British Horseracing Authority reviews Grand National deaths

17:18 15 April 2012

Neptune Collonges ridden by Daryl Jacob at the water jump during the John Smith

Neptune Collonges ridden by Daryl Jacob at the water jump during the John Smith's Grand National on day three of the 2012 John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Horse Talk: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news

Paul Bittar, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, has confirmed that an examination of the Grand National on Saturday where two horses were killed is at an advanced stage.

This year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Synchronised and According to Pete were both killed in separate falls in the race won by 33-1 shot Neptune Collonges.

The brace of deaths follow the demise of two horses in the 2011 race and Bittar, viewing his first National since taking over as head of the BHA in January, has expressed his sympathies to connections, while assuring the public that the BHA are doing all they can to avoid further casualties.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the connections of Synchronised and According To Pete who we know are devastated at the loss of two home-bred horses which meant so much to them,” Bittar said.

“In November last year, the BHA published the findings from a comprehensive and detailed review of all elements of the Grand National. At this stage, we believe it would be premature to suggest that modifications to the course and other changes have not been effective or will not yet prove to be effective. Since the Review and the implementation of changes, four races have been held over the course without incident prior to yesterday’s running of the Grand National.

“We are reasonably advanced in the process of examining the incidents which led to Synchronised and According To Pete being put down. While that process still needs to be completed, it is relevant to point out that although both horses lost their riders jumping Becher’s Brook, Synchronised galloped away from the fence seemingly without injury and then subsequently incurred a fracture to a hind leg when jumping riderless, while According To Pete was brought down by another horse on the second circuit.

“We will be collating all the relevant information and data from this year’s Grand National meeting so that it can be reviewed in conjunction with the statistics and findings of the Review. Initiatives such as speed sensing on the runners in races over the Grand National course will enable BHA and Aintree to make informed decisions based on factual evidence in our efforts to minimise risk where possible.

“The evidence indicates that the changes and improvements in safety made over the years have led to an overall decrease in injury and fatalities, both on the Grand National course and racing in general. It is important these matters be judged over a period of time. The decade since 2000 was the safest on record for the Grand National with a fatality rate of 1.5% compared to 3.3% at the start of the 1990’s. Sadly, there have been two fatalities in each of the last two runnings of the race. Naturally our objective is for there to be no fatalities, but we also recognise that we cannot remove risk altogether from such a competitive activity.

“The Grand National is a unique race and it represents a unique challenge for the sport and for its regulation. It is a thrilling spectacle, but there is a higher degree of risk involved in the Grand National than other races and for this reason everyone in the sport needs to be conscious of how the race is presented to the public, the general consumer perception and their views of how the race is run.

“This is an event that generates huge public interest and has a global audience of more than half a billion people. We’ve seen record crowds of over 150,000 in attendance at Aintree this week, following on from record numbers through the gates to British Racecourses in 2011. All of this suggests that British racing is doing many things right in the eyes of the consumer. It is critically important to us that the good work being done in racing is not overshadowed by yesterday’s events, and that racing continues to work collectively to develop and maintain this progress.

“In this context, we will be working with Aintree and its owners The Jockey Club, along with other groups in the sport to find the right balance which enables us to maintain the highest standards of safety for our horses and participants and to promote the sport to the widest possible audience.”


Live Blog Transfer Window Live July 28

 

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest football news

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Hugo Lloris of Spurs applauds the fans after the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham and Hull in May. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Hugo Lloris has just ‘a small chance’ of lining up for Tottenham when they travel to Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
The Arsenal players celebrate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's goal on Sunday. Will he be joining Palace's Wayne Hennessey, Swansea's Kyle Naughton, Southampton's Matt Targett and Villa's Scott Sinclair in your Fantasy Premier League side? (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Having problems making that £100m Fantasy Premier League kitty stretch? Then read the second of our fantasy football season previews where we’ve picked five cheap starters for gameweek 1 who are all owned than less than 7% of players.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Charlie Austin of QPR celebrates (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Former Newcastle and West Ham midfielder Lee Bowyer believes Charlie Austin should move to St James’s Park this summer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Yannick Bolasie of Crystal Palace is tackled by Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Yannick Bolasie has tweeted his excitement ahead of Crystal Palace’s new season, a move which has gone down well with their fans.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Sammy Moore in action for Leyton Orient against Braintree Town earlier last month (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Orient midfielder discusses goal target for new campaign and his partnership with Lloyd James

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

You could be zooming around a track of your choice!

Are you a competitive adrenaline junkie with a need for speed? Or looking for a fun family day out?

Read more
Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more