Forest des Aigles and Crucial Role were fatally injured in different races today. Crucial Role, ridden by Harry Skelton, fell in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase, while Forest Des Aigles broke his leg at the final fence of the Topham Chase with Derek Fox on board. The horses were both euthanised.
ITV racing confirmed the two deaths on Twitter: “We’ve been passed the desperately sad news we were fearing.
“After falls in the Betway Mildmay Novices’ and in the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase, Crucial Role and Forest des Aigles have both had to be put down.
“Our deepest condolences to connections of both horses.”
The news prompted a backlash from animal rights campaigners and on social media.
Animal Aid described the deaths of the two horses as “absolutely tragic”.
The animal charity tweeted: “It is absolutely tragic that 2 horses have lost their lives in one day at this notorious meeting, all for the sake of sport.
“Racing is a cruel and outdated pastime that has no place in modern society.”
PETA director Elisa Allen said: “This kind of carnage and the revelations concerning how many horses are ground up are precisely why people are turning away from horse racing.”
One Twitter user posted: “Ladies- having fun on #LadiesDay @AintreeRaces ? Did you see Forest Des Aigles smash his foreleg and die? Were you there when Crucial Role was killed? Is it really worth it? You could wear a fancy hat and nice shoes anywhere, try somewhere with less death. #BanHorseRacing.”
Another wrote: “Two horses dead so far. It’s absolutely disgusting. The sooner this blood sport is banned, the better!”
A third added: “TWO horses dead today, for nothing! Make 2019 the year you stop supporting the Grand National Two horses dead on second day of Grand National meeting.”
One more said: “Forest des Aigles just another victim of this barbaric thing that calls itself a sport,surely there’s no place for this in 2019. @itvracing #Aintree @RacingTV.”
It comes a day before the festival’s showcase race the Grand National.
In recent years efforts have been made to improve safety and welfare at Aintree.