Highland Hunter and Ose Partir - Two horses die on first day of Cheltenham Festival

Highland Hunter ridden by jockey Paddy Brennan. Credit: PA Images

A horse has died at Cheltenham Festival after suffering a fatal injury in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

Race officials confirmed that Highland Hunter had to be put down on Day One of the festival.

Trainer Fergal O'Brien wrote on X, formally Twitter: "Not sure we’ll be tweeting again today after this. Absolutely devastated."Thanks for the messages we’re already receiving and those to come."

Tributes to Highland Hunter have been pouring in on social media.

The horse fell during the third race of Tuesday 12 March's action and was later announced as dead.

Martin Brassil’s Ose Partir also died due to injuries sustained in a fall in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle.

A spokesperson for the course said: “Highland Hunter was immediately attended by expert veterinary professionals in the concluding stages of our third race but sadly passed away.

“In the sixth race, Ose Partir sustained an injury and was humanely put to sleep. Our heartfelt condolences are with the connections of both horses.”

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