One of the five horses caught up in a horror smash on a British motorway on Thursday has died.
Trainer Brian Meehan has confirmed the death of the paint pony, Pistolero. Meehan said Pistolero was used to help certain horses in the preliminaries before racing. He would accompany them on the way to the start.
Pistolero died on Thursday evening, hours after the five-vehicle smash that resulted in the deaths of two people.
Three cars and two trucks – one of them carrying five horses – were involved in the afternoon pile-up.
The five horses were taken to the Newmarket Equine Hospital.
Two of the surviving four horses – three of them scheduled to race at Newmarket – remained at the hospital, Meehan said. One has serious injuries and will remain at the hospital for a period of time; the other is being monitored with only minor problems. It is expected home next week, he said.
The third intended runner will return home with the stable’s Friday runners from Newmarket this evening.
The fourth survivor – a horse who was returning to his owner’s home for a break – has been allowed to continue his journey.
Meehan said the staff travelling in the horse truck were were traumatised and in a state of shock after the accident. They will return home.
Meehan sent a new team to Newmarket to replace them for the race meeting.
“It is a very sad day for us,” Meehan said. “It was a horrific incident on the motorway and we would like to send our sincerest condolences to the families of the people who lost their lives. They are foremost in our thoughts.
“Sadly, we have lost Pistolero, who has been with us for a long time.
“He came back with Red Rocks when he won the 2006 Breeders Cup Turf for us and he was not only an invaluable help with a number of the horses both here and on the racecourse, he was a great character.
“He was western-trained and was a treat to ride and children, in particular, used to love him. He was, without doubt, one of our stable stars, and we shall all miss him greatly.”
The accident happened on Thursday around 2.15pm on the M11 highway in Essex in the northbound carriageway near Harlow. A man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and was taken to a police station for questioning.