Animal Aid

Animal Aid Commemorates a Decade of Death at Cheltenham Festival

Posted 8 March 2010

National animal rights group holds service and roll call of 30 Thoroughbred deaths

Date: 18 March 2010
Time: Midday
Location: The Main Entrance, Cheltenham Racecourse

Animal Aid supporters are to stage a memorial ceremony at Cheltenham Racecourse to commemorate the 30 horses who have died at the 10 annual festivals held at the course since 1999*. Bearing ‘tombstones’ with the names of the dead, activists will maintain a silent presence outside the main entrance of the course, whilst Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall, will read out a short eulogy for each horse.

Cheltenham ranks amongst the most hazardous of Britain’s 60 racecourses for several reasons. Notable among them are Cheltenham’s notorious downhill fences and hurdles that, over many decades, have killed seasoned and novice horses alike. The 2006 Festival was a particularly sickening event, which saw 11 horses perish.

Of the 30 horses who have died at Cheltenham since 1999, 15 were killed in steeplechases and 15 in hurdle races. Four of the victims were just four years old, whilst one famous horse, Dorans Pride, was a 14-year-old veteran when he suffered a fatal fall. Dorans Pride had been raced 73 times in his life, and earned his owners more than £650,000. In the run-up to the March 2003 Cheltenham Festival, he had already been raced four times that year.

The 2010 Festival coincides with the third anniversary of Animal Aid’s Race Horse Deathwatch – a unique online database that monitors all Thoroughbred deaths on Britain’s racecourses. Since its launch in March 2007, nearly 500 horses have suffered fatal injuries on British racecourses.

Says Animal Aid Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall:

‘It is truly shocking that 30 horses have been killed at the Cheltenham Festival over the last 10 meetings. The 2006 event was particularly horrific with 11 horses being killed at what is widely regarded as a punishing and dangerous course. For all the tears shed over the death of a horse, nothing ever changes because the racing industry is a ruthless, money-making business that exploits horses for profit and glory. Race horses are not treated like ‘Kings’. They are bought and sold as commodities, banged up for lengthy periods of time, transported all over the world and used for breeding in order to maintain fashionable bloodlines. Worse still, unprofitable horses or those who do not make the grade are commonly sold on in a downward spiral of neglect and many are killed in their yards or at the abattoir. The Festival is a grotesque and cruel event, designed to push race horses beyond their limits in order to line the pockets of the organisers and the bookies.’

*The 2001 meeting was suspended due to the Foot & Mouth outbreak.

More information:

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

Notes to editors:

  • Of the approximately18,000 horses bred each year by the closely related British and Irish racing industries, only around 40 per cent go on to race. Many of the ‘low quality’ newborns are destroyed, while those who do enter racing suffer a high level of fatal injuries and stress-related illnesses, such as gastric ulcers and bleeding lungs. Around 7,500 race horses leave British racing each year, yet very few go on to a sanctuary or adoptive home.
  • View our powerful 90-second web film
  • Read Animal Aid’s report on breeding and slaughter

List of all Thoroughbreds killed at the Cheltenham Festival 1999-2009

N.B. Racing did not take place at Cheltenham in 2001 due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak.

2009: Clarified – aged 7 – Chase – Injured: Destroyed

2008: Whispered Promises – aged 7 – Hurdle – Fatal Fall

2007: Swift Thyne – aged 7 – Novice Chase – Spinal Injury: Destroyed
Little Brick – aged 8 – Chase – Broke Shoulder: Destroyed

2006: Bayard – aged 4 – Novice Hurdle – Broke Neck
No Where To Hyde – aged 6 – Hurdle – Broke Leg: Destroyed
Holy Orders – aged 9 – Hurdle – Broke Hind Leg: Destroyed
Sh Boom – aged 8 – Hurdle – Injured: Died During the Night
Basilea Star – aged 9 - Novice Chase – Fatal Fall
Mr Babbage – aged 8 – Novice Chase – Broke Shoulder: Destroyed
Millenaire – aged 7 – Novice Chase – Broke Back: Destroyed
Olaso – aged 7 – Hurdle -- Broke Foreleg: Destroyed
Buck Whaley – aged 6 – Hurdle – Broke Neck
Alfred The Great – aged 4 – Novice Hurdle – Severed Tendon: Destroyed
Kalmini – aged 4 – Novice Hurdle – Injured: Destroyed

2005: Persian Waters – aged 9 – Chase – Collapsed and Died
Laska De Thaix – aged 6 – Novice Chase – Broke Foreleg: Destroyed
Great Travel – aged 6 – Chase – Fatal Fall

2004: Tardar – aged 8 – Hurdle – Fatal Fall
Atlastaboy – aged 8 – Novice Chase – Injured: Destroyed
Magic Bailiwick – aged 8 – Novice Chase – Fatal Fall

2003: Old California – aged 4 – Novice Hurdle – Fatal Fall
Dorans Pride – aged 14 – Chase – Fatal Fall
Comex Flyer – aged 6 – Hurdle – Fatal Fall

2002: Valiramix – aged 6 – Hurdle – Broke Shoulder: Destroyed
Rouble – aged 6 – Novice Hurdle – Broke Leg: Destroyed
Tapping Tam – aged 6 – Novice Chase – Injured: Destroyed

2001: Abandoned Meeting due to Foot and Mouth outbreak

2000: Gloria Victis – aged 6 – Chase – Fatal Fall

1999: Nearly An Eye – aged 8 - Chase – Fatal Fall
Glazeaway – aged 6 – Novice Hurdle – Injured: Destroyed

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