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2012 John Smith's Grand National.

Discussion in 'Sports General' started by Swami, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Swami

    Swami Well-Known Member

    Grand National: Neptune Collonges seals dramatic victory
    By Frank Keogh
    BBC Sport at Aintree Neptune Collonges beat Sunnyhillboy in the closest-ever Grand National finish but a dramatic race was marred by two horse deaths.

    The grey, a 33-1 chance ridden by Daryl Jacob, got up in the last stride to win after a photo finish and give champion trainer Paul Nicholls his first win in the big race in 53 runners.

    Katie Walsh, bidding to become the first female jockey to triumph, was third on Seabass with Cappa Bleu fourth.

    Two horses - Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and According to Pete - suffered fatal injuries.

    Cornelius Lysaght
    BBC horse racing correspondent
    "There is no doubt this is a black day for the Grand National and for horse racing. Nobody should under-estimate it - this is very serious for everyone in the racing industry. A big dark cloud hangs over the Grand National. Its future is in a certain amount of doubt."
    Synchronised, a stable-mate of runner-up Sunnyhillboy, had been seeking to become the first horse to complete steeplechasing's big-race double in the same season but got loose on the way to the start after unseating champion jockey AP McCoy.

    He was cleared to race but fell at the sixth fence, Becher's Brook, only to continue for five more fences before suffering a fracture at the 11th fence.

    According to Pete suffered a fractured leg when he was brought down after jumping the 22nd fence [Becher's Brook second time round], when On His Own fell in front of him.

    Seabass travelled well throughout the race and looked at one stage as though he might make history for Walsh, who was riding for the first time in the four-and-a-half-mile marathon.

    Her third-place was the highest finish for a female jockey but elder brother Ruby was forced to give up his ride on On His Own on the race after he fell from Zakandar earlier in the day and was stood down for the remainder of the day.

    Neptune Collonges and Sunnyhillboy (16-1) came to the fore and tussled for the lead up the straight, before the Nicholls-trained horse took victory on the line. Winning owner John Hales said immediately afterwards the horse, the first grey winner since Nicolas Silver in 1961, would retire.

    Cappa Bleu finished fourth with In Compliance in fifth. A total of 15 horses out of the 40 starters completed the race.

    Use accessible player and disable flyout menus
    Jacob 'dug deep' for victory
    A clearly overcome Jacob said: "You can't beat this. I was on a tough horse and I said to Paul that one day I would ride you a National winner.

    "That was two years ago and now I've done it."

    Nicholls was thrilled to see the 11-year-old win.

    "He's probably the best horse we've run in the race," he said.

    "He's got great form, he's been placed in Gold Cups, he stays, he's genuine and Daryl gave him a fantastic ride when you analyse where he went. It's absolutely brilliant.

    "It's blown Nicky Henderson out of the water now [in the trainers' championship].

    "Any good race would do, but this is the race we wanted."

    Daryl Jacob facts
    Jacob was appointed second jockey to Paul Nicholls last summer
    He won on Zarkander in the Triumph Hurdle at last year's Cheltenham Festival
    He also rode The Listener to success in the Lexus Chase (Dec 06) and the Hennessy Gold Cup (Feb 08)
    He was a close friend of Irish jockey Kieran Kelly who died in a fall in a race in Ireland in 2003
    Hales had mixed emotions as One Man, probably the best horse he ever owned, was killed in a fall at the Grand National meeting in 1998.

    "When he crossed the line I thought he might have got it," he said. "My first thought was if he has got it Paul has won the trainers' championship. And then I thought thank you Aintree - you know why - many years ago.

    "It split the family coming here. My wife was 50-50, my daughter couldn't face it. She has gone show jumping and is overcome with emotion.

    "We've nothing against Aintree. We love coming here and this year we've come up trumps."

    2012 Grand National

    1. Neptune Collonges (D A Jacob) 33-1

    2. Sunnyhillboy (R P McLernon) 16-1

    3. Seabass (Ms K Walsh) 8-1 Jt Fav

    4. Cappa Bleu (Paul Moloney) 16-1

    5. In Compliance (N Madden) 100-1

    40 ran

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  2. Swami

    Swami Well-Known Member

    I won the office sweepstake! Very sad about the two horses which died, unfortunately this will give the politically-correct and largely ignorant people who supposedly say they care about welfare (yet know nothing about it) their pound of flesh. Working dogs sometimes get killed on farms, circus animals sometimes die - yet do they say anything about them? Equally, they go on and on and protecting badgers - the most vile, full of disease animals possible - which should be culled at every opportunity.


    • Like Like x 1
  3. Mrs. JR Ewing

    Mrs. JR Ewing Well-Known Member

    Way to go Swami! And sorry about the two horses that died. :(
  4. Swami

    Swami Well-Known Member

    Grand National will never be without risk - Paul Nicholls
    Winning Grand National trainer Paul Nicholls says the race will never be without risk following the death of two horses in this year's race.

    Speaking after Neptune Collonges victory, he stressed authorities must make the event "as safe as possible".

    "There are risks and we all try to minimise them. No stone is left unturned," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

    "There is always risk in sport. A lot of people have to grow up, and realise that it is life."

    Use accessible player and disable flyout menusOn Saturday, Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and According to Pete fractured legs and had to be put down by vets following falls on the Aintree course.

    There have now been consecutive Grand Nationals with two fatalities, following the deaths of Dooney's Gate and the Nicholls-trained Ornais last year.

    New safety measures had been introduced for this year following a review, with reductions in the height, and drops on the landing, of several fences made.

    Despite the changes, only 15 of the 40-horse field reached the finishing post.

    Nicholls added: "We've got to be realistic about this. The horses have the best of everything they could have. They probably have better health care than we have.

    "If people are going to continue to participate in sport, there is going to be both a human and animal risk.

    "The worst thing you can do is to go too far. You make the fences smaller, they go faster and you get more fallers."

    Did you know?
    Twenty horses have died on the Grand National course since 2000, pressure group Animal Aid claimed earlier this month

    Source: Animal Aid
    BBC commentator Richard Pitman believes changes must be made following Saturday's tragic events, which marred a thrilling race which Neptune Collonges won by a nose from Sunnyhillboy in a closest-ever finish to the race.

    "There are questions to be asked and answers to be found and we cannot be complacent. We have to address the situation," the former jockey told BBC Radio 5 live.

    "I think that things will have to be changed and I don't agree with the fences being smaller. That encourages horses to go faster. But I think the number of runners should be cut.

    "The number of runners is the key point because quite a lot of horses were brought down by other horses. So if you've more room - say 25 horses instead of 40 - there will be a lot less interference from one to the other."

    The RSPCA says there needs to be a number of drastic changes made to the race - including a reduction in the size of the field and the possibility of Becher's Brook being removed.

    Chief executive Gavin Grant told BBC Breakfast: "Firstly, the scale of the field. Forty horses is a heck of a lot. Secondly, there are unique jumps there that horses aren't experienced in going over and I think we need to look at those jumps again.

    "Becher's Brook has claimed another casualty [According To Pete] and perhaps it's time for that to go.

    "We need to look at the landing areas. Some improvements have been made there, but when you've got a drop on the other side of the fence a horse isn't expecting that.

    "And the going. The ground conditions are very important. Aintree has made a lot of progress making sure the going is softer because when it's hard the horses run faster.

    "There is lots of work to be done to take the risks to horses out of this."

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  5. Maria - Noele Gordon Fan

    Maria - Noele Gordon Fan Active Member

    Lots of analysis there Swami, well done for putting it all up.

    I'm one of The Grand National's greatest fans. I first started to take notice of The Grand National when Red Rum just edged out Crisp in 1973 and have been hooked ever since.

    Yesterday I backed the ill-fated Synchronised, Organisedconfusion, last years winner Ballabriggs (whom I picked out last year) and the 3rd horse Seabass.

    I've seen horses killed in ordinary races and The Grand National, yet always shrugged it off, just one of those things. Yet, yesterday I couldn't. It was sad.

    Jonjo O'Neill suffered heartbreak in the 1979 Grand National, riding Alverton (that years Gold Cup Winner) who died at Bechers Brook. History repeating itself with Jonjo and his Gold Cup winner.

    With hindsight, why oh why was Synchronised allowed to race, he'd already jocked off Tony McCoy ? When after the long delay he was led back and Tony got on board and shown him the first fence, Synchronised didn't even look at it, looked over it. Clare Balding said as much.

    Just all very sad.
  6. Swami

    Swami Well-Known Member

    I think Synchronised got spooked prior to the start. With the lengthy delay in getting him reunited with A P McCoy, the rest of the horses got agitated at the start which contributed to the false starts. I do think they need to consider reducing the numbers, but other than that, I think both deaths had an element of the freak occurrence about them.

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  7. Maria - Noele Gordon Fan

    Maria - Noele Gordon Fan Active Member

    Yes Swami, I think reducing the numbers would be a positive move. Talking about it on the phone yesterday to a friend, we came to this conclusion.

    The Topham Chase on Friday over the National fences has a maximum of 30 runners. I think reducing to 30 would be a move in the right direction.
  8. Swami

    Swami Well-Known Member

    I think they'll probably implement a change of that nature for next year.

  9. Maria - Noele Gordon Fan

    Maria - Noele Gordon Fan Active Member

  10. Swami

    Swami Well-Known Member

    Several trainers have voiced concerns that some of the changes that have been made in recent years have actually served to increase the speed.

  11. Maria - Noele Gordon Fan

    Maria - Noele Gordon Fan Active Member

    That's interesting Swami. Not good.
  12. Swami

    Swami Well-Known Member

    Sychronised death has left us devastated - JP McManus
    Owner JP McManus says the Grand National "should not be devalued" in future after the deaths of two horses, including his Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised.

    The nine-year-old, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, was one of two horses put down after suffering injuries at Aintree.

    The deaths in Saturday's race have raised criticisms about the safety of horses from opponents.

    But McManus said: "We all remain huge supporters of the Grand National."

    His statement added: "Despite all the sadness, as it is a truly fantastic spectacle.

    "It should not be devalued in any way."

    The Irish billionaire has spoken for the first time after Synchronised's death of his "sadness" and "devastation", in a joint statement with O'Neill, jockey AP McCoy and the owner's racing manager Frank Berry.

    Synchronised, who was bidding to become the first horse for 78 years to seal a Gold Cup and Grand National double in the same season, fell at the notorious Becher's Brook fence, unseating McCoy in the process.

    Use accessible player and disable flyout menus
    Neptune Collonges wins Grand National - race in full
    The gelding continued until the 11th fence where he suffered a leg fracture and later had to be put down.

    "Jonjo, AP, Frank and I, and all our families, feel a deep sadness and sense of devastation about the loss of the horse," said McManus.

    "We will always cherish the memory of how great he was in winning the Gold Cup at the festival the previous month.

    "What happened to him appears to be nothing more than a freak accident as his fall did not cause him to lose his life - it was running around loose afterwards.

    "It remains difficult to understand how it happened but regrettably it did."

    Synchronised's connections have moved to deflect the criticism levelled at Aintree by thanking course bosses for their "helpfulness, kindness and consideration" following the race, which was won by Neptune Collonges.

    Synchronised has been laid to rest at his Jackdaws Castle training base and McManus added: "He has left us all with a memory of what a superb equine athlete he was and his name is etched deep in the annals of jumping history as the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

    "We are all very proud of what he achieved for us and the sport as a whole."

    According to Pete also died after suffering a fractured leg when he was brought down after jumping the 22nd fence [Becher's Brook second time round].

    His trainer Peter Nelson has already indicated he will not enter horses into the race again.


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