Cheltenham Festival and Cheltenham Racecourse – in figures

  • The 2018 Cheltenham Festival claimed the lives of seven horses.
  • Four horse perished at the 2017 meeting and seven in 2016.
  • A total of 40 horses have been killed as a result of racing at the Cheltenham Festival since March 2007.
  • The Cheltenham Festival holds the record for horses killed in a single day’s racing – with six fatalities on 16 March 2006. In all, eleven horses died there over the four-day meet that year.
  • In addition to the Festival deaths, 56 horses have died as a result of racing in other events at the racecourse since March 2007 – bringing the total number of horse deaths since that date to 96.
  • Cheltenham has been at or near the top of the league of Britain’s most lethal courses for at least 17 years.
  • In 2007, Animal Aid launched Race Horse Deathwatch, in order to make public all on-course race horse fatalities.
  • Animal Aid’s 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 2014 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 the associated groups gave a response – and deaths have continued at an alarming rate. 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. There were no responses.
  • On 28 January 2017, Many Clouds, collapsed and died after winning a gruelling race at Cheltenham. Ten months earlier, Animal Aid had warned the regulator, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), that Many Clouds could collapse with fatal consequences if he continued to race. It had been widely reported that the 2015 Grand National winner suffered physically during his races and needed oxygen to recover. Therefore, in Animal Aid’s view, the welfare of the horse should have been a priority and he should have been retired. Sadly, he was forced to compete in lucrative and challenging events, and ultimately, paid the price with his life. It was a tragedy that need not have happened.

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