Two Horses Die at Great Britain's Grand National

Two horses are dead following the 2011 running of the Grand National, the famed British steeplechase held annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England. The race spans four-and-a-half miles and includes 30 jumping efforts.

The U.K.-based news website The Daily Mail reported that Ornais, a 9-year-old French-bred Thoroughbred gelding ridden by Nick Scholfield, died after breaking his neck during a fall at the fourth fence on the course. Dooney's Gate, a 10-year-old Irish-bred Thoroughbred gelding ridden by Patrick Mullins, broke his back after falling over fence six on the course and also died at the scene.

Because the falls occurred so early in the race authorities were unable to remove the horses' bodies from the track, and the rest of the field was diverted around those two jumps for the remainder of the race as the bodies of the two fallen horses were covered with tarps.

Ballabriggs, a 10-year-old Irish-bred Thoroughbred gelding, and jockey Jason Maguire won the 2011 Grand National.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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