THE well known and highly regarded Vinnie Duffy and his family spoke today of their huge upset at the loss of Flogas Sunset Cruise at a show in France earlier this week and the resulting adverse social media reaction towards rider Kevin Thornton (28).
A statement on Duffy Sports Horses Facebook page today read:
"We are devastated by the events of yesterday. Both, the loss of our lovely horse Sunset Cruise and by the social media assassination of Kevin Thornton.
Sunset Cruise has been part of our family for the last five years. We do not condone abuse in any form ad we are cooperating fully with the investigation and the authorities. We make no further comments until the investigation is concluded. We want to thank all the people who contacted us offering condolences and support over the last 24 hours, your kind words and thoughts are very much appreciated at this difficult time."
The focus has now switched to the outcome of the veterinary post mortem on the horse, the results of which are currently awaited.
Meanwhile the FEI issued a statement last night saying: "The FEI has launched a full investigation into the death of the horse Flogas Sunset Cruise (FEI ID 103KQ92), ridden by Kevin Thornton (IRL), which occurred at the Cagnes-sur-Mer racetrack in France on Monday, October 10th. We are in direct contact with the Cagnes-sur-Mer Organising Committee, which has filed a report on the incident with the police. A post mortem is scheduled to be carried out on the horse today (Tuesday).
"The welfare of our equine athletes is our number one priority and, although this incident took place on a rest day between two international events, the FEI has rules in place that mean any horse welfare issues can be addressed, even if they happen outside the duration of an FEI event. In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we will not give any further comment at this point in time.”
Horse Sport Ireland also issued a statement yesterday expressing concern over the death of the horse. HSI is in contact with the French Equestrian Federation and the FEI over the incident.