Two more horses have died at the Cheltenham Festival, bringing this year’s number of fatalities to three.
Toe The Line and Hadrian’s Approach died on Thursday, the third day of the popular four-day horse racing event.
Their deaths come after five-year-old Consul De Thaix suffered fatal injuries after falling in the Novices’ Hurdle in Wednesday’s first race.
Eight-year-old Toe The Line was put down after breaking her leg in the 4.50pm Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle on Thursday.
In the last race of the day, 10-year-old gelding, Hadrian’s Approach, was euthanised after breaking his leg.
Hadrian’s Approach and Consul De Thaix were trained by Nicky Henderson and Toe The Line was trained by John Kiely.
The latest fatalities come after the death toll at last year’s event hit a ten-year high when seven horses died.
The annual event is riddled with controversy, with animal rights campaigners calling for it to be scrapped.
But the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the governing body of the sport, said it works with the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare and is “committed to reducing the risk in racing for both horse and jockey”.
Isobel Hutchinson, Animal Aid Director, said: “We are deeply saddened that yet two more horses have been killed in the name of entertainment.
“It is unthinkable that, in a modern world, a ‘sport’ which costs animals their lives is simply allowed to continue.
“Year after year, horses die and suffer at the Cheltenham Festival and yet no one is properly held to account.
“We would urge anyone thinking of placing a bet on the last day of the Festival not to support this cruel and exploitative activity.”
The deaths on Thursday bring the total number of horses killed at the Cheltenham Festival since 2000 to 56.
The “staggering” death toll across all racecourses in Britain in the last decade was revealed this week as surpassing 1,500.
The BHA adds that British racing “is among the world’s best regulated animal activities” and stresses the fatality rate has fallen by a third in 20 years.