BHA attribute no blame over National fatalities
BRITISH racing chiefs have concluded that "factors one could not have foreseen nor prevented were prevalent" in the events which led to two fatalities in the Grand National.
If that phrase is a complicated way of saying a certain amount of "bad luck" was involved in the deaths of both Synchronised and According To Pete, the findings into the chaotic start are much clearer.
The British Horseracing Authority report blamed the jockeys for three times disobeying the starter's orders not to line up.
This interim report, no more than an initial analysis to clear up the events surrounding the deaths and the start, was published yesterday and stopped short of suggesting more modifications. However, it did not rule them out either. Whether there are to be any changes will become clear after a more detailed analysis, which will be incorporated to data already collated in the comprehensive 2011 Grand National Review.
"At this stage it is too early to speculate as to whether any changes will be made to the Grand National, either to the start or otherwise," said Jamie Stier, director of raceday operations.
The findings did establish beyond doubt that Synchronised getting loose and cantering off before the race played no part in the events which resulted in his injury. When caught, his heart and respiratory rates were barely elevated above normal resting rates.
Using video evidence and speed sensors attached to the number cloths, the BHA also concluded that after his fall at Becher's there was no evidence that Synchronised was carrying an injury. The fatal injury occurred at the 11th where he slowed, hit the fence and dragged his hind end through it.
According To Pete was upsides eventual winner Neptune Collonges when he was brought down at Becher's on the second circuit. He was seventh with a clear space in front of him when On His Own fell across his path. As he got up he was also in collision with Weird Al and it's unclear which incident caused his near-fore humerus to fracture.
The jockeys, all 40 of whom had spent 15 minutes beforehand going through the race with the stewards, took little heed of their chat.
Indeed 36 of them burst the tapes while AP McCoy was still having his girths checked on Synchronised. By the time they finally got off all 40 jockeys had, at some stage, disobeyed the starter's instruction not to line up.
However, the BHA decided not to bring charges and took into account the effect the delay caused by Synchronised's late arrival and the problems officials had in fixing the elastic tape.
Elsewhere, Richard Hughes made his long-awaited comeback at Lingfield yesterday after serving a 50-day ban handed out by the Indian racing jurisdiction, which was reciprocated by the BHA. "It's just good to be out of the house," said Hughes. (© Daily Telegraph, London)