List of equine fatalities in the Grand National

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Modern steeplechase races have an average of just over 4 equine fatalities for every 1,000 horses taking part, according to the British Horseracing Authority.[1] However, the Grand National, a popular steeplechase held annually in England, yielded 7 fatalities out of 439 horses taking part between 2000 and 2010.[2][3]

The Grand National is a National Hunt handicap race over a distance of 4 miles 3½ furlongs and over 30 fences at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool. The high number of equine deaths in the race has made it a target for animal rights activists. While course officials have repeatedly taken safety measures over the years, such as improving veterinary facilities and reducing the severity of fences,[4] some have campaigned for further modifications or the abolition of the event that was inaugurated in 1839.[5]

After the 1989 Grand National, in which two horses died in incidents at Becher's Brook (the sixth and 22nd fence on the course), Aintree begun making significant changes to the fences that are jumped during the National. The brook on the landing-side of Becher's was filled in to prevent horses rolling back into it, and the incline on the landing-side has been mostly levelled out, whilst retaining a drop to slow the runners. Other fences have been reduced in height, toe-boards have been made taller, and the entry requirements for participating horses have been made stricter, such as the requirement for runners to have been placed fourth or better in a previous recognised steeplechase over a distance of at least three miles.

Some within the horseracing community, including some with notable achievements in the Grand National, such as Ginger McCain and Bob Champion,[6][7][8] have argued that the lowering of fences and the narrowing of ditches, primarily designed to increase horse safety, has had the adverse effect by encouraging the runners to race faster. During the 1970s and 1980s the Grand National saw a total of 12 horses die (half of which were at Becher's Brook); in the next 20-year period from 1990 to 2010, when modifications to the course were most significant, there were 17 equine fatalities.

List of fatalities[edit]

The animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports counts the number of horse deaths at 40 over the three day meet from the year 2000 to 2013.[9] However the following list details the equine fatalities during, or as a direct result of participating in, the Grand National, that is, the showpiece steeplechase itself rather than all the various races held over the entire three-day "Grand National meeting" (which includes two other races over one circuit of the National course: the Fox Hunters for amateur jockeys and the Topham for professional jockeys). It includes, where applicable and where known, the fence at which the fatality occurred.[10]

Year Horse Fence # Fate Going Ran Note Source
2012 Synchronised While running riderless Fell Good 40 Fell at Becher's Brook but continued running riderless until the 11th fence where he fractured his right-hind tibia and fibula and had to be euthanised. [11]
2012 According to Pete (6 &) 22 Brought down Good 40 Fractured his left-fore humerus and had to be euthanised. [11][12]
2011 Ornais 4 (& 20) Fell Good 40 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [13]
2011 Dooneys Gate 6 (& 22) Fell Good 40 Fractured his thoracolumbar upon falling and had to be euthanised. [13]
2009 Hear The Echo While running Collapsed Good-soft 40 Collapsed on the run-in and died. [14]
2008 McKelvey While running riderless Collided with barrier Good 40 Unseated rider at 20th fence and continued running riderless until he collided with railings, was unable to regain his feet due to injuries, and had to be euthanised. [15]
2007 Graphic Approach While running riderless Collapsed Good 40 Fell at Becher's Brook but continued running riderless before collapsing with concussion; he was euthanised several days later. [16]
2006 Tyneandthyneagain 1 (& 17) Fell Good-soft 40 Continued running riderless until falling later, was diagnosed with a spinal injury and had to be euthanised. [17]
2003 Goguenard (3 &) 19 Brought down Good 40 Injured in a mêlée by another falling horse and had to be euthanised. [18]
2002 The Last Fling (8 &) 24 Fell Good 40 Broke his back upon falling and died. [19]
2002 Manx Magic (4 &) 20 Fell Good 40 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [19]
1999 Eudipe (6 &) 22 Fell Good 32 Broke his back upon falling and had to be euthanised. [20]
1998 Pashto 1 (& 17) Fell Heavy 37 Collapsed after falling and had to be euthanised. [21]
1998 Do Rightly 4 (& 20) Fell Heavy 37 Suffered a heart attack whilst jumping the fence. [21]
1998 Griffins Bar Whilst running Injured and fell Heavy 37 incurred a shoulder fracture after jumping the fifth fence and fell. Later had to be euthanised. [21]
1997 Straight Talk 14 (& 30) Fell Good 36 Incurred a leg fracture upon falling and had to be euthanised. [22]
1997 Smith's Band (4 &) 20 Fell Good 36 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [22]
1996 Rust Never Sleeps While running Pulled up Good 27 Pulled up lame before the 13th fence, diagnosed with a broken shoulder and euthanised. [23]
1991 Ballyhane After finishing Collapsed Good-soft 40 Suffered a haemorrhage after completing the race and died. [24]
1990 Roll-A-Joint 8 (& 24) Fell Firm 38 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [25]
1990 Hungary Hur While running Pulled up Firm 38 Incurred a leg fracture while running towards the 19th fence, pulled up and euthanised. [25]
1989 Brown Trix 6 (& 22) Fell Heavy 40 Incurred a shoulder fracture upon falling. [26]
1989 Seeandem 6 (& 22) Fell Heavy 40 Broke his back upon falling and died. [26]
1987 Dark Ivy 6 (& 22) Fell Good 40 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [27]
1984 Earthstopper After finishing Collapsed Good 40 Collapsed and died after finishing the race. [28]
1983 Duncreggan 8 (& 24) Fell Soft 41 Injured in fall and later euthanised. [29]
1982 Again The Same 8 (& 24) Pulled up 39 Upon his return home the horse was found to have broken a bone in his knee and had to be euthanised. [30]
1979 Kintai 15 Brought down Good 34 Injured in fall and later euthanised. [31]
1979 Alverton (6 &) 22 Fell Good 34 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [32]
1978 Rag Trade While running Pulled up Firm 37 Pulled up lame before the 22nd fence and later euthanised. [33]
1977 Winter Rain 6 (& 22) Fell Good 42 Injured in fall and later euthanised. [34][35]
1977 Zeta's Son (9 &) 25 Fell Good 42 Injured in fall and later euthanised. [34][35]
1975 Land Lark 15 Fell Good 31 Suffered a heart attack while jumping the fence. [36]
1975 Beau Bob (6 &) 22 Fell Good 31 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [36]
1973 Grey Sombrero 15 Fell Firm 38 Incurred a shoulder fracture upon falling and had to be euthanised. [37]
1970 Racoon 3 (& 19) Fell Good 28 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and had to be euthanised. [38]
1967 Vulcano 3 & 19 Fell Good 44 Injured in fall and euthanised. [39]
1960 Belsize II (4 &) 20 Fell Good 26 Injured in fall and euthanised with a suspected cervical fracture. [40]
1959 Henry Purcell 6 & 22 Fell Good 34 Broke his back upon falling and had to be euthanised. [41]
1954 Dominick's Bar 2 & 18 Fell Soft 29 Suffered a heart attack while jumping the fence. [42][43]
1954 Paris New York 4 & 20 Fell Soft 29 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [42][43]
1954 Legal Joy 13 & 29 Fell Soft 29 Broke a leg in a fall and had to be euthanised. [42][43]
1954 Coneyburrow 12 & 28 Fell Soft 29 Injured in a fall and later euthanised. [42][43]
1953 Cardinal Error 4 (& 20) Fell Good 31 Injured or possibly killed in a fall. [44]
1953 Parasol II 8 (& 24) Fell Good 31 Injured in a fall and later euthanised. [44]
1952 Skouras 6 & 22 Fell Good-firm 47 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and had to be euthanised. [45]
1950 Limestone Cottage 8 (& 24) Fell Good 49 Injured in fall. [46]
1946 Symbole 6 & 22 Fell Good 34 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [47]
1936 Avenger 1 & 17 Fell Good 36 Incurred a cervical fracture and had to be euthanised. [48]
1931 Swift Roland 6 & 22 Fell "Perfect" 43 Fatally injured when another faller landed on him. [49]
1931 Drin 9 & 25 Fell "Perfect" 43 Incurred a leg fracture and had to be euthanised. [49]
1930 Derby Day Fell "Perfect" 41 [50]
1929 Stort Fell "Average" 66 Incurred a leg fracture and had to be euthanised. [50]
1926 Lone Hand Fell Good 30 [50]
1922 The Inca 6 & 22 Fell Good 32 Incurred a leg fracture and had to be euthanised. [51]
1922 Awbeg 8 & 24 Fell Good 32 Incurred a leg fracture and had to be euthanised. [51]
1907 Kilts 1 & 17 Fell Good 23 [52]
1901 True Blue Fell Snow 24 [52]
1891 The Emperor While running Fell Good 21 Having been pulled up, fell and broke his back while running back to the stables. [52]
1882 Wild Monarch Fell Heavy 12 [52]
1872 Primrose 2 & 18 Fell Hard 25 Injured in fall and had to be euthanised. [52]
1871 Lord Raglan Fell "Perfect" 25 Broke a leg and was euthanised. [52][53]
1869 Huntsman's Daughter "Average" 22 Resports state only that the horse had to be euthanised after the race. [54]
1868 Chimney Sweep While running Collided with barrier Heavy 21 Injured when collided with barrier on the Melling Road and had to be euthanised. [52]
1863 Telegraph 5 & 21 Fell Good 16 Injured in fall and had to be euthanised. [52]
1862 O'Connell 15 Fell "Average" 13 Was taken to the stables where he later died. His rider, Joe Wynne, also died later that evening from injuries sustained in the fall; this is the only occasion a jockey has been killed in the Grand National. [55]
1861 The Conductor Refused "Average" 24 Injured in mêlée and had to be euthanised. [52]
1857 Garry Owen Pulled up Heavy 28 Ruptured his loins. [56]
1857 Albatross Collapsed Heavy 28 Fell dead while running towards the fence. [56]
1856 Banstead 2 & 18 Fell "Average" 21 Injured in fall and had to be euthanised. [52]
1855 Miss Mowbray 8 & 24 Fell Heavy 20 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died.
1854 Bedford 9 & 25 Fell Good 20 Injured in fall and had to be euthanised. [52]
1849 The Curate 2 & 18 Fell Heavy 24 Injured in fall and had to be euthanised. [57]
1849 Equinox 3 & 19 Fell Heavy 24 Injured in fall and had to be euthanised.
1849 Kilfane 4 & 20 Fell Heavy 24 Injured in fall and had to be euthanised.
1848 Counsellor Fell Heavy 29
1848 The Sailor Fell Heavy 29 [58]
1848 Blue Pill Fell Heavy 29
1845 Clansman 8 & 24 Fell Heavy 16
1839 Dictator 9 & 25 Fell Heavy 17 Burst blood vessel. [59][60]

Summary by fence[edit]

The following table summarises the total number of equine fatalities by each of the 16 fences on the course, and includes the current height of each.

Fence # Current height Total fatalities
1 & 17 4'06" 4
2 & 18 4'07" 4
3 & 19 (open ditch) 4'10" 4
4 & 20 4'10" 8
5 & 21 5'00" 1
6 & 22 (Becher's Brook) 5'00" 14
7 & 23 (Foinavon) 4'06" 0
8 & 24 (Canal Turn) 5'00" 7
9 & 25 (Valentine's) 5'00" 4
10 & 26 5'00" 0
11 & 27 (open ditch) 5'00" 0
12 & 28 5'00" 1
13 & 29 4'07" 1
14 & 30 4'06" 1
15 (The Chair) 5'02" 3
16 (Water Jump) 2'06" 0

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Injuries and Fatalities British Horseracing Authority.
  2. ^ "Risk of fatalities at Grand National is too high, says academic". Anglia Ruskin University. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "BBC News - Who, what, why: How dangerous is the Grand National?". bbc.co.uk. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Horse Welfare & Safety". Aintree.co.uk. 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Animal Welfare Groups Have Called For A Ban On Aintree's Grand National Race After Two Horses Died | UK News | Sky News". News.sky.com. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  6. ^ "BBC Sport - Horse Racing - Grand National: Ginger McCain queries smaller fences". BBC News. 2011-04-10. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Grand National: Neptune Collonge Honoured After Horses Die Following Aintree Race | UK News | Sky News". News.sky.com. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  8. ^ "BBC Sport - According to Pete trainer wants bigger Grand National fences". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  9. ^ http://www.league.org.uk/news-and-opinion/press-releases/2014/apr/injury-and-fatalities-are-inevitable-during-grand-national-meet
  10. ^ http://www.aintree.co.uk/docLib/2009_pages010109.pdf
  11. ^ a b "Synchronised and According to Pete die in Grand National". 14 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Grand-National-deaths-According-To-Pete-trainer-backs-Aintree". Daily Mail (London). 16 April 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Davies, Stephen (10 April 2011). "Aintree day of horror as TV audience of millions see two horses die at the National". Daily Mail (London). 
  14. ^ "Mon Mome seals shock National win". BBC News. 4 April 2009. 
  15. ^ Harlow, Phil (5 April 2008). "Comply Or Die wins Grand National". BBC News. 
  16. ^ Armytage, Marcus (11 May 2007). "Sad end for Graphic Approach". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  17. ^ "Aintree Grand National Result 2006". Racingbetter.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  18. ^ "Monty's Pass wins Grand National". BBC News. 5 April 2003. 
  19. ^ a b "News - Liverpool Local News - Bindaree comes back to win National". Liverpool Echo. 2002-04-06. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  20. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Aintree+%2799%3A+Eudipe+team+left+stunned+by+loss.-a060189260
  21. ^ a b c "Inquiries launched into Grand National deaths". BBC News. 6 April 1998. 
  22. ^ a b "Horses pay price of failure". BBC News. 3 April 1998. 
  23. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/WHERE+THEY+FINISHED+WHERE+THEY+FELL.-a061180250
  24. ^ [1][dead link]
  25. ^ a b http://grandnational-thearchives.bravehost.com/1990.html
  26. ^ a b http://www.angelfire.com/alt/constantinople66/thefences.htm
  27. ^ "‘A mistake at Becher’s proved fatal. Dark Ivy came down perpendicular and broke his neck’ « Sporting Intelligence". Sportingintelligence.com. 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  28. ^ "Hello Dandy Wins National". The New York Times. 1 April 1984. 
  29. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KsZqGdBZ_U
  30. ^ http://grittar1982.webs.com/
  31. ^ "Rubstic". Grand National. 2010-03-10. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  32. ^ Patrick Weaver (12-04-2010). "Jonjo O'Neill exorcises Alverton demons". Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  33. ^ "Rag Trade". Grand National. 2010-03-09. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  34. ^ a b "1977: Hat trick for Red Rum". BBC News. 2 April 1977. 
  35. ^ a b [2]
  36. ^ a b http://www.grandnationalinsider.co.uk/pdfs/1975.pdf
  37. ^ http://www.freewebs.com/grandnationalanorak/therace.htm
  38. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxVSjJcxTxw
  39. ^ Malcolm, Derek (9 January 1967). "Classic report: Foinavon takes evasive action and triumphs". The Guardian (London). 
  40. ^ BBC TV race footage shows the field racing towards Becher's second time with Belsize tailed off. The horse takes a heavy fall at fence 20. Press coverage confirms the fall proved fatal.
  41. ^ "The Priston Web". Priston.org.uk. 1957-01-02. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
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  50. ^ a b c "Animals: Gamble, Violation, Disgrace". Time. 27 April 1931. 
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  53. ^ Liverpool Mercury March 22nd 1871 page 7
  54. ^ Liverpool Mercury Thursday 4th March 1869 page 3, column 3
  55. ^ Liverpool Mercury 13th March 1862 page 3
  56. ^ a b Liverpool Daily Post Thursday March 5th 1857
  57. ^ Grand National History 1849 - 1840 Grand National History 1840s
  58. ^ Charles Arlington Blew, William (1901). A History of Steeple-chasing. London: J.C. Nimmo. p. 302. 
  59. ^ "Grand National : The 1839 Grand National". Grandnational.hyak.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  60. ^ "The 26th of February 1839 AD, First Grand National, famous dates in History". Information-britain.co.uk. 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2012-04-23.