Animal Aid

Cheltenham horse death cover up: Alfred The Great became the tenth race horse victim of the disastrous Cheltenham Racing Festival of 2006.

Posted 10 April 2006

The four year old, according to his trainer in an April 9 Racing Post report, suffered a badly severed tendon on the first day of the meeting in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Hurdle, a race that also saw the death of another young horse, Bayard.

Despite finishing the race, in last place, Alfred The Great was destroyed a week later. Yet it has taken almost three weeks after his death for the information to come to the public's notice, when confirmed by the trainer.

The Jockey Club and the Horseracing Regulatory Authority claim that they monitor every death and injury to every horse on every racecourse. With this in mind, they must have been fully aware of the death of the horse, yet in numerous public debates with Animal Aid they concealed the fact that ten horses had died, and allowed the public to believe that nine had perished at the meeting.

This lack of openness is consistent with their past record of concealing the high number of race horse deaths in British racing.

The long death of a Grand National also-ran

This year's Aintree Grand National meeting claimed two more equine lives - bringing the total to 32 since 1997 - with Terivic breaking his back at the notorious Becher's Brook fence during the John Smith's and Spar Topham Chase on the Friday of the meeting, whilst Tyneandthyneagain became the ninth victim in a decade of the Grand National race itself. Tyneandthyneagain was one of five horses to fall at the first of the 30 fences. The horse, having just his third race since coming back from an injury that kept him off the course for almost two years, continued to run alongside his companions in an effort to remain with the herd. As he ran past the stands, the roaring crowd jeered the loose horses on, in a terrifying wall of sound of screams and shouts.

Tynenandthyneagain completed around three and a half miles of the four and a half of the race, until, exhausted, running alone and in a vain to remain with the others, he smashed into the huge open ditch fence, the 27th of the 30 hazardous fences, on the course that saw just nine of the 40 runners finish. Out of sight from the Aintree crowd and the BBC Television cameras, he was destroyed, having sustained horrific injuries.

The BBC commentary team mentioned that 'he injured himself at the 11th fence', this was the brief lament to a brave but scared horse who was raced to death.

Notes to Editors

An Animal Aid study of available evidence - including 15,000 pages of race results - shows that around 375 horses are raced to death every year. Some 30% of these fatalities occur during, or immediately after a race, and result from a broken leg, back, neck or pelvis; fatal spinal injuries; exhaustion; heart attack, or burst blood vessels. The other victims perish from training injuries or are killed after being assessed by their owners as no-hopers.

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