THREE horses - including one owned by Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp - died while racing at Taunton yesterday (March 1).

Redknapp's horse, Bygones in Brid, fell at the first hurdle when second favourite for the 2.40.

A spokesman for the animal rights group Animal Aid said: "We call upon Harry Redknapp to turn his back on this ruthless business and instead, consider financially supporting hard-pressed animal sanctuaries that care for rejected race horses."

Robert Young, chief executive of the racecourse, defended the record of the Taunton track.

He said: "Like everyone else we are appalled at the deaths but as the season until that point had rendered no fatalities, I really feel that all our bad luck came in one sad day.

"We have experienced over the last three meetings a surfeit of runners and high quality horses prior to Cheltenham.

"The racing has been spectacular and with minimum falls and no injuries."

"I would like to assure everyone that we, in conjunction with the Racecourse Inspectorate are continually looking into any improvements that can and will be made.

"However all three falls were totally independent and at different obstacles so we are unable to apportion the blame to any one fence."