Cheltenham 2019: DOUBLE TRAGEDY as SECOND horse dies hours after Sir Erec horror | Racing | Sport - (2021)

Bernie The Banker & Two To Lay on Day 1 of Cheltenham 2020

Updated: 02/12/2021

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The horse went down after going over the fence on the first lap of the main event race at the Cheltenham Festival.

The tragic incident takes the death toll to three for the week as the Festival comes to a close.

Willie Mullins tasted victory as Al Boum Photo won the Gold Cup with a storming finish but also tragedy as the day was overshadowed by another death at the races.

The Mullns horse – ridden his son Patrick, who also rode Ballyward who died on Tuesday – followed Sir Erec who fell and snapped his leg in the first race of the day.

READ MORE: SIR EREC DIES AT CHELTENHAM

AP McCoy paid tribute to Sir Erec, who had started the day the big favourite but was struggling with its shoe before the race.

said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking. That’s the toughest thing about sport. It’s heartbreaking, there’s no other way to describe it.”

Trainer Nicky Henderson paid tribute moments after its death and said: ”What a gorgeous horse Sir Erec was. Your heart goes out to them. We're all a family and JP is a big part of our team. He's one of the great men of national hunt racing. That was not fair at all.”

While winning jockey Nico de Boinville said: “You never like to win a race when that has happened but it is the reality of the sport.

“It’s a tragedy and thoughts are with Sir Erec's connections.

“But take nothing away from my horse. He made a bad error at the first where he over-jumped it and recovered well after that.”

Animal Aid, which is against breeding horses for racing, were quick to lament what happened to Sir Erec.

“RIP Sir Erec. Killed at Cheltenham today. This event is lethal for horses and racing at Cheltenham should be halted immediately. Race horse welfare has to come before profits,” they said.

Director of Equine Health and Welfare at the British Horseracing Authority David Sykes insists the injury to Sir Erec was not preventable.

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