Grand National meeting suffers first fatality on day one after Battlefront collapses following Fox Hunters' Chase
16:05 GMT, 4 April 2013
17:58 GMT, 4 April 2013
The Grand National meeting at Aintree suffered its first fatality on day one this afternoon as Battlefront collapsed and died after the 3.40 John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase.
The horse, ridden by Katie Walsh, was pulled up at the 11th fence of the 2m 5f chase, which was won by 100/1 long shot Tartan Snow.
Unfortunately 11-year-old Battlefront, trained by the jockey's father Ted, then suffered a suspected heart attack on the way back to the stables and died.
Carnage: Runners and riders are left strewn across the Aintree turf during the Fox Hunters' steeple chase
Aintree has revamped the course
fences to make them safer for competing horses after criticism of the
meeting's Saturday showpiece branding it dangerous after seeing two
fatalities – According to Pete and Synchronised – in last year's
accident not involving a course fall, the news is still a blow for
organisers.The chase was the first race to be held over the Grand
Bad news: Battlefront, ridden by Katy Walsh (left), suffered a suspected heart attack after being pulled up
Professor Chris Proudman, veterinary advisor to Aintree Racecourse, confirmed the news, saying: 'We can confirm that Battlefront was pulled up at fence 11 of the John Smith's Fox Hunter's Chase on the Grand National course by his jockey Katie Walsh and sadly afterwards he collapsed and died.
John Baker, Aintree and North West
Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, expressed his sympathies
but defended the sport.
'I would like to extend our sympathies to the Walsh family for this sad news,' he said.
Out of nowhere: Tartan Snow, ridden by Jamie Hamilton, won the Fox Hunters' Chase as a 100/1 shot
'British racing is very open that you can never eliminate all risk from horse racing, as with any sport.
However, welfare standards are very high and equine fatalities are rare.
'With 90,000 runners each year, we have a fatality rate of just 0.2 per cent.'