A second horse killed at the Cheltenham Festival

Posted on the 11th March 2015

Rolling Star became the second horse to die at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival when he fell heavily at the last obstacle of what was, at times, a furiously fast hurdle race on Wednesday afternoon.

It was the highly rated six-year-old’s 16th race, nine of which had been over hurdles. Rolling Star was out of contention and weakening when the fall happened, and it could be argued that he should have been pulled up. The two-mile 5 furlong Coral Cup was contested by 25 riders, who approached many of the obstacles at great speed. Two other horses fell and a third was brought down during the event.

Yesterday, eight-year-old Theatre Queen died on the Festival’s opening day, after falling in another crowded race, this time a jumps event for novice horses ridden by amateur jockeys. Theatre Queen had been reluctant to take part and the other riders had already cleared the first fence before her jockey got her going. She fell and broke her back in front of the grandstand. Nearly an hour later, her death was confirmed.

True to form, Channel 4 was keen to play down the two fatalities in its Cheltenham coverage. During its Headlines segment at the end of broadcasting today (Wednesday), it made no mention of Rolling Star’s tragic demise.

Earlier this week, Animal Aid published an analysis of deaths on British racecourses during 2014. It revealed that there was a 50 per cent chance of a horse dying at any day’s racing at the Gloucestershire venue. In all, eight horses perished there during just 16 days of racing last year, making it the most dangerous course in the country. Since March 2007, when Animal Aid launched Race Horse Deathwatch, its online database monitoring on-course fatalities, no fewer than 58 horses have died at Cheltenham.

For more information, contact Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.

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