.15pm race on Monday, was blindfolded to help her get into the starting gate.

It is not uncommon for nervous horses to be blindfolded to help them into the gate.

However, the horse bolted before the jockey could remove the blindfold.

She then unseated the jockey and chased the other horses towards the bend leading to the finish.

But she continued in a straight line, crashing through the side rails, resulting in multiple fractures.

The horse was taken to Arundel Equine Hospital where she was put down.

The British Horsing Association said it was “looking into all the circumstances of the incident”.

A spokesman said: “The incident at Brighton was extremely sad and our sympathies are with connections of the horse.

“The circumstances around this incident are exceptionally rare. We are, however, looking into all the circumstances surrounding the incident. As always we consider any factors which might impact the welfare of horse and rider, and where appropriate implement change in an effort to minimise a repeat of incidents.”

Animal Aid said it had raised concerns over starting stall procedures before, including in September when runner Mukaynis trapped its leg in the gates at Doncaster Racecourse. That horse also had to be put down because the bone was shattered.

Dene Stansall, from Animal Aid, accused the The British Horseracing Authority of not taking action having been made aware of the issue.

In a statement Brighton Racecourse added: “We will review the course layout with the BHA’s racecourse inspectors to see if any changes are required.”