Published On: Sat, Apr 13th, 2024

Grand National Festival marred by second tragedy as Pikar dies after horror fall | Racing | Sport

Dan Skelton’s Pikar suffered a fatal fall on the second day of the Grand National Festival on Friday. The news comes just hours after it was announced that Lucinda Russell’s Giovinco had passed away after a horror fall in the opener on Ladies Day.

A statement from an Aintree spokesperson read: “Pikar sadly passed away following a fall at the second last hurdle in the last race of the day, having also been attended to on course by our veterinary team. Our heartfelt condolences are with the connections of both horses.”

Pikar suffered a nasty fall at the last in the Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle at Aintree, with the on-course veterinary team rushing to his aid immediately. Screens were soon raised around the gelding and a horse ambulance promptly arrived to take the seven-year-old off of the track.

The horse, trained by Skelton, was running a great race under jockey Fergus Gillard and looked like he could run into a place before his horror fall. The seven-year-old had not been seen since April 2023 prior to his fatal accident, given plenty of time to recover after a moderate fifth out of nine at Cheltenham.

El Jefe went on to win the Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle at odds of 40/1 in an astonishing result. The seven-year-old came from the clouds under a valiant effort from Ben Smith to stay on up the straight and beat Ballee into second.

Pikar was the second horse to lose its life on Friday, with Giovinco suffering a heavy fall in the day’s opening race. Falling at the final fence during the Mildmay Novices’ Chase, Giovinco required treatment on the course and was later pronounced dead.

Commenting on Giovinco’s death, the same Aintree spokesperson said: “During our first race of the day, Giovinco fell at the last fence and was immediately attended to by our expert veterinary professionals. After assessment, sadly they concluded the necessary course of action for the horse’s welfare was to put him to sleep.”

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