TWO horses were killed in unrelated incidents during the same race as Hereford Racecourse hosted its first meeting of 2019.

Six-year-old mare, Georgina Joy, and seven-year-old gelding, Black Jack Jaxon, were both competing in the 1.20pm Handicap Chase on Wednesday afternoon.

Favourite Georgina Joy, who had won at the course in November, was leading the race before hitting the second fence and was fatally injured.

Also in the same race Black Jack Jaxon, who had also run at Hereford in November, also hit the second fence and despite initially carrying on the horse was also fatally injured.

A statement from Hereford Racecourse said: “Animal welfare is a high priority at Hereford Racecourse, where we make sure the high standards of equine care set by the British Horseracing Authority are met, which are well in excess of prescribed legislation.

"The two unrelated incidents at yesterday’s meetings were incredibly unfortunate, and our sincere condolences are with everyone connected with Georgina Joy and Black Jack Jaxon.

"British Racing is clear about the inherent risk involved in our sport, and whilst this can never be eradicated entirely, we make sure that all steps are taken to reduce the levels of risk as much as possible and promote safety both equine and human, which we will constantly continue to do at Hereford Racecourse.

"This approach has contributed to the level of risk in the sport reducing by one third in the last 20 years."