Cheltenham Festival and Cheltenham Racecourse – in figures

  • Cheltenham holds the record for horses killed in a single day’s racing – with six fatalities on 16 March 2006.
  • A total of eleven horses died as a result of racing in the 2006 Festival.
  • In 2016, seven horses were killed during the Cheltenham Festival, making it the most lethal since 2006.
  • A total of twenty-nine horses have been killed as a result of running in the Cheltenham Festival since March 2007.
  • Forty-four more horses have died as a result of racing in other events at Cheltenham Racecourse since March 2007.
  • Cheltenham has been at or near the top of the league of Britain’s most lethal courses for at least 15 years.
  • In 2007, Animal Aid launched Race Horse Deathwatch, in order to make public all on-course race horse fatalities. We do so because the racing industry fails to publish details of horses who die as a result of racing on British racecourses.
  • In 2014, Animal Aid’s Horseracing Consultant produced a detailed analysis, entitled Why more horses die at Cheltenham than at any other British racecourse, which looked into some of the problems with Cheltenham Racecourse. The report highlighted many aspects, including crowded races, long distances to run, novice horses used in demanding events, stiff fences and challenging racing ground.
  • The report was mailed to the British Horseracing Authority, the National Trainers Federation, the Professional Jockeys Association, the Racehorse Owners Association, the Jockey Club and Cheltenham Racecourse. Not one of them even bothered to respond.


  • On 28 January 2017, Many Clouds, the 2015 Grand National winner, collapsed and died after winning a gruelling race at Cheltenham. Animal Aid warned the regulator, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), ten months ago that Many Clouds could collapse and die whilst racing. After winning the Grand National it was reported that he had physically suffered in a number of his races and needed oxygen to recover. It was a tragedy that need not have happened.
  • Animal Aid’s Cheltenham Festival microsite features reasons to boycott the Festival, as well as downloadable versions of our reports and our Cheltenham Festival satirical postcards.


Notes to Editors