No need to lower the National fences -- jockey champ Katie

Cormac Byrne

RECORD breaking jockey Katie Walsh believes the Aintree Grand National fences should remain unaltered next year despite the carnage at the race.

In her racing column today, Katie, who on Saturday became the highest-placed female in the history of the Grand National, said the deaths of two horses had to be put into perspective.

"They are animals and it has to be put into perspective that they aren't human beings," writes Katie today.

"These horses give us so much joy, but they love what they are doing and I personally don't think that lowering the fences is a good thing."

Official investigations into the deaths of Gold Cup winner Synchronised and According To Pete in the Grand National are "reasonably advanced" according to the British Horseracing Authority.

The safety of the four-and-a-half-mile contest is once again being seriously questioned by welfare groups after Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Synchronised fell jumping Becher's Brook on the first circuit.

According To Pete was brought down at Becher's the second time round and also had to be put down.

Katie who bravely steered Seabass, a horse trained by her father Ted, into third in the race believes there is always an element of risk to horseracing and no new measures are needed

"As seems to be always the case now, there was a bit of controversy over the National again, but I was upset to see that nobody seemed to mention that Noel Fehily broke his leg in three places and how lucky Ruby was after his horrific fall," she wrote today in the Herald.

"I can't say enough how loved every horse was that ran at Aintree last week. We all love our horses and nobody wants to see any of them get hurt, but that happens."

This year's National was the first to be run since an extensive safety review, leading to a number of changes to fences and race conditions.

The RSCPA has urged further review, particularly into 'drop' fences such as Becher's.

BHA chief executive Paul Bittar said in a statement: "Since the Review and the implementation of changes, four races have been held over the course without incident prior to Saturday'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."

Read Katie's Diary, See sport SPORT