Hove have cancelled racing for the next three Saturdays.

New stadiums controller Ian Smyth said: “We are doing so on welfare grounds due to a shortage of runners. We are already under pressure with a low kennel strength, a large number of bitches are in season, as happens at this time of the year, and of course we have had the situation with Claude Gardiner.

“It is very sad that he lost a dog through illness. We are awaiting the post mortem, though the provisional diagnosis suggests that it is that it is a case of pneumonia. The other two dogs affected are apparently showing signs of recovery, and hopefully we are over the worst.

“The best solution seemed to be to cancel the three Saturdays and compensate anybody who has booked. I am aware that we have had too many five-dog races recently, and I am working on long term solutions to increase our kennel strength. In the meantime, this should buy us some breathing space.”

The track are expected to announce the appointment of a new trainer in the near future.