World Horse Welfare Statement on 2019 Cheltenham Festival


Our statement in response to the horse fatalities at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival

cheltenham festival 2019 welfare horse fatalities

The death of three horses this week, which can never be simply accepted as a bi-product of the sport, are a sad and salutary reminder of the scale of the challenge that remains in reducing the risks to equine welfare at Cheltenham. 


The recommendations of the BHA's Cheltenham Review were never going to be a magic wand but significant investment will have to be maintained to achieve the Review’s longer term aims, most especially developing the predictive risk model in jump racing. During the Review we raised specific issues about the involvement of amateurs in the Festival, and Tuesday’s outcome has only heightened our concerns for urgent changes to be made. 


However we applaud the BHA for the robust action they took in the aftermath of the National Hunt Chase, as protecting equine welfare always has to trump any competitive or commercial influences.