Dan Skelton horse Elle Est Belle has sadly died after suffering a suspected heart attack on the ultimate day of Aintree. In the course of the second race of the day, the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, Elle Est Belle collapsed at the road while ending fourth.
The signs didn’t look good for the horse, with the screens immediately going up round her. And she or he has now sadly been confirmed to have passed away.
A tweet from ITV Racing read: “We’re sad to bring you the news that Elle Est Belle has been put down following an injury near the ending line in our opening race Our condolences to all connections.”
The news sees a heartbreaking begin to proceedings at Aintree ahead of the massive race at 5.15pm.
Meanwhile there may be further worrying news with Captain Conby walking into the horse ambulance to be given further tests by the vet after also taking a heavy fall in the identical race.
Hopefully there might be no further casualties on what is usually thought to be one among the highlights of the sporting calendar.
All eyes might be focused on Rachael Blackmore later to see whether she will be able to repeat her heroics and win the Grand National for a second yr in a row on Minella Times.
Speaking ahead of the race she said: “What you do feel is excitement.The Grand National is just so massive, you never think you are actually going to get to win it.
“Jockeys will wish one another good luck beforehand. It just has a unique feel to it, especially riding Minella Times who gave me such a unbelievable spin last yr.
“He took to it rather well. Jumping those fences with a horse that is having fun with it’s an important feeling. Tiger Roll won back to back so that you never know.”