Aintree marred by horse casualties

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The Independent Online

Albertas Run held off a strong challenge from Forpadydeplasterer to win the Melling Chase today, while the second day of the Grand National meet was marred by the deaths of three horses in falls.

Ridden by 14-time champion jockey Tony McCoy, the nine-year-old winner was challenged by Davy Russell on Forpadydeplasterer at the last of the 16 fences. The two horses were almost level but McCoy got his gelding to respond and pull clear to win the £100,000 race by three lengths.

"He jumped brilliantly except for the last down the back," McCoy said. "I knew when I came round the bend to the third-last I wanted to really stretch the speed horses. Good ground is a huge help to him. He's a real confident horse on good ground."

Schindlers Hunt, a 10-year-old ridden by Paddy Flood, was fatally injured in a fall at the third and the field bypassed the fence on the second circuit. Flood broke his collarbone.

Prudent Honour and Plaisir d'Estruval died after falls at the same fence in the Topham Chase, a race which uses 18 of the 30 tall obstacles facing a field of 40 in Saturday's Grand National Steeplechase.

Always Waining won the Topham Chase by 12 lengths after long-time leader Frankie Figg fell two fences from the end. Only 15 of the 27 starters completed the race which was run at a fast pace in sunny and warmer than usual conditions.