A horse has been killed at the 2024 Grand National meeting at Aintree on Friday.

Gionvinco died after suffering fatal injuries during the first race on Ladies Day. He was trained by two-time Grand National winning trainer Lucinda Russell.

The seven-year-old fell at the last fence in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices' Chase as he challenged for fifth place. A screen was placed around the horse as he was treated by vets on the track for a considerable time. Thousands of anxious spectators looked on and waited for news but he could not survive his injuries.

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"Giovinco suffered what proved to be a fatal injury" said ITV Racing host Ed Chamberlain. "Our condolences to the owners, to Steven Mulqueen and Lucinda Russell. Poor Lucinda, such a great ambassador for the sport, she will be hurting badly right now."

An Aintree Racecourse spokesperson said: "During our first race of the day, Giovinco fell at the last fence and was immediately attended to by our expert veterinary professionals."

"After assessment, sadly they concluded the necessary course of action for the horse's welfare was to put him to sleep. Our heartfelt condolences are with his connections."

The sad news comes after a number of safety changes were introduced for this year's event, including reducing the number of horses competing in Saturday's big race from 40 to 34.

63 horses have died at the race meeting in its history, with four fatalities occurring last year alone. Envoye Special died on the first day of last year's meeting, with Dark Raven killed in a race hours ahead of the Grand National. In the main event, Hill Sixteen suffered a broken neck at the first fence, while Hullnback died weeks later of an infection caused by an injury sustained in a race earlier in the festival.

The fatal race on Friday was won by 6-4 favourite Inothewayurthinkin who led home a one-two for owner J P McManus.