No blame attached to Grand National deaths

No blame attached to Grand National deaths

The British Horseracing Authority’s review of the 2012 Grand National found the circumstances which led to the deaths of Synchronised and According To Pete could have been neither “foreseen nor prevented”.

The report confirmed that Synchronised, who unshipped Tony McCoy on the way to the start, was given a full veterinary examination before he was allowed to line up, and had a heartbeat that registered “barely above a normal resting rate”.

But having fallen at Becher’s Brook on the first circuit he ran riderless until falling again at the 11th fence, where it appeared he fractured his right-hind tibia and fibula.

According To Pete was brought down by a faller at Becher’s on the second circuit but was jumped into by another horse as he got up.

The BHA said it was unclear which incident led to the fracture of the horse’s left-fore humerus.

Jamie Stier, director of raceday operations and regulation for the BHA, said: “The review into how the two sad fatalities came to occur was conducted using veterinary evidence together with detailed analysis of all available television footage.

“The findings include reference to Synchronised getting loose before the start as it was felt important to establish beyond doubt that this episode played no part in the events that resulted in his injury.

“In the case of both Synchronised and According To Pete, it was apparent that factors one could neither have foreseen nor prevented were prevalent in the events that led to the two horses sustaining their injuries.”

Stier also looked into the delayed start, and found that all 40 riders were in breach of the rules.

No disciplinary action will be taken, however, with the jockeys instead to receive letters detailing the BHA’s and Aintree’s disappointment over their conduct at the start.

Stier said: “In relation to the start, we reviewed the television footage and members of the starting team gave their views.

“We found that in the course of the three occasions on which the field lined up before the race was under way all 40 riders appeared to be in breach of the rules, in that they either lined up prior to being instructed to do so, or lined up despite being instructed not to do so.

“However, taking into account the mitigating circumstances caused by the delay to the start of the race, firstly Synchronised getting loose which was then compounded by the complications experienced with re-setting the starting tape, it has been decided that no disciplinary action will be taken.

“Instead we have written to each of the riders expressing both the BHA and Aintree’s disappointment with their conduct at the start.”

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, welcomed the BHA’s decision not to take disciplinary action.

He said: “The PJA therefore welcomes the decision of the BHA not to pursue disciplinary action against any rider for possible misconduct ahead of the start of the 2012 Grand National.

“We are keen to work closely with both the BHA and Aintree ahead of the race next year in order to minimise as much as possible any contributory factors that cause difficulties for the jockeys, the horses and the starting team.”

The BHA have yet to decide whether any further changes will be carried out to the Grand National course.

Stier said: “At this stage, it remains too early to speculate as to whether any changes will be made to the Grand National – either to the start or to other aspects.

“Naturally, we will be liaising closely with Aintree in collating and examining all relevant evidence from this year’s meeting.”

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