A WELL-KNOWN racehorse called Dark Raven died during the Grand National after suffering a heavy fall and fatal injury.

The horse took the fall at Aintree on Grand National Day when coming down the seventh obstacle on the course.

The horse, which was trained by Willie Mullins, was competing in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices' Hurdle before he went down hard and received serious injuries.

This sent jockey Paul Townend crashing to the ground in a race that was won by Irish Point.

Dark Raven second horse to lose life at Grand National 2023 after Envoye Special dies

The six-year-old horse is the second horse to lose its life during the popular three-day event with Envoye Special having suffered another fatal injury in the Randix Foxhunters' Open Hunters' Chase on Thursday.

Envoye Special was racing over the Grand National fences when it lost its partner, it then rode riderless but fell at one of the subsequent fences.

Rachael Blackmore-ridden Cool Survival was another horse to fall.

Dark Raven owner Simon Munir thanks 'kind messages' after horses death at Grand National 2023

Dark Raven, which was owned by Simon Munir and Issac Souede has won three of his five races and finished sixth in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Munir said of the news on Twitter: "Thank you for all your kind messages on the sad loss of our dear Dark Raven RIP."

A spokesperson for Aintree Racecourse added: “Dark Raven was immediately attended to by our expert veterinary professionals during the third race of the day. After assessment, sadly they concluded the necessary course of action for the horse's welfare was to put him to sleep. Our sincere sympathies are with his connections.”

Animal rights group to disrupt Grand National 2023

This news comes amid a backdrop of concern over animal rights activism at the controversial Grand National event.

Animal Rising suggested that they would disrupt the event by scaling the fences to force entry and attempt to prevent the races from starting.

This has seen several activists arrested already this weekend.

A spokesperson for the group Nathan McGovern said: “We do plan to be periodically blocking Ormskirk Road, the access road to the front of the racecourse, to disrupt the entry to the venue throughout the day.

“The group of people at the front will be peacefully attempting to make their way over perimeter fences/walls at the front of Aintree before the Grand National race begins with the intention of making their way onto the track.

“And all of this is before the race even starts. We will not be entering the track if there are horses and jockeys riding.”