Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Two horses die at Aintree

Published:Friday | April 8, 2016 | 4:00 AM

LIVERPOOL, England (AP):

Two horses died after being pulled up in a sombre start to the Aintree Festival yesterday.

Clonbanan Lad and Maras-onnien died after being pulled up by their jockeys in the Fox Hunters' Chase, and later collapsing, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said. Professor Chris Proudman, veterinary adviser at Aintree, said "neither (of the) incidents was associated with a fall."

"You can never remove all risk completely from any sport, including horse racing," Proudman said in a statement released by the BHA, "but from 90,000 runners each year, British Racing has a fatality rate of less than 0.2 per cent, which research found is far lower than horses simply exercising in a field."

Equine safety is brought into sharp focus at Aintree because of the feared fences used in the Grand National Steeplechase, the world's most gruelling horse race. Twenty-one horses died over those fences from 2001-14.

The deaths overshadowed a strong start to the festival by Willie Mullins, who is bidding to dislodge Paul Nicholls as Britain's champion horse trainer and had two winners.

The Grand National will be run Saturday.