UK & World News
Grand National Race Marred By Horse Deaths
A thrilling end to the Grand National was overshadowed by the deaths of two horses including last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised.
Neptune Collonges became the first grey horse to win the Aintree race in more than 50 years after beating Sunnyhillboy in a photo finish.
The 33-1 shot, ridden by Daryl Jacob, came from behind and lunged at the line to land the honours by a nose against jockey Richie McLernon's 16-1 horse.
It was trainer Paul Nicholls' first victory in the race after sending out 52 previous runners.
The last grey National winner was Nicolaus Silver in 1961.
But there was sad news as big favourite Synchronised, ridden by Tony McCoy, suffered a fatal injury after falling early in the four-and-a-half mile race.
According To Pete also died following a fall during the steeplechase.
The beginning of the race had been delayed for a few minutes after McCoy, on board Synchronised, was tipped out of the saddle.
Although they were reunited before the start, the horse fell at the Becher's Brook fence first time round.
According To Pete, who was brought down at Becher's on the second circuit, was also put down.
Some fences had been modified for the race after a safety review at the course following the death of two horses during last year's National.
The RSPCA told Sky News that serious questions must be asked about the safety of the race.
The organisation's equine consultant David Muir said: "The RSPCA cannot continue to let this go on, whereby we had two horses die last year and a further two this year.
"One of the things we must look at is risk factors - relating to the number of fallers and the number of finishers.
"This unique race... if it is to continue, it must realise horse deaths are unacceptable to the society and the public at large."
Julian Thick, Aintree managing director, said: "We are desperately sad at these two accidents and our sympathies are with the connections of both horses.
"When a horse gets hurt, everyone is deeply upset.
"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."
Jacob said of Neptune Collonges' victory: "You can't beat this. I was on a tough horse and I said to Paul that one day I would ride you a National winner.
"That was two years ago and now I've done it."
Nicholls said: "He's probably the best horse we've run in the race.
"He's got great form, he's been placed in Gold Cups, he stays, he's genuine and Daryl gave him a fantastic ride when you analyse where he went. It's absolutely brilliant.
"It's blown Nicky Henderson out of the water now (in the trainers' championship). Any good race would do, but this is the race we wanted."
Katie Walsh, who was aiming to become the first female jockey to win the event, was third on board 8-1 joint favourite Seabass - the best ever finish by a woman rider.
Cappa Bleu, at 16-1, was fourth at the Aintree racecourse.
Walsh said: "I had an unbelievable spin. It was a fantastic experience. It was great to get round.
"I can't believe it's all over and I can't wait to do it again. At the third-last I was going OK but after the second-last I didn't think I was going to win."
what do you think?
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
Good idea - seems fair
Quite frankly it's barbaric, horses are beautiful creatures who should just be left to be in their own environment not in races.
When is this 'race' either going to be scrapped or the fences made less dangerous? It's barbaric and cruel - in this day and age its disgusting !
Lorna - They made the fences easier a few years ago now,in my view more horses are being killed in the race now as a result of this because owners now put their horses in the race even though they know they don't jump well which before they would not have done so. Also horses are going faster over the fences now they are easier which makes falls likely to be worse unfortunately.
I do not see the health and safety busy bodies taking the side of horses.
No David, because they're horses and not people!
I agree its fences have been made smaller, but there are far to many horses and yeh they love running and jumping BUT if that was true with a jockey on its back why do they need a whip !!! KARMACANIC stick to your cars !! Everything that breathes deserves to be treat with respect !!
Well footballers sometimes die on the field - wadda you want to do: ban all sports?
Footballers have a choice, horses do not !!
Footballers are paid handsomely!
Ever seen a riderless horse during a race David? Do they stop, put up their hooves and order a taxi - No, they keep running and even jump over fences with the others.
Has everyone learnt nothing at school about animals and their habits?! Horses will continue to run as that is their nature, they don't want to be left behind from the rest!
Most of the footballers die without knowing that something could kill them at any time ! But !! like David says if they do not feel well then they can say !! or if they are terrified !! Gengisken sarcasm is the lowest form of wit !!
I'm sorry. If the horse does not want to jump....it won't. I feel for the horses, owners etc, but its up to the trainers to ensure they are fit enough to go the distance. you wouldn't enter the London marathon if you knew you would not last the distance, and that has its fatalities every year!! does that make the news..no!
You feel for the owners, that is pathetic,if they really loved their horses, they would not enter them into a race that has fatalities. The race is purely entertainment for the few.
The have to jump. They are fit enough - the fittest in the sport and it still kills them. It's too tough a challenge.
1 footballer has died today and only a month ago we nearly lost a bolton player, do you think football is to tough as well.
People moaning about this race AGAIN!!!! The horses are doing what they love best, racing, fast.
Since when could you read a horse's mind !!!
They do love racing - but just watch how - with their pals in a field - not being whipped silly over jumps high enough to kill even the best in the sport!
Well said, Julie. The horses are brought up to race from an early age. It sure as hell looks as if they love racing to me. Even the horses that lose a jockey sometimes continue to race along riderless!
Exactly David !!! I would like to know how you know this Julie ???
I have read, and, this is from the horse's mouth, that, the owners of the horse's in the race, say that the horse's enjoy the race. Since when, did humans learn horse speak, how do they know what is going on in the mind of the horse. This is a savage sport, these beautiful creatures should not be subject to such abject cruelty for the sake of enterainment.
Bit like fishing, a barbaric sport for the few lol, I've been brought up with horses and i know if a horse doesn't want to jump it won't jump, take that from a man who's ended up the other side of jumps many times.
If the horse dont wanna race, move or jump, IT WONT!!!!
umm yeh a horse will carry on around the course but not always taking the jump !!! And even if it does not want to carry on its whipped until it does !! cruel race !!!
The horse is whipped until it jumps ..... Didnt one of the horses who was put down have issues, shall we say, before the race and it took some doing getting him to even race ??? BTW love the terminology in this article..."died" and "accident" bah ...murder and incident more like
I'm feeling extremly guilty for my "cheeky little bet" now that my horse has been shot :(
Any animal lost through sport is one animal too many.
If it wasn't for the sport, the horse most probably wouldn't exist in the first place! They're bred to be racehorses.
Mark 'Twiggy' Beard
Karmatic horses would still exists even if it wasn't for racing. The horses in these races are bred spercificly for speed and thats it. The down side to them being bred just for that is the chances of fatal injuries is far higher for the horse if something does go wrong in these races
When horses like this are injured they are put down, this way the owners can claim back on their insurance...it would cost them too much to treat them and then keep them as expensive pets! Its so very wrong.
Didnt realise! Always about bloody MONEY!!!!!!
The "Nanny Attitude" is alive and well and contributing to this commentary - I expect the Government will be forced to have air bags fitted to all horses from now on - Grow up everyone this is life to be lived!! not to be castrated by a bunch of risk-averse do-gooders!!
william piero chainey
I hope your life goes well, mate
This is a life to be lived?! Why don't you try leaping off a building for the 'buzz' of it? Go on, it's just a risk, isn't it?! But for the jockeys on their backs the horses,if lined up on that course, would not push themself round that course of jumps for the thrill that 'life is to be lived'
You are a silly little man, arnt you,malc!
The horses dont have a choice in any of this - They dont get to live their life and take risks they want to ! Its a sport where we deliberately put horses lives at risk for our pleasure and it is avoidable
I think it should be banned! I am a horsey woman and my daughters have horse's. I will never watch or even bet on any kind of sport to do with any animals. Grand national is tradition............., but so was hunting. Hunting got band so why can't this???? People say about footballers who die on the pitch, footballers can speak and say when they are not well. Animals can't!!!!!!
This is a sport, horses are doing this naturally, more unridden horses jumping for fun than ridden ones, don't like to see any deaths but as far as the RSPCA is concerned, they have a neck to talk about cruelty when they allow without comment the barbaric method of killing animals the Halal way with no stunning and in full view of other waiting animals, one law for one culture another for the sporting culture eh! A wonder no pratt was trying to swim across the grass.
Horses that had no riders on WILL continue to run with the others as that is their nature, they won't stop and be on their own away from the safety of the rest! Idiot!
william piero chainey
This is a sick horse race.it should be banned.
Its a horse . . . Who cares
You posted a comment, so you DO care! Pr*ck!
william piero chainey
Yeah so who will care Ian Harris when you go
Dont bite, ppl! He only looking for reaction! Have a word with yourself, ian!!!!
i would rather put the likes of you down before an inocent animal.
How sad that there are people like Ian Harris in this world. He is obviously a young punk who needs to grow up. Hope he doesnt believe in Karma. Intelligent folk will know what I mean by that. This cruelty in horse racing MUST be stopped
They've just banned outright performance animals in circuses haven't they?
surely they can't put the horse down because it has a broken leg.. thats just cruel!!
Unfortunately, there is no way of immobilising a horse for the long duration it would take the leg to heal.
No, they would rather claim on the insurance, all about MONEY!!!!
How could they put down a horse that not only got up after the fall, but continued to run and jump another fence???? Money, I guess, rather than give a lot of time and TLC to a beautiful creature they would rather pull in the insurance money. Utter greed and selfishness. Insurance should not be paid out in these instances, maybe just support with vetenary care, might make the fat cats think twice before giving the nod to kill them!!!!!!!!!!!
He was put to sleep with a broken leg the leg broke in the fall but at the time the adrenalin kept him going. They didnt just put him down because they felt like it...
Why do people comment on this race once a year? do they tune in to watch their £1.00 sweepstake and then suddenly become equine experts? Horses get killed in racing all the time its just that this is the most famous steeplechase in the world. I do not condone the deaths of any racehorses but they happen each day in training, schooling and out in the field. I agree that the race should be modified but you will never get it banned it makes too much money and that is unfortunately is what people think about these days.