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Jockey DK Ashish no more

The fall that jockey DK Ashish had during the Calcutta Oaks on Saturday finally proved fatal, and the young boy breathed his last, with the help of ventilator support, 55 minutes after midnight on Sunday.

It is natural for the racing fans, who are extremely emotional as a community, to grieve over the tragedy.

But the  administrators of race clubs in the country need to go beyond just saying, "RIP Ashish,", and find out why such a fall should result in a skull fracture, and must take steps to do a safety audit of complete riding gear, with special focus on the helmet.

It is also reported in a news item that Ashish said to a fellow rider moments before the race that there was something wrong with his mount.

The Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) stewards must institute an immediate inquiry to verify if this is true, and if it is, should investigate the matter fully to find out if the said horse was really race-fit, or had any issues.

If the news item about Ashish's apprehensions about the filly, Bold As Brass, is true, it is time the think tank of Indian racing administrators must brainstorm and devise a mechanism to ensure that sick, unfit and problematic horses are filtered out at the acceptances stage itself, and are not allowed to jeopardize the limb and life of our riders.

Until that happens, the phrase 'Rest in peace' will only remain a lip service.

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