Just over a year and a half ago there was an interesting post on this site and the number of finishers in the Aintree Grand National through time. You'll find the piece here. This is an extension of that work in some ways and is motivated by the running of the Melbourne Cup earlier this week.
For those unfamiliar with horse racing, the Aintree Grand National run in Liverpool is very different to the Melbourne Cup in Australia. The Grand National is run over more than 4 miles and involves jumping 30 fences. The Melbourne Cup is a flat race run over 2 miles.
Jump racing brings with it inherent dangers - to both horses and jockeys - that do not exist to the same extent in flat racing.
The data below presents the number of horse fatalities between 2000 and 2020 for both races. The first figure plots the cumulative number of deaths in both races.
12 horse have died in the Grand National. 7 have died in the Melbourne Cup.
Since 2010 more horses have died in a 2 mile flat race than in a 4+ mile steeplechase. There has been 7 fatalities in the past 8 years. This compares to 1 fatality in the Grand National since 2012. This is remarkable.
One can only speculate on what is causing this (ground conditions, number of runner) but this trend needs to be halted.