Horseracing: Aintree defend decision to race

Aintree's executive defended the decision to allow the Martell Grand National, won by Red Marauder, to take place.

Aintree's executive defended the decision to allow the Martell Grand National, won by Red Marauder, to take place.

Only four of the 40-strong field finished the gruelling four and a half miles marathon with underfoot conditions heavy following persistent rain throughout the day.

A statement issued by the course said officials were in no doubt that the race should have taken place and that they were "very pleased that there were no significant equine or jockey injuries."

"The main problem was caused by loose horses and not horses falling," the statement went on.

"Furthermore, the two horses that remounted to finish the course were hacked around at cantering pace, with no attempt made to push their horses along."

Winning jockey Richard Guest admitted he'd had doubts about taking part in the race.

"I have never run in worse conditions," he said.

"We were really lucky to get away with it. I was in two minds about whether we should have gone out there."

The small amount of finishers was expected by clerk of the course Ian Renton who said: "We were always confident that the course was suitable for racing.

"We knew that there would not be a large number of finishers because of the ground but all the horses and riders appear to have come back safe and sound."

Aintree managing director Charles Barnett echoed Renton's views. "It was a great race and the course was safe," he said.

"It was very wet out there but we knew that."

Racecourse chairman Lord Daresbury felt the horses coped well with the conditions.

"They jumped well," he said.

"There would have been more finishers but for the pile-up."

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