Hit or Miss? British Horseracing Authority responds to deaths at Grand National

The fatal injury of two horses at the Grand National on Saturday led to renewed criticism of the steeplechase.

Not so Grand National: British Horseracing Authority handling of horse deaths
Not so Grand National: British Horseracing Authority handling of horse deaths

The deaths came despite modifications to three fences following the deaths of two horses in 2011. The British Horseracing Authority, which said it was reviewing the race, released a statement saying the race's safety record had improved and that it was 'premature' to judge the effectiveness of changes to the course.

How I see it

Emma Newell, Head of sport and entertainment, Lexis PR

As one of the crown jewels in the sporting calendar, the Grand National was always going to prompt debate.

The BHA was in a tricky position but struck the right balance in its statement: sympathy, a focus on the facts and highlighting a commitment to safety.

Rather than responding to immediate calls for change from media and animal rights groups, it bought itself time to talk to those involved, confirming a review would take place before it reacted.

Owners, trainers, jockeys and sponsors have all been asked to comment on safety this week, and I expect discussions between the BHA and stakeholders will focus on how changes can be designed to reduce the risk further without jeopardising the appeal of this world-class event.


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