List of equine fatalities in the Grand National

This is a list of equine fatalities in the Grand National, an annual steeplechase horse racing event held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool. The Grand National is a National Hunt handicap race that is held over a distance of 4 miles and 3½ furlongs, with a field of 34 horses jumping 30 fences.

Becher's Brook, historically the most dangerous fence. By William Barnes Wollen, 1890.

According to the British Horseracing Authority, modern steeplechase races have an average of just over 4 equine fatalities for every 1,000 horses taking part in a race.[1] The Aintree Grand National yielded 7 equine fatalities out of 439 horses taking part between 2000 and 2010, a rate of almost 16 equine fatalities per 1,000 horses taking part (or 0.64 fatalities per race of 40 horses). In the five years to 2023, the fatality rate has risen, averaging 25 equine fatalities per 1,000 horses taking part (or one fatality per race of 40 horses).[2][3]

Background edit

The high number of equine deaths in the Aintree Grand National race has made it a focus for animal rights activists. While course officials have taken safety measures over the years, such as improving veterinary facilities and reducing the severity of fences,[4] some campaign for further modifications and even 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 began 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 previously 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] 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).

The list includes, where applicable and where known, the fence at which the fatality occurred.[10]

Year Horse Fence No. Fate Going Ran Details Source
2023 Hill Sixteen 1 (& 17) Fell Good 39 Fell at first and sustained "unrecoverable injury" [11]
2022 Eclair Surf 3 (& 19) Fell Good-soft 40 Fell at 3rd fence, was stabilised and taken back to the stables, only to be euthanised the day after due to head trauma. [12]
2022 Discorama While running Pulled up Good-soft 40 Pulled up before the 13th fence, was found to have incurred a pelvic injury and was euthanised. [13]
2021 The Long Mile While running Pulled up Good-soft 40 Was euthanised after the race. [14]
2019 Up For Review 1 (& 17) Brought down Good-soft 40 Jumped successfully but was brought down by another fallen horse [15]
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 was euthanised. [16]
2012 According to Pete (6 &) 22 Brought down Good 40 Fractured his left-fore humerus and was euthanised. [16]
2011 Ornais 4 (& 20) Fell Good 40 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [17]
2011 Dooneys Gate 6 (& 22) Fell Good 40 Fractured his thoracolumbar upon falling and was euthanised. [17]
2009 Hear The Echo While running Collapsed Good-soft 40 Collapsed on the run-in and died. [18]
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 was euthanised. [19]
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. [20]
2006 Tyneandthyneagain 1 (& 17) Fell Good-soft 40 Continued running riderless until falling later, was diagnosed with a spinal injury and was euthanised. [21]
2003 Goguenard (3 &) 19 Brought down Good 40 Injured in a mêlée by another falling horse and was euthanised. [22]
2002 The Last Fling (8 &) 24 Fell Good 40 Broke his back upon falling and died. [23]
2002 Manx Magic (4 &) 20 Fell Good 40 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [23]
1999 Eudipe (6 &) 22 Fell Good 32 Broke his back upon falling and was euthanised. [24]
1998 Pashto 1 (& 17) Fell Heavy 37 Collapsed after falling and was euthanised. [25]
1998 Do Rightly 4 (& 20) Fell Heavy 37 Suffered a heart attack whilst jumping the fence. [25]
1998 Griffins Bar While running Fell Heavy 37 Incurred a shoulder fracture after jumping the fifth fence and fell; later was euthanised. [25]
1997 Straight Talk 14 (& 30) Fell Good 36 Incurred a leg fracture upon falling and was euthanised. [26]
1997 Smith's Band (4 &) 20 Fell Good 36 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [26]
1996 Rust Never Sleeps While running Pulled up Good 27 Pulled up lame before the 13th fence, diagnosed with a broken shoulder and euthanised. [27]
1991 Ballyhane After finishing Collapsed Good-soft 40 Suffered a haemorrhage after completing the race and died. [28]
1990 Roll-A-Joint 8 (& 24) Fell Firm 38 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [29]
1990 Hungary Hur While running Pulled up Firm 38 Incurred a leg fracture while running towards the 19th fence, pulled up and euthanised. [29]
1989 Brown Trix 6 (& 22) Fell Heavy 40 Incurred a shoulder fracture upon falling. [30]
1989 Seeandem 6 (& 22) Fell Heavy 40 Broke his back upon falling and died. [30]
1987 Dark Ivy 6 (& 22) Fell Good 40 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [31]
1984 Earthstopper After finishing Collapsed Good 40 Collapsed and died after finishing the race. [32]
1983 Duncreggan 8 (& 24) Fell Soft 41 Injured in fall and later euthanised. [33]
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 was euthanised. [34]
1979 Kintai 15 Brought down Good 34 Injured in fall and later euthanised. [35]
1979 Alverton (6 &) 22 Fell Good 34 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [36]
1978 Rag Trade While running Pulled up Firm 37 Pulled up lame before the 21st fence and later euthanised. [37]
1977 Winter Rain 6 (& 22) Fell Good 42 Injured in fall and later euthanised. [38][39]
1977 Zeta's Son (9 &) 25 Fell Good 42 Injured in fall and later euthanised. [38][39]
1975 Land Lark 15 Fell Good 31 Suffered a heart attack while jumping the fence. [40]
1975 Beau Bob (6 &) 22 Fell Good 31 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [40]
1973 Grey Sombrero 15 Fell Firm 38 Incurred a shoulder fracture upon falling and was euthanised. [41]
1970 Racoon 3 (& 19) Fell Good 28 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and was euthanised. [42]
1967 Vulcano 3 (& 19) Fell Good 44 Injured in fall and euthanised. [43]
1960 Belsize II (4 &) 20 Fell Good 26 Injured in fall and euthanised with a suspected cervical fracture. [44]
1959 Slippery Serpent 13 (& 29) Fell Good 34 Broke a leg bone, which was initially treated, however was euthanised three days later. [45]
1959 Henry Purcell 6 (& 22) Fell Good 34 Broke his back upon falling and was euthanised. [46]
1954 Dominick's Bar 2 (& 18) Fell Soft 29 Suffered a heart attack while jumping the fence. [47][48]
1954 Paris New York 4 (& 20) Fell Soft 29 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [47][48]
1954 Legal Joy 13 (& 29) Fell Soft 29 Broke a leg in a fall and was euthanised. [47][48]
1954 Coneyburrow (12 &) 28 Fell Soft 29 Injured in a fall and later euthanised. [47][48]
1953 Cardinal Error 4 (& 20) Fell Good 31 Injured or possibly killed in a fall. [49]
1953 Parasol II 8 (& 24) Fell Good 31 Injured in a fall and later euthanised. [49]
1952 Skouras 6 (& 22) Fell Good-firm 47 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and was euthanised. [50]
1950 Limestone Cottage 8 (& 24) Fell Good 49 Injured in fall. [51]
1946 Symbole 6 (& 22) Fell Good 34 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [52]
1940 Second Act 16 Injured on landing Good 32 [citation needed]
1938 Cabin Fire 8 (& 24) Fell Good 36 [citation needed]
1938 Rock Lad 16 Injured on landing Good 36 [citation needed]
1936 Avenger (1 &) 17 Fell Good 36 Incurred a cervical fracture and was euthanised. [53]
1931 Swift Roland 6 (& 22) Fell "Perfect" 43 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died.. [54]
1931 Drin 8 (& 24) Fell "Perfect" 43 Incurred a leg fracture and was euthanised. [54]
1930 Derby Day 4 (and 20) Fell "Perfect" 41 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [55]
1929 Stort 11 (and 27) Fell "Average" 66 fell at the 11th running loose, incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died. [55]
1926 Lone Hand Fell Good 30 [55]
1922 The Inca 6 (& 22) Fell Good 32 Incurred a leg fracture and was euthanised. [56]
1922 Awbeg 8 (& 24) Fell Good 32 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died.. [56]
1907 Kilts 1 (& 17) Fell Good 23 [57]
1901 True Blue Fell Snow 24 [57]
1891 The Emperor While running Fell Good 21 Having been pulled up, fell and broke his back while running back to the stables. [57]
1882 Wild Monarch Fell Heavy 12 [57]
1872 Primrose (2 &) 18 Fell Hard 25 Injured in fall and was euthanised. [57]
1871 Lord Raglan 15 Fell "Perfect" 25 Broke a leg and was euthanised. [57][58]
1869 Huntsman's Daughter "Average" 22 Reports state only that the horse was euthanised after the race. [59]
1868 Chimney Sweep While running at 1 Collided with barrier Heavy 21 Injured when collided with barrier on the Melling Road and was euthanised. [57]
1863 Telegraph 5 & 21 Fell Good 16 Injured in fall and was euthanised. [57]
1861 The Conductor Refused "Average" 24 Injured in mêlée and was euthanised. [57]
1857 Garry Owen Pulled up Heavy 28 Ruptured his loins. [60]
1857 Albatross Collapsed Heavy 28 Fell dead while running towards the fence. [60]
1856 Banstead 2 & 18 Fell "Average" 21 Injured in fall and was euthanised. [57]
1855 Miss Mowbray (6 &) 22 Fell Heavy 20 Incurred a cervical fracture upon falling and died.
1854 Bedford 9 & 25 Fell Good 20 Injured in fall and was euthanised. [57]
1849 The Curate 2 (& 18) Fell Heavy 24 Injured in fall and was euthanised. [61]
1849 Equinox (3 &) 19 Fell Heavy 24 Injured in fall and was euthanised.
1849 Kilfane (4 &) 20 Fell Heavy 24 Injured in fall and was euthanised.
1848 Counsellor Fell Heavy 29
1848 The Sailor Fell Heavy 29 [62]
1848 Blue Pill Fell Heavy 29
1845 Clansman 15 Fell Heavy 16 Fatally injured in fall.
1839 Dictator (9 &) 25 Fell Heavy 17 Burst blood vessel. [63][64]

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 No. Current height
(feet and inches)
No. of
fatalities
1 & 17 4'06" 5
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. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
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  6. ^ "BBC Sport - Horse Racing - Grand National: Ginger McCain queries smaller fences". BBC News. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Grand National: Neptune Collonge Honoured After Horses Die Following Aintree Race | UK News | Sky News". News.sky.com. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
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  12. ^ "Grand National: Eclair Surf becomes second equine fatality after Discorama". BBC. 10 April 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  13. ^ Charlie Malam. "Grand National horse Discorama dies after pulling up in race with 'untreatable' injury". www.express.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  14. ^ Stuart Ballard (12 April 2021). "Grand National horse dies: The Long Mile put down in sixth death in last 10 years". www.express.co.uk. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  15. ^ Martin Domin (6 April 2019). "Up For Review dead: Grand National tragedy as 25/1 shot suffers fatal injury". www.mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
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  59. ^ Liverpool Mercury Thursday 4 March 1869 page 3, column 3
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External links edit