Cheltenham Festival

Euthanised Sir Erec “should never have raced” claims animal charity

An animal welfare charity has argued that Sir Erec shouldn’t have been allowed to start the race which claimed the horse’s life.

He had to be put down after the Triumph Hurdle, casting a shadow over the final day of racing at the Cheltenham Festival.

Animal Aid believes Sir Erec should have been prevented from participating after losing a shoe just minutes before the opening race of the day, at 13:30.

Dene Stansall, Animal Aid horse racing consultant said:

‘Sir Erec should have been withdrawn before the start of the race, having lost a shoe on the way to the start. Clearly there was something wrong.

Even after the shoeing there was no time to assess the horse as being fit to race and we believe that as a consequence he has lost his life.

They issued their statement after another favourite, Ballyward, had to be euthanised on the opening day of the festival.

Cheltenham racecourse were also quick to issue a statement on the four-year-old horse following the tragedy.

It read:

“Sadly Sir Erec sustained an injury in the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle. He was immediately attended to by the veterinary team, who very sadly determined that it was necessary to euthanise him on welfare grounds.

“As animal lovers, we hate to lose any horse and of course
we shall review this incident. 

Our thoughts are with Sir Erec’s connections.”

Winning jockey of the 13:30 race Nico de Boinville appeared to be in shock after riding Pentland Hills home to victory, and offered his condolences to everyone associated with the horse.

He said: “You never like to win a race when that happens,” he said. “It is a tragedy with everyone involved with him.

“I am absolutely devastated for Sir Erec,” AP McCoy added, speaking to ITV.

There was more distressing news which ensued following the Gold Cup, as Invitation Only became the third horse of the week which had to be put down after he fell during the featured 15:30 race.

“This is the bit about the job I absolutely hate if truth be told,” Ed Chamberlain revealed on ITV. “Invitation Only, I’m afraid has had to be put down.

“He’s had such a run of bad luck, and thoughts go out to Willie Mullins and all his team.”

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