Animal Aid

'Safer' Grand National course kills a second horse

Posted 5 April 2013

The Grand National course, on which Battlefront died yesterday, saw another fatality today when 11-year-old Little Josh broke a shoulder in the 3.40 Topham chase.

Five other horses fell in the two-and-three quarter mile race and just 19 of the 29 runners finished. Little Josh came to grief at the 15th of 18 fences.

The Channel 4 commentary team was notably upbeat in the early stages of the race, while most of the horses appeared to be coping with the enormously challenging fences. But as the race became competitive and many of the horses began to tire, there was a high rate of attrition.

Little Josh was being ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, who was back in the saddle minutes later on Master Of The Sea for a 4.15 hurdle race.

Little Josh had been entered into 24 races since 2006, 18 of them chase events. He had been out of racing for a year before returning in January 2012. Though he won a race in December on the same Grand National course, during his last three outings he had fallen, been pulled up and finished eighth out of ten runners.

The obstacle where he sustained his fatal injuries was a huge ditch fence – one of the biggest on the National course. It was here that Synchronised broke his leg in last year’s Grand National and was destroyed, after he had fallen earlier at Becher’s Brook.

Little Josh’s death brings to 24 the number of horses who have died racing on the Grand National course since 2000 – 11 of them in the big race itself.

Says Dene Stansall, Animal Aid’s Horseracing Consultant:

‘Little Josh was a popular horse with race-goers and if they are not sickened by his death then it demonstrates there is very little heart in racing. The course operators and racing’s regulator now face a growing crisis of confidence as the public starts to fully acknowledge the brutal and lethal nature of the three-day Grand National meeting.’

For further information

Contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.

Notes

In a national poll conducted by ITV’s This Morning (5 April 2013), 62% of respondents agreed that the Grand National should be banned.

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