What are the most predictable horse races

Controversial horse races: "Like bullfighting"

The Grand National took place in Aintree near Liverpool. Because of the increased number of deaths of racehorses, the event was once again criticized. This time two horses had to be euthanized.

“The Grand National is unique. The race of dreams, the stuff of legends. No wonder it gets more attention than any other race. ”The press release is grandiose and true at the same time. The Grand National in Aintree near Liverpool is considered the most difficult and important obstacle race in equestrian sport. It also generates higher stakes and better ratings than most other events, and it also makes for some of the heated debates. The race has been held annually since 1839, and the difficult course has made it a kind of myth. With prize money of £ 975,000, the “National” is also one of the financially most attractive events.

However, the race is under criticism. Numerous animal rights activists demanded the abolition after the death of two horses. Scientists also spoke up, emphasizing the foreseeable risks to which the animals were exposed. Immense public pressure eventually forced the organizers to change the race slightly this year and to raise the safety standards. For the first time this year, animal rights activists watched to take a close look at the conditions.

The organizers sell the “Grand National” as the “ultimate challenge for horse and jockey”. Statistically, this also means that it is more dangerous than other races. On its 7.2 km long course, the Grand National not only stretches over a significantly longer distance than comparable events. With 30 hurdles, there are hardly any more obstacles in the world than in Aintree. Again and again this combination has caused fatal accidents.

"On average, we can expect three horses to die from the Grand National," complained Mark Kennedy, who teaches animal welfare at Anglia Ruskin University in eastern England. In hunting races, such as the Grand National, there are an average of six deaths per 1,000 horses starting, which is an even higher probability than in hurdles (around four per 1,000) or flat races (one in 1,000). If you compare this rate with the probability of a fatal accident while driving, which is 0.00004 per 1,000 trips, the enormous risks for horses only become clear, says Kennedy.

This was also the case a month ago. At the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, southwest England, another historic race of the British season, five horses died from falls during the competition. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) expressed regret that with 90,000 starts per year, some accidents are unfortunately inevitable. This is also the result of an investigation the association carried out after last year's Grand National to look for ways to make the races safer. Now some difficult obstacles of the Grand National are to be made easier and safer.


In a civilized country ...

The bitterest critics call for the end of Cheltenham and the Grand National. Andrew Tyler from the animal welfare organization Animal Aid: “It is (note: the Grand National) about obvious animal abuse at the level of Spanish bullfights. Such a race should have no future in a civilized country. ”After the Cheltenham Festival in March, horse racing expert Greg Wood from the Guardian suggested that at least the statistically deadliest events should be abolished.

In Cheltenham this is the opening race “Cross Country Handicap Chase”, in which the ground cannot be watered at one point, where two horses promptly fell. Dry ground increases the racing speed and increases the risk of injury even more, especially in a hunting race.

("Die Presse", print edition, April 16, 2012)