British Grand National Course Changed Following Deaths

August 16, 2011

The British Grand National course at Aintree will be changed following the deaths of two horses during the 2011 race.

Aintree executives and the British Horseracing Authority responded to widespread criticism of this year’s events by initiating a review.

The first and fourth fences and Becher’s Brook were identified as the greatest contributors to all incidents since 1990. Now modifications to each of these fences have been recommended to enhance safety in the future.

Recommendations are also set to be made for the creation of a new post-race washdown and cooling area off the course.

Organizers are also set to allow the shortening or removal of the pre-race parade in warm weather conditions.

“We never stand still on safety and it is our No. 1 target to reduce manageable risk without reducing the unique nature of a race which is part of the fabric of the nation,” Aintree’s managing director Julian Thick said.

Senior jockeys and trainers, as well as the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare were consulted.

“Racing is never risk-free for horse or jockey, but by making these changes, Aintree is demonstrating they do care about horse welfare,” World Horse Welfare deputy chief executive Tony Tyler said. “We hope next year’s race will be the safest yet.”

The BHA’s formal review will not be released until October, although it is expected that the fences will have been changed by the time of the track’s December meeting.

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