Last year, we saw the tragic but very predictable deaths of six horses at the Cheltenham Festival.

This year, another three cruelly lost their lives while crowds of thousands cheered and TV audiences tuned in to watch.

More than 200 horses have died racing in the UK over the past year, yet many people – dazzled by the industry’s self-proclaimed glitz and glamour – seem to have blinkers on, preferring to focus on the dizzying array of hats worn by punters while ignoring the fact that the only sure bet at the races is that magnificent horses will lose their lives.

Pushing animals beyond their natural abilities on an intentionally dangerous course is a recipe for disaster. Many collapse, crash through railings, sustain broken legs and necks, and endure what the industry euphemistically calls “breakdown”.

Others face heart attacks, bleeding in their lungs, painful ulcers, and other health problems that come only from being forced to run to their breaking point.

How many more horses must die before horse racing is put out to pasture once and for all?

Jennifer White, PETA