This is the shocking moment a horse tripped over with a broken leg before running on without its jockey during a race at the Cheltenham Festival today.
Five-year-old Sandsend, who was rated at 11/1, kicked up in the final furlongs – and had to be put down immediately after the 2.10pm race.
The horse, ridden by Katie Walsh, suffered the broken leg on the flat to become the 36th death at Cheltenham since 2007, according to animal rights activists.
Katie Walsh (left) falls from Sandsend in the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle today
The rider, whose brother Ruby was ruled out of the festival on Wednesday after aggravating a recent leg injury, got up and appeared to have avoid injury in the fall.
But Sandsend had to be put down, and ITV Racing host Ed Chamberlin was left to tell viewers: ‘Desperately sad news. Our thoughts are with everyone connected.’
The incident at the Gloucestershire event happened during the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle, which was won by Bridget Andrews on Mohaayed.
The rider was embraced by her partner Harry Skelton, who rode stablemate Spiritofthegames into sixth place, when the horses pulled up after the line.
Walsh falls from her five-year-old horse at the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire today
Runners head past the grandstands in the event at Cheltenham Racecourse this afternoon
But the abiding memory for many viewers of the race will be the shocking footage of Sandsend pulling up, as he became the third horse to die at this year’s video.
Isobel Hutchinson, the director of campaign group Animal Aid, said: ‘This devastating incident highlights the barbaric cruelty of this profit-driven ‘sport’.
‘The brutal leg break suffered by Sandsend was truly horrifying to witness. We can only imagine the agony and terror that he must have suffered, through no fault of his own.
‘How many more horses will have to die, before action is taken to stem the tide of deaths? We believe that the current regulator simply isn’t fit for purpose.’
It also left many viewers shocked, with Charlotte Easter tweeting: ‘Heartbreaking to see a horse break its leg like that, when he’s doing what he does best. RIP Sandsend.’
Ryan Longy added: ‘RIP Sandsend, I believed in you, I backed you and I am genuinely sad about your passing, a brilliant horse and a loss to racing.’
And another said: ‘Horrible to hear about Sandsend. Sickening to see the problems he suffered. The dark side to this game we all love. Very upsetting.’
A spokesman for the Cheltenham Festival has been contacted for comment today.