Animal Aid

20 horses raced by champion jockey die in 5 years

Posted 28 May 2012

When champion jockey A P McCoy issued a statement of regret over the death, during April’s Grand National, of his mount Synchronised, the public probably assumed that such depressing outcomes are a rarity for the likes of McCoy. In fact, data compiled by Animal Aid reveal that a staggering 20 horses ridden by the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year have died during or soon after races since March 2007. His attrition rate works out at one equine death for every 199 rides.

The ratio of deaths to rides for other leading jockeys has also been calculated by Animal Aid. Seventeen horses ridden by Richard Johnson have died during the same period, working out at one death for every 236 rides; while Tom Scudamore has seen 16 deaths – one for every 167 rides.

The Animal Aid revelations were the subject of a powerful article in yesterday’s Sunday Times (May 27), written by the newspaper’s Science and Environment Editor, Jonathan Leake. The issue later received prominent coverage on the Daily Mail’s website.

Says Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

‘Most people would be shocked that so many horses die during or after being raced by these top jockeys. Yet we rarely hear them publicly lament the deaths. The fatalities pile up with respect to the top jockeys because they have lots of rides, but this kind of attrition rate is typical for jump racing as a whole.

‘For the horses concerned it is an inherently lethal activity, and it is no wonder the industry wants to keep the truth from the public. When people bet on horses or pay racecourse attendance fees, this is what they are buying into. Routine horse deaths and suffering are part of the package. It is an industry, in our view, that doesn't warrant public support.’

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