15 Apr 2012

Horse deaths put Grand National under scrutiny

8:10 am on 15 April 2012

Two horses have died in Britain's Grand National steeplechase event.

One, the favoured Synchronised, fell at the Becher's Brook fence on the first circuit, breaking a leg, and was put down.

There were also two deaths in the famous race last year, which led to some of the more challenging fences being modified.

Changes included lowering the drop side of the infamous Becher's Brook

The deaths are certain to put the Grand National under further scrutiny and renew calls by animal rights groups to ban the event.

Since 1973, there have been 33 horse deaths in the showpiece steeplechase.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) equine advisor David Muir said organisers needed to reconsider the number of runners, the number of fences, the length of the race and the type and design of the jumps.