Grand National fallers: speed to blame and no easy solution say trainers

Top trainer Kim Bailey and Lucinda Russell cover the aftermath of the Grand National on their blogs.  Below is an extract from each with links to the blogs.

Kim Bailey

“The down side of Saturdays race was the sad demise of two horses; we trainers, owners, staff and jockeys love our horses and seeing the two horses die on the course was very sad indeed.  The race was run in the second fastest time in history (I think I am right in that assumption), a record set by my winner Mr Frisk it was very fast ground then; speed always causes more horses to fall as they are racing one stride faster than normal and those fences are big. Sadly at the pace the race was run horses fell and however much we school over fences and try to eliminate these falls they still do happen.

“The horses that run in our races are loved, cherished, under constant care and attention and obviously that includes vet care as well; in fact not many humans have such attention as we all know too well when reading all the horror stories we read about hospitals in this country. In fact our racehorses are very lucky, as without racing most would be neglected, ill fed and unwanted.. what an awful life they would have then”.

Kim Bailey’s blog

Lucinda Russell

“I am not sure what Aintree can do to make the track and fences safer, other than to make the ground softer so that the horses run slower. Unfortunately, as in many things, speed increases danger. I hope that the bad headlines do not detract from Donald McCain’s fantastic training performance, and the superb ride of Jason Maguire. Ballabriggs is the star of the show and the Grand National has now elevated him to greatness”.

Lucinda Russell’s blog

About Steeplechasing

Writer, horse-racing fan, cyclist, consultant, entrepreneur. Worked at Aintree, SiS, The Tote, Ladbrokes. Created scoop6. Now run Gamtrain Ltd

Posted on April 11, 2011, in John Smith's Grand National and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. If ever there was a promotional video to portray the love grooms have for their horses, then the raw, as it happens, interview with Ballabriggs’ lad Ed, should be used. If he’s in it for the money I’ll do my walkingthewalk barefoot.

  2. Have to agree with those comments. A couple of thoughts on the “speed” issue:
    (a) could the race-date be moved a week earlier, and so bring about more likelihood of softer going? (b) having watched the 1958 race in video won by Mr What, could the jockeys be required to ride with a longer stirrup length for just the National? (c) could the start of the race be moved (ie, for 400 yards the horses run the “wrong way” up the back stretch of the Mildmay Course and then do a sharp left to the 1st fence)?
    Much as I love the race having grown-up with it, I have no answer to the “horses don’t have a choice” argument other than retorting that chickens, pigs, cows and lambs don’t have much choice either (born to be eaten) – and nor do the millions of fish thrown back into the sea to die as EU quotas have been already met.
    But that is not an argument, more a jibe.

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