There was one horse fatality across the three-day Grand National meet at Aintree after it was announced that Lilbitluso was "destroyed" following a fall on Thursday, according to Jack de Menezes of the London INDEPENDENT. The world’s "most famous race," the Grand National, "appeared to pass without any deaths this year," although Saint Are did require on-course medical attention after falling at the 15th, "yet was able to walk back to the stables for further assessment." But the festivial had "already been marred" following the death of Lilbitluso, which came after a fall in the Foxhunters' Chase. Lilbitluso, a 10-year-old bay gelding trained by John O’Shea, fell at the Canal Turn and "was destroyed after the decision was made due to his extensive injuries." Animal welfare charity PETA was "furious" after news of the death emerged and called on broadcaster ITV to remove its planned coverage of the Grand National, which it did not do. A PETA statement said, "ITV is broadcasting the Grand National, even though this cruel event kills horses" (INDEPENDENT, 4/16).
Events and Attractions
Laughter, sunshine and optimism "were the order of the day at the ceremonial Spring Festival sumo tournament held at a controversial war shrine in Tokyo on Monday," according to Jack Tarrant of REUTERS. As the ancient sport "looks to move on from a raft of negative publicity" surrounding incidents ranging from assault and bullying to accusations of sexism, there were "few signs evident that the recent issues would dampen sumo’s popularity." Hard core sumo fanatics and tourists alike "flocked to the event held at the Yasukuni Shrine, seen by many in Asia as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism." Although rare, female sumo wrestling does occur all over Japan at an amateur level. However, the Japan Sumo Association "does not allow women to compete professionally." The history of sumo, Japan’s national sport, can be traced back more than 1,500 years, "with its roots in a religious ritual conducted in Shinto shrines to pray for abundant harvests" (REUTERS, 4/16).