Racing / Grand National: Travel Over hurt by tape tangle

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The Independent Online
ONLY one horse, Travel Over, appears to have suffered serious injury in the National fiasco. Fears that Howe Street, who returned in a horse ambulance, may have been badly hurt were unfounded. He was just hitching a lift, writes John Cobb.

The racing career of Travel Over may be at an end after the 12-year-old twisted and bruised a tendon when he became tangled in the broken starting tape.

'The tapes became wrapped round his near-fore and tightened round his leg,' his trainer, Richard Lee, said. 'It would feel to him like someone was trying to restrain him and he must have panicked. It's a serious injury and it might well be that he will not be able to race again.'

In contrast, Howard Johnson, reported that there was 'not a scratch on' Howe Street despite his awkward fall at the 20th fence. 'If they had rescheduled the race in four to six weeks' time, I would have been tempted to keep him in training and have another go,' the County Durham trainer said.

'He came back by ambulance only because he fell such a long way from the stands. The ambulance offered a lift and the lad who had gone to fetch him took it,' Johnson's wife, Sue, said.

'Andy Orkney (his jockey) said that the horse wouldn't have come down but for the confusion,' she said. 'He could feel the horse was losing concentration.'

Of the other fallers, Farm Week was reported to be 'a bit stiff' by Toby Balding's stable, while Ginger McCain said that his Sure Metal was 'sore, but with nothing seriously wrong'.

Ben de Haan, who rode Royal Athlete until they parted company at the fence after Valentine's, said that he believed the horse had returned unscathed.