Animal Aid

Aintree 2007 Claims its Second Victim

Posted 13 April 2007

The 2007 Grand national meeting claimed the life of a second horse today (Friday) when Lord Rodney died in the two-and-three-quarter mile John Smith’s Topham Chase. He was one of five fallers at the Chair – the most punishing obstacle on the Grand National course, which stands 5ft 2inches high and is fronted by a large ditch. Only 15 of the 29 horses finished the race. Another faller, Patman Du Charmil, is fighting for his life.

Lord Rodney was eight years old and had been entered into just nine previous chase events. He was being ridden by an amateur jockey. His death follows that of Into The Shadows, who suffered an internal haemorrhage on the opening day of the three-day meeting, after completing a two-and-a-half mile hurdle event.

There have now been 34 equine fatalities at the Aintree event since 1997, nine of which have occurred in the Grand National itself.

Aintree, Britain’s second deadliest racecourse after Cheltenham, is due to stage the perversely difficult Grand National this Saturday. Covering a distance of four miles and 856 yards, horses are required to jump 30 obstacles – some of which include perilous drops, ditches and sharp turns. Forty horses usually take part – an excessively crowded field, which adds to the risk of collisions and falls.

Lord Rodney’s death is the seventeenth fatality on British racecourses in just 28 days. Last week, Animal Aid launched Race Horse DeathWatch, a web–based initiative that will make public every on–course Thoroughbred fatality. Among the recent victims are three Grand National favourites, Little Brick, Nil Desperandum and Far From Trouble.

Says Andrew Tyler, Director of Animal Aid:

‘The death of Lord Rodney means that the Grand National three-day meeting has now killed 34 horses in a decade. These are young horses who perished because their welfare was of little interest to a racing industry whose only concern is winning, and the glory and the money that goes with it. We urge the public to register their feelings by refusing to bankroll, with their betting money, Saturday’s Grand National. The big race is an obscene animal-abusing spectacle that should go the way of cock fighting and bear baiting.’

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