Owner: I'll never race at Grand National again

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The Independent Online

The owner of one of the two horses that died after falling at the Grand National has vowed never to enter the event again.

Despite recording one of the closest finishes in its 165-year history, the race was marred by the two fatalities, which again focused attention on safety in the 40-horse strong steeplechase.

Both Synchronised and According to Pete fell at Becher's Brook during the race on Saturday and were later put down. According to Pete was brought down as it jumped the fence for the second time on the four mile and four furlong course.

"If he had won I would have paraded him down the street," said owner Peter Nelson, of Helperby, North Yorkshire. "But now I will never enter the race again. "I know I've had a bad experience, but it's daft, there are 40 horses running and any of them could be brought down at any time."

The race saw just 15 of the field reach the finishing post. The fatalities are likely to lead to a review of fences like Becher's Brook which feature a deeper drop than the approach.

The fence is widely considered to be the most famous in horseracing with an approach of 4ft 10in but a drop on the other side of between 5ft 2in and 5ft 8in.

Four horses died at the Merseyside meeting last year, including two during the Grand National.

The RSPCA described the deaths as "totally unacceptable" and called for an "urgent examination" of the incidents.

"I am not happy about drop fences like Becher's. It appears the horses still had difficulties with it," said RSPCA spokesman David Muir.

Neptune Collonges won by a nose in an electrifying climax to the race. Winning trainer Paul Nicholls yesterday backed calls for improved safety.

The British Horseracing Authority said the deaths would be reviewed and measures could be taken to address the risk of a repeat in future.