Horse Talk: Grand National is safer than ever

Simon Jackson, racing columnist for the Ham & High series, gives tips and advice on upcoming races

Simon Jackson, racing columnist for the Ham & High series, gives tips and advice on upcoming races - Credit: Archant

The conduct of jockeys at the Grand National – won by outsider Auroras Encore – has been praised by officials.

The victory of the 66-1 shot capped a magical day at Aintree, where horses and jockeys benefited from the changes brought in since the brace of equine fatalities in 2012.

This year – when there were no injuries and only two horses fell – the race included the modification of fences where the wooden centrepieces were replaced with plastic.

“The smooth start, reduced faller rate and absence of injury to either horse or rider is a powerful endorsement for the safety measures introduced not only this year, but also those implemented in recent years,” said British Horseracing Authority (BHA) chief executive Paul Bittar.

“The evidence shows that the welfare record of races run over the Grand National course has been one of steady improvement over the last decade. Aintree’s commitment to the welfare of horse and rider has already been demonstrated through its substantial financial investment in safety measures.

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“The BHA is determined to maintain that trend and further manage levels of risk, while acknowledging there is no such thing as a risk-free National.”

The Grand National provided a fairytale result for trainer Sue Smith and jockey Ryan Mania, who suffered a heavy fall at Hexham the day after his nine-length victory.

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Simon Jackson is a freelance racing journalist based in north west London. He can be reached at for press and PR enquiries, or racing/betting related news stories and features.

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