Animal Aid

Cheltenham 2010 - The Horse Racing Festival of Death

Posted 20 March 2010

The 2010 Cheltenham Racing Festival ended as depressingly as it began, with the taking of yet more horses' lives.

On the final day of the meeting, Izita Star and Fairyland, both 7 year-old mares, were killed.

Vets struggled for an hour to save the stricken Izita Star after her fall in the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle, only for her to succumb to her severe spinal injuries. In the afternoon's penultimate race, the chestnut mare Fairyland fell heavily in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle. Her death brought to four the total number of fatalities at the four-day meeting. This is the highest number of Festival deaths since 2006, when 11 horses perished.

Since 1999, 34 horses have lost their lives at the Cheltenham Festival.

On the first day of racing, Irish horse Casey Jones was killed and, on the second, fellow Irish horse, Citizen Vic, crashed to the ground while jumping the notoriously hazardous second last fence – an obstacle that has killed many horses in recent years and one that Animal Aid has campaigned to have removed from the Prestbury Park course.

Says Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

The fatalities seen at this year’s Festival are as distressing as ever and highlight the lethal reality of racing. We have seen tired horses beaten remorselessly with whips by jockeys in their desperate attempts to win huge sums of money and the trophies and glory that go with them. Not only have horses died in pursuit of these rewards but there has been a deliberate and cynical silence about the equine casualties from those who promote, broadcast and report the event. That horses are exploited and routinely perish at events like Cheltenham is racing’s dirty secret that Animal Aid is determined to expose to the light of public scrutiny.

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