No Horse Whisperer Says Weir of RV Head Vet Forbes

Weir was upset that Racing Victoria chief veterinarian Dr. Grace Forbes scratched his three-year-old filly Limestone from the Hoppegarten Racing Trophy at Saturday’s Flemington meeting.

Forbes’ diagnosis of Limestone was that the filly was lame in the off fore and near hind legs.

Weir did not view that assessment favourably, telling chairman of stewards for Saturday’s meeting Robert Cram in the stewards’ room, “I think Grace (Forbes) is battling a bit” (at her job) and “this is going to get ugly.”

As if it is not hard enough to be a doctor to humans, imagine what it must be like to minister medicine to animals that cannot talk.

Weir, on the other hand, suffered no shortage of words, saying, “She’s telling us the horse is lame, but I know the horse. This horse has had a bad gait since she was a two-year-old, her action has never changed.“She (Dr. Forbes) is not listening.What do I do now – retire this horse?”

It is impossible to say with complete certainty what are the mindsets of Forbes and Weir with regard to equine welfare. From a distant perspective, Forbes, like every doctor since Hippocrates, would prefer to err on the side of caution. Weir, also, would seem to share that mindset from the standpoint of not wanting to risk his reputation by fielding a damaged horse in a race of any classification.

The issue with Limestone first surfaced after vets declared Limestone lame after a run at Moonee Valley in mid-February in a 1000 m BM 76 race.

The Hawkes triumvirate had a run-in of its own with Dr. Forbes during the spring last year, when she ordered the scratching of Chautauqua before the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.

In that instance, Forbes may have been prescient, as on that occasion, the Grey Flash was caught in the barriers. This autumn campaign, he has refused to leave the barrier on three occasions, almost as though he were trying to tell us something, if only we would listen.

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