Animal Aid

Five Horses Killed at 2009 Grand National Meeting

Posted 4 April 2009

The 2009 Grand National meeting claimed its fifth victim today (April 4) when Hear The Echo collapsed and died at the end of Saturday’s big race. Not since 1997 – when six horses perished – have more horses been killed at the three-day Aintree meeting.

Just 17 of the 40 Thoroughbreds entered into the four-and-a-half mile Grand National finished the race. Hear The Echo collapsed in the run-in and, despite oxygen being administered, he died. Butler’s Cabin also collapsed and required oxygen. At several other races he has had to be revived in this way.

Hear The Echo was just 8-years-old and was having his first race in Britain. His other 22 events were in Ireland.

The three-day meeting got off to a predictably grim start on Thursday, with two deaths and at least two near misses. One of the casualties was the highly-rated Exotic Dancer. The other was Mel In Blue – a horse with a track record at the other end of the ratings scale. Exotic Dancer finished second in his race but, soon after, suffered a fatal heart attack. Mel In Blue was riding in the Foxhunters’ Chase, run over the Grand National course, when he broke his neck after falling at the supposedly much safer Becher’s Brook,

Two more horses were killed the following day (Friday). Moscow Catch died after a heavy fall that appeared to break his neck, and Lilla Sophia, who was four-years-old and had raced only three times before, was destroyed after breaking a leg.

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:

‘Racing industry figures repeatedly claim that Aintree is not the threat to horses' lives that it was even in recent years, and yet deaths at the meeting continue to be routine. Last year, three perished, while the carnage this year exceeds anything seen at Aintree since 1997. The Grand National is appallingly cruel and deliberately so. It degrades all those responsible for staging and promoting it. The fatalities that so routinely occur are not accidents, they are entirely predictable, even though the racing industry tries to look the other way and plead innocence.’

More information:

  • For full background and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546
  • ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.
  • Images are available on request.

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