The Grand National has been condemned as ‘vile’ and ‘disgusting’ after three horses died at this year’s event.
Horses Up for Review, Forest Des Aigles and Crucial Role all died across the weekend of racing.
The British Horseracing Authority will not conduct an independent review of this year’s event despite the deaths, but will instead simply carry out normal review procedures.
BHA officials defended the race’s record as having a ‘strong recent record’ with regards to horse deaths.
“As a sport of animal lovers, we wanted every horse to come home – and sadly that’s not been the case with Up For Review,” Jockey Club Racecourses North West regional director Dickon White told BBC Sport.
“All of us at Aintree extend our sympathies to owners Andrea and Graham Wylie and the team behind the horse.
“You have to go back to 2012 since we lost a horse in the Grand National, thanks in part to the huge amount of effort and investment we put into horse welfare.
“However, while you cannot remove all risk from our sport, we will analyse what happened and leave no stone unturned in doing so.”
But animal rights activist were unimpressed by the lack of action, and posted their outrage on social media.
The RSPCA said in a statement it was “deeply saddened and concerned to see the deaths of three horses at Aintree this year”.
“The death of any horse is always one too many and it’s crucial that steps are urgently taken to reduce the risk of these tragedies,” a spokesman said.
British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust told Sky Sports News: “It is obviously sad when we lose any horse, but it is important to note that the Grand National Festival, and the big race itself, have a very strong recent record since the measured changes implemented by the course and the BHA following the review in 2011.
“As you would expect, and as is the case after every race run under the rules of British racing, we’ll look at the incidents that took place, gather information about them and build any relevant learnings into future regulatory policy.”
David Sykes, director of equine health and welfare, added: “Aintree racecourse and the BHA worked together in the run-up to this year’s meeting to ensure the preparations to keep the event safe were the best ever. We introduced additional measures based on the work done in the Cheltenham Review.
“All the horses taking part had passed medical checks before racing and the jockeys had received a personal briefing from the Clerk of the Course and the BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer.
“However, there is a level of risk involved in any activity in which horses take part. We work hard as a sport to keep those risks to a minimum and remove avoidable risk.
“We will take a measured, evidence-based approach to assessing the incidents, which will include reviewing video footage of all incidents and working with jockeys and trainers to ascertain exactly what caused the injuries.”
What do you think of the Grand National? Tell us in the comments section below!
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