Three days of racing at Cheltenham Racecourse (17-19 November 2017) left four horses dead and the state of the course was criticised by a top jockey.
On the first day of racing two horses were killed: four-year-old Counter Shy was pulled up badly lame in a hurdle race and later destroyed, whilst nine-year-old gelding Need To Know slipped badly on the landing side of a banked area of the Cross-Country Course. His back end was seen going to the ground, snapping his near-hind leg.
In the last race on Saturday, as the racing ground deteriorated, five-year-old mare, Glenmona, lost her action, stumbled and fell in the back straight of a flat race, which resulted in her death.
On the third and final day of racing, six-year-old London Prize took an horrific fall at a downhill hurdle, landing on and cork-screwing his neck, then lying motionless until vets arrived on the scene to destroy the young horse. London Prize had already won his owner over £137,000 in 2017 alone, and was having his third testing race in just 37 days.
Leading jockey Brian Hughes, who rode two horses at Cheltenham on the final day’s racing, criticised Cheltenham racecourse publicly on ITV stating: “The track should be ashamed of themselves… That’s horrendous ground.” Another jockey, Stan Sheppard, described the racing ground as like “…galloping through PVA glue.”
In total, 11 horses have been killed at Cheltenham this year, in addition to the ten in 2016. Animal Aid is taking action and asking questions of those responsible for this horrendous animal abuse.
Says Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall:
‘After unwatchable scenes of horses falling and breaking down injured, and four young, innocent horses dead at the end of three days’ racing, questions must be answered and people held responsible for this blatant animal abuse.
‘The British Horseracing Authority and Jockey Club Racecourses can no longer excuse the deaths of horses as ‘accidents’ or hide behind weak and pathetic statistics as they usually do. Animal Aid will push to get this course closed down as it is a danger to any horse racing there.’