Saturday 25 January 2020

RSPCA call for becher's ban

The RSPCA have called for Becher's Brook to be eliminated from the Grand National course, and for a reduction in the field capacity of 40 runners.

But the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) have indicated there will be no knee-jerk changes prior to the results of an official examination into the deaths of two horses in Saturday's race.

As racing assessed the fallout from an eventful National, former jockey Mick Fitzgerald, a winner of the race on Rough Quest, said changes to Becher's may have made it more dangerous .

"I spoke to Robbie Power (who rode Killyglen) after the race and he said that, previously when you got to Becher's, there was a lot of room because the way the 'drop' was before.

"Nobody, except the really brave men and the guys who were on horses they knew would be able to cope with the drop, went down the inside.

"It meant the whole field spread out when they got to Becher's, whereas now that the drop has been levelled off, nobody moved off that inside.

"They all piled up on the inner, hence the reason you get a faller and one being brought down."

Synchronised came down at Becher's on the first circuit, but he then galloped riderless, jumping a further five fences before breaking a leg. A micro-chip inserted in his numbercloth is expected to supply vital data to assist in the compilation of a report that will determine whether changes are to be made to the course.

The process of speed-sensing acts like a GPS, which can list in detail the exact route taken by the horse, the speed at which he was travelling, and, crucially in this case, it will also indicate how long it was before the hind-leg fracture he sustained restricted his movement to the point where he could be caught.

AP McCoy was still too devastated by the loss of Synchronised to discuss the matter yesterday.

"AP is very upset for the loss of Synchronised as is everyone involved in the horse, the team at Jackdaw's Castle and the McManus family," said his wife, Chanelle. "He hasn't seen a replay and he's not going to. He's devastated and it's all too raw and upsetting at the moment."

She added that the jockey, who was stood down after the National, would miss the start of this week's racing because he was still very sore.

The loss of According To Pete will have been felt with equal pain by his owner-breeder, Peter Nelson, the motor mechanic and paper delivery man from North Yorkshire.

When According To Pete won the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on St Stephen's Day it was as good as winning top honours at Cheltenham, the Nelson family had said.

Irish Independent

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