Animal Aid

STOP PRESS: reports of third horse dead at Cheltenham Festival

Posted 12 March 2014

A four-year-old horse, inexperienced over the jumps and ridden by a young, inexperienced jockey, became the second victim of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. Akdam broke a foreleg racing in the 16.40 Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. On the Festival’s opening day (Tuesday), Our Conor suffered what turned out to be fatal spinal injuries in the Champion Hurdle race.

Akdam was running in a hotly contested, crowded race, featuring 24 horses. His ‘conditional’ jockey, Josh Hamer, was up against leading riders including, AP McCoy, Tom Scudamore and Ruby Walsh.

Akdam had been entered into 20 previous races, 11 of them hurdle events, the others on the flat or all-weather courses. In fact, he was bred to race on the flat but ended up at a very young age being put over jumps.

Says Dene Stansall, Horseracing Consultant, Animal Aid:

‘Akdam died in a race that was rough, messy and hazardous. No doubt racing’s apologists will offer yet another unconvincing excuse for why this horse suffered this violent end - at the core of which will be the usual claim that it was an unfortunate outcome that couldn’t have been avoided. Animal Aid’s recent report points to Cheltenham as being the course on which more horses die than any other in the country. Akdam’s brutal end brings to 50 the number who have perished at the Gloucestershire course since Animal Aid launched the online Deathwatch database in March 2007.’

Stop press: It is reported this evening (Wednesday) that the Festival has claimed a third victim. Five-year-old Stack The Deck was destroyed after fracturing a knee in the 17.15 Champion Bumper.

Notes to Editors

  • For further information and interviews, contact Dene Stansall or Andrew Tyler on 01732 364546
  • Read our new report

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