Grand National horror: Nearly 30 horses dead in race-related tragedies since 2010

Grand National 2022: All You Need To Know

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Today, 40 of the world’s best horses will once again line up for the Grand National at Aintree, hoping to claim victory and with it a position in this country’s sporting history books. Last year’s event was held behind closed doors a year after the racing calendar was decimated, and more than 150,000 people are expected to turn out across the three-day spectacle. Around 10,000 of those tickets will be offered up to NHS workers, who fought valiantly during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic — and continue to do so today — to keep Britons alive and healthy.

This year has already thrown up a series of exciting races, including in the Betway Bowl, which was won by Clan Des Obeaux, a race horse part-owned by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

But a new study by animal rights group PETA notes how in the past ten races 29 of the horses that have taken part in the four mile event sadly passed away.

In a piece written for the Norfolk-based charity by Chelsea Monroe, it noted these horses “died during or because of the race”, branding it a “national disgrace”.

Last month, Ms Monroe wrote: “Horses used for racing often die of fatal injuries such as broken backs or are killed after sustaining broken legs.

“At Becher’s Brook, aptly nicknamed the ‘killer fence’, horses have slammed face-first into the ground and collided with each other, breaking necks, backs, and legs.

“Horses who survive end the race exhausted and often injured.”

Becher’s Brook is a fence that is jumped twice during the race, and following the deaths of Dark Ivy and Seeandem, in 1987 and 1989 respectively, organisers at Aintree ensured the fence was modified to make it safer for the animals.

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Reports show that as a result of the deaths of Ornais and Dooneys Gate, both who died during the 2011 edition of the race at the fence, further changes were made.

On Thursday, the horses set to compete in the race were announced, including the likes of Eclair Surf, many tipsters’ favourite to win the event, and Fortescue.

They replaced Caribbean Boy, trained by Nicky Henderson, who pulled a hamstring, as well as last year’s fifth-placed finisher Farclas.

Last year, Rachael Blackmore became the event’s first female jockey to win, and will take part again on the winner Minella Times.

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In the previous 171 editions of the race, only a man had won.

Reflecting on her win Blackmore said: “It’s just incredible, the Grand National is so massive and I can’t believe it, it’s phenomenal, I’m speechless.

“I never imagined even getting a ride in this race, letting alone be standing here looking at this trophy.

“This race captures the imagination of every young person with a pony.

“I don’t feel male or female right now. I don’t even feel human.” contacted Aintree for comment but did not receive a response.

Coverage of the race begins at 2pm on ITV today.
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