Blindfolded Irish horse killed after suffering horrific injuries

14 Jul


A blindfolded Irish horse has suffered horrific fatal injuries after running loose at a race in Brighton.

The horse, named Just Marion, was blindfolded while being loaded into the starting stalls at Brighton Racecourse on Monday (12th June) and was seen leaving the stalls riderless and with the blindfold still covering her head.

“As she ran blind, chasing on the heels of the other runners, she collided with the running rails,” Animal Aid has reported. “As the group turned the bend towards the finish, she continued in a straight trajectory crashing through the stand side rails. This resulted in her receiving horrendous injuries – comprising multiple fractures. She could not be saved and was destroyed at Arundel Equine Hospital.”

According to, “She was loaded into the starting gate with a blindfold, which apprentice jockey Louis Steward was supposed to remove at the start of the race. Instead, Just Marion stumbled leaving the gates, unseating Steward, and ran loose around the course while unable to see. The filly suffered numerous fractures and had to be euthanized as a result of her injuries.”

While the Racing Post referred to the incident as “added drama for racegoers”, trainer Clare Ellam described it as “horrific”. “It was like she had been involved in a car crash,” she was later quoted as saying. “She had run into concrete fencing and had multiple fractures to her head and lacerations. There was nothing they could do to save her. I was absolutely dedicated to her…She was the loveliest mare to have around and will never get the chance to show everyone how good she was.”

5-year-old Just Marion is the 47th Irish horse to die on British racecourses since the beginning of this year. And the deaths are continuing. The day after Just Marion was killed, another two Irish horses died. Palomas Prince (Pulled Up – Fatally Injured) and Insight (Fell – Injured – Destroyed) lost their lives during races at Southwell on Tuesday.

On its Race Horse Death Watch website, Animal Aid has documented over 1,550 deaths at UK tracks in the past decade. These are on-course fatality figures and do not include the horses killed due to training injuries or the horses destroyed when they are “judged to be no longer financially viable”. Last year, 76 Irish horses died or were destroyed at UK tracks.

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