Five horses die at 2012 Cheltenham Festival

Last updated at 17:32
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The 2012 Cheltenham Festival has been hit by tragedy, after five horses died in the first two days of racing.

For four days every year the town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is at the centre of the horse racing world.

Over 200,000 people come to cheer on the horses as they race in the Cheltenham Festival.

But this year the event has been hit by tragedy, after five horses died in the first two days of racing.

New safety rules were introduced after nine horses died at Cheltenham in 2006, but animal rights groups say more needs to be done.

The British Horseracing Authority, in charge of horse racing in Britain, says that like any competitive sport, horse racing is risky, but that "there is always more to do" to lessen the risks.

Untreatable injuries

Four of the horses at this year's event suffered broken legs and had to be put down, while one horse died after running a race.

When a race horse breaks a leg badly, experts make the decision whether it will be able to get better with treatment.

If they decide that treatment won't work, the horse has to be put down humanely to avoid unneccessary suffering.