Racing: Four horses killed by fire at Old's yard

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The Independent Online
Four horses died as a result of a fire yesterday at the Wiltshire stables of the trainer Jim Old, who won the Champion Hurdle with Collier Bay at Cheltenham in March. The blaze broke out at a barn in the early hours of yesterday morning at Upper Herdswick Farm.

Forty horses were in the barn when the fire started. It was spotted by a neighbour who freed the animals and called the emergency services, police said.

But two horses, trapped by the smoke and flames, died from their injuries inside and two more that did manage to escape had to be put down later.

Four fire engines and 29 firefighters took several hours to bring the blaze under control. An investigation into its cause is under way. A police spokeswoman said: "It is still too early to say if foul play was involved. It is still very hot and damping down is going on."

Meanwhile, stable staff were beginning the long process of clearing up. It is thought the horses that died were four of Old's younger horses but they had not been named last night.

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