Three horses die as Grand National delayed by animal rights protesters

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Hill Sixteen, Dark Raven and Envoye Special all died during the three days of the Grand National Festival.

Galashiels-owned horse Hill Sixteen died after breaking his neck in a fall at the first fence of the Grand National on Saturday afternoon after the race was delayed by animal rights protesters invading the course.

Jockey Ryan Mania’s ride suffered a fatal injury during the opening stages of the marquee steeplechase at Aintree Racecourse. Tarpaulins were brought on to the course to shield the horse and rider.

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The ten-year-old, who had completed the course on two previous occasions, became the third horse to die during the three days of the Grand National Festival. It followed the deaths of Dark Raven and Envoye Special earlier on Saturday and on Thursday respectively.

Dene Stansall, horse racing consultant for campaign group of Animal Aid said: “Jump racing must be banned to prevent the brutal horrors seen today at Aintree and this week, from happening again.”

Julie Harrington, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said: “British racing works tirelessly to improve the sport’s safety record and reduce avoidable risk. Every incident is reviewed by the BHA alongside the race course and other bodies.”

Protesters: The start of the 2023 Grand National race was delayed by 14 minutes after a number of protestors from Animal Rising made their way onto the track. As the National runners were in the parade ring, a number of them breached security fences around the venue and ran on to the course.

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Arrests: Merseyside Police confirmed that the nine protestors who managed to enter the course are among 118 people who have now been arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including causing public nuisance and criminal damages. A spokesperson said: “We respect the right to peaceful protest and expression of views, but criminal behaviour and disorder will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly.”

Race winner: Corach Rambler eventually won the marquee steeplechase. The 8-1 joint favourite came through with a perfectly timed late charge under jockey Derek Fox. Vanillier (20-1) finished second, with Gaillard Du Mesnil (10-1) third and Noble Yeats (10-1) completing the top four places.

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