CHELTENHAM, England — The second day of the Cheltenham Festival was marred by the death of a horse in the first race Wednesday.
Consul De Thaix, which was trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by J.P. McManus, suffered fatal injuries after falling at the sixth-last fence in the Novices’ Hurdle.
Jockey Mark Walsh avoided serious injury despite being thrown off his mount but he will not ride again this week at the most prestigious jumps meeting in British horse racing.
“The last information I received was that he was being assessed for a concussive head injury,” clerk of the course Simon Claisse said of Walsh.
Consul De Thaix is the first death of this year’s festival after seven horses were killed last year at Cheltenham.
In the day’s feature race, there a shock when 11-1 shot Special Tiara won the Queen Mother Champion Chase and 2-9 favorite Douvan finished seventh. Special Tiara beat Fox Norton by a head, while Sir Valentino was third.