Grief after Grand National

According to Pete's back in his stables near Malton

The trainer of a North Yorkshire horse put down after suffering a fracture while falling in yesterday’s Grand National has spoken of his loss. According To Pete was one of two horses which died after the race. Some animal rights campaigners are calling for the course to be made safer.But Malcolm Jefferson, who trained According To Pete at his stable at Norton, near Malton, says his horse loved to run.

The British Horseracing Authority said the news was sad - and they would examine exactly what caused the fatal injuries.

We are very sad about the fatal injuries suffered by Synchronised and According to Pete in the Grand National. In both cases the horse incurred a fracture to the leg and the humane option was to put the injured horses down.The Grand National undoubtedly represents a challenge to both horse and rider. It has inherent risks, but, working closely with Aintree and other stakeholders, we do all we can to minimise these risks while maintaining the unique character of the race. We will examine closely the circumstances which led to both incidents.The key data from these accidents will be collated, as is the BHA’s policy in the event of any serious equine injury. Each year the BHA and Aintree review all incidents which occur during the Grand National meeting and consider what measures can be taken to address the risk of a repeat in the future.The BHA takes its responsibility of looking after the welfare of horse and rider very seriously. We consult and work with recognised welfare organisations such as the RSPCA, SSPCA and World Horse Welfare. It is our stated objective to continue to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities which occur in racing.

The RSPCA is demanding a change to the format of the race - and claims excessive use of the whip should mean the result - which saw Neptune Collonges stride to victory by a whisker - should not stand.

The death of two horses at the Grand National, bringing the total to three at the Aintree meeting, is totally unacceptable.This is the second year running that two horses have died. In it's current format, the risks to horses are not appropriate and we want an urgent examination of the Grand National, including a number of fences including Beecher's Brook where horses are continuing to die despite safety improvements. It would appear the whip was overused in the final stages of the race. If that is the case it is totally unacceptable and given the narrow margin of the win I believe the result should be reversed.