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
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
Sport
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
News
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
music
News
i100
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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: Sales Representative

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To promote and sell the Company...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Civil Engineering

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Business: This company is going thro...

Tradewind Recruitment: KS1 & KS2 Teachers Required

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment are currently working...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea