Glasgow & West Scotland

Scottish Grand National: Horses die at Ayr racecourse

Beshabar ridden by Richard Johnson (left) went on to win from Merigo (centre)
Image caption The race was won by Beshabar, ridden by Richard Johnson (left)

Two horses have died during the Scottish Grand National at Ayr racecourse.

Minella Four Star and Regal Heights were both reported to have suffered internal bleeding.

It follows the deaths of two horses at last week's Grand National at Aintree, when Ornais and Dooneys Gate were both fatally injured.

Beshabar won the Scottish Grand National to give jockey Richard Johnson his first victory in the race.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) dismissed accusations from campaign group Animal Aid that the regulatory body was "not fit for purpose".

Animal welfare

BHA spokesman Paul Struthers said: "The two horses that were sadly fatally injured during the running of the Scottish Grand National did not die because of falls."

He added: "The British Horseracing Authority takes very seriously its responsibility for the welfare of the racehorse population and is recognised by the relevant government bodies to have a strong track record in this area.

"Racing is a sport that carries risk and our role is to work with racing to minimise the risk that horses face while racing as much as realistically possible.

"It is disgraceful for Animal Aid to question either our commitment or the commitment of those that work within the sport for the welfare of the horse."

At Aintree, where just 19 of the 40 starters finished, Ornais and Dooneys Gate fell at the fourth and the sixth, Becher's Brook, respectively.

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