Irish jockey Daryl Jacob won the Aintree Grand National aboard Neptune Collonges on Saturday, but the race was marred again by tragedy as favorite Synchronised, the Gold Cup winner owned by JP McManus, was put down after breaking his leg during the race.
A second horse, According to Pete, was also put down after breaking a leg as animal rights campaigners called for changes to the famous race.
Winning Grand National trainer Paul Nicholls later told those who criticize horse racing to “grow up and accept no sport is risk free.”
He added, “There are risks and we all try to minimize them. No stone is left unturned. There is always risk in sport. A lot of people have to grow up and realize that it is life.”
“Horses have the best of everything and 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.”
Winning jockey 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 said, “He’s probably the best horse we’ve run in the race. “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 analyze where he went. It’s absolutely brilliant.”
Ireland’s Katie Walsh was also a national hero as she came in third on Seabass, the best finish ever by a female jockey.