Aintree 2013: Tragedy strikes again on eve of Grand National

Little Josh becomes the second fatality in as many days

The welfare of jump horses will again come under scrutiny after Little Josh became the second fatality at Aintree in as many days.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained gelding was put down after breaking his shoulder in the John Smith's Topham Chase.

Little Josh parted company with rider Sam Twiston-Davies in the extended two-mile-five-furlong event, run over the Grand National course.

A tweet from Aintree racecourse read: "We can sadly confirm that Little Josh broke a shoulder in the Topham Chase. He was treated immediately but needed to be humanely put down."

The news follows the the collapse and death of Katie Walsh's mount Battlefront after being pulled up in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase.

The tragedies represent an excruciating start to the meeting for Aintree officials, who have responded to fatalities in each of the last two Nationals with a series of modifications to the controversial course.

Speaking after today's incident Professor Chris Proudman, veterinary advisor to Aintree, said: "We are sad to confirm that is has been necessary to humanely put down Little Josh on welfare grounds, as a result of his fall at the 15th fence in the John Smith's Topham Chase.

"He received immediate veterinary attention for a broken shoulder, but this injury was not treatable and it was the necessary course of action."

All 28 other horses in the race returned safely.

John Baker, Aintree and North West Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "I would like to extend our sympathies to the connections of Little Josh following his fall in the John Smith's Topham Chase.

"We have made significant improvements in safety at the course, but we also recognise that jump racing carries risk you can never completely remove from the sport."

Aintree said jockey Liam Treadwell received medical assessment on course and was taken to hospital for further assessment. Andrew Lynch was being assessed in the medical centre on course.

Grand National-winning trainer Twiston-Davies paid tribute to Little Josh, and did not attribute blame to the much-scrutinised fences.

He said: "He's gone out doing what he loved the most, he's jumped round those fences before and it's one of those things.

"It could happen anywhere, it could happen at home and it's not the fences - it could have happened at a park course.

"It's desperate, as he is one of Sam's favourite horses and he has been a great servant."

Tomorrow the Grand National takes place. More flexible cores have been installed in the fences, and the ground has also been levelled off at several jumps. In an effort to curb the early pace, meanwhile, the National start has been moved 90 yards closer to the first fence. But calls to reduce the field size have been rejected. “We want to maintain the character, tradition and history of the National,” Baker stressed. “To have 40 runners is unique to the race and important to us. The track is wide enough to cope with that number.”

All those at Aintree will be desperate the fatalities do not extend to three in three.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones