UK & World News
Grand National Horse Deaths: 'Speed Kills'
The Grand National winner Neptune Collonges received a hero's welcome home - as it was claimed some safety measures may have made the race more dangerous.
Two horses were put down after falling during the world famous steeplechase and the row has continued over whether the event was safe enough.
Speaking as hundreds of people gathered to see a victory parade by Neptune Collonges in Ditcheat, Somerset, trainer Paul Nicholls said: "Instead of concentrating on a wonderful win, we got a little bit of negative press."
The race was overshadowed by the deaths of Gold Cup champion Synchronised and another well-fancied contender, According To Pete.
The tragedies prompted renewed calls for the historic race to be axed.
After last year's National, where two horses also died, campaigners demanded the height of the jumps at Aintree to be lowered.
Explaining the new safety measures, former Grand National-winning jockey Bob Champion told Sky News some of the measures have actually made matters worse.
"In my opinion they've made the fences a little bit too small," he said.
"Aintree have done their best to keep everybody happy, but the problem is, the smaller fences create more speed - and it's speed that kills."
But Aintree's managing director Julian Thick said after the race: "Safety is the first priority for the organisers of the Grand National and we make every effort to ensure that everyone involved in the event is able to participate safely."
Winning jockey Daryl Jacob told Sky News the deaths were unfortunate - but that they were part of the sport.
"It's not nice when a couple of horses unfortunately lost their lives," he said.
"But that's sport. It happens every day. It happens every day, it happens to human beings, it happens to animals.
"Unfortunately that's professional sport and, you know, it's going to happen. We love our horses, we don't want it to happen, but unfortunately it does happen sometimes."
Back at the victory parade following Neptune Collonges' photo finish, Mr Nicholls told Sky News' Lisa Dowd: "You just look at all these people, all the well-wishers who have come to see him and all of them watched the race.
"There has been some negative press but let's just enjoy the moments like this and just see how popular the whole thing was.
"It was a wonderful performance by a wonderful horse, it is great to see so many people come to see him."