According to Pete falls and later dies from injuries sustained in the 2012 Grand National.

BHA surprised by RSPCA Grand National attack and so are we

According to Pete falls and later dies from injuries sustained in the 2012 Grand National.
According to Pete falls at Becher’s Brook and later dies from injuries sustained in the 2012 Grand National. The RSCPA call on the British Horseracing Authority to remove the fence. Photo: SCOTT HEPPELL / AP

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There are a lot of articles on this issue, but we will go with The Guardian’s coverage.

The British Horseracing Authority said on Wednesday it would not be drawn into “any knee-jerk reactions or decisions” following a call by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Becher’s Brook, steeplechasing’s most famous obstacle, to be removed from the Grand National course at Aintree.

Two horses – Synchronised, the Gold Cup winner, and According To Pete – were killed in last month’s National, the former while running loose after a fall at Becher’s on the first circuit and the latter after jumping the fence well before hitting a faller on landing. While neither horse fell at Becher’s, however, the RSPCA responded to the publication of the initial findings of a BHA analysis of the race by describing the fence as “instrumental” in both fatal injuries.

Becher’s was also described as a “killer fence” by Gavin Grant, the RSPCA’s chief executive, who said that, “despite safety improvements, the Grand National is still too risky for the horses” and suggested that the event is “the unacceptable face of racing”.

In my opinion, the RSPCA’s suggestion on the removal of Becher’s Brook is ridiculous. The Grand National is not the only race that includes Becher’s for one thing with little incident. For another, there are fences just as challenging where numerous horses fall.

The drops on the landing side of these jumps also mimick how they occur in nature. Professional racecourse builders would need to be extremely careful before meddling with this, no matter who suggests it.

This to me is an example of animal rights’ groups attempting to dictate policy that is unworkable because (a) they have little to no knowledge of horses or horse racing or (b) they have not carefully thought out their recommendations.

Because of this untenable behavior, horse racing will pay little attention to them in future when they do recommend something sensible that the industry does not agree with but will benefit horses if they enter into intelligent and informed dialogue with them.

We say limit the size of the field and scratch horses who act up at the start. Simple and effective. The jockeys, who are risking their lives as well, concur.

5 thoughts on “BHA surprised by RSPCA Grand National attack and so are we”

  1. Clark is so right, the public that pays for the tickets should boycott, so the racing is NOT dangerous to the horse or jockey, money makes me sick, its all they care about.

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  2. Rolex has similar jumps and no one ever has a problem. The issue is with the entire situation and the obvious arrogance of the racing commission, who is not paying attention.

    A removal of gate receipts may get their attention. Would a boycott help?

    Reforms mean the entire situation has to be reviewed and discussed, not just dismissed out of hand. That is the disrespectful to the paying public, trainers, horse owners, fans, jockeys, breeders, etc.

    When horses keep dying, it is time for reforms that make sense.

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  3. It looks to me like the fence is just to tall for the horses to jump. It’s got plants growing on top of it which could look from a horses point of view like tall bushes not something solid. It needs to be removed.

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    1. Agree. I’m soured on the whole racing stuff. Too many horses die just for a few people’s pocketbook. :-(

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