Calls grow to ban Grand National
Animal welfare groups have called for an outright ban on the Grand National following the deaths of two horses in Saturday's race.
The animals died during the first circuit of the gruelling four-and-a-half-mile course.
Ornais fell at the fourth and Dooneys Gate fell at the sixth, Becher's Brook. Just 19 of the 40 starters finished the race.
The latest deaths have prompted campaigners to call for an end to the historic race, with some describing it as little more than animal cruelty on the same level as bullfighting.
Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler: "We've heard claims that the Aintree course is being made safer, safer, safer. No it's not.
"The Grand National should be banned. It's a deliberately hazardous, challenging and predictably lethal event."
He said the race's combination of a tightly packed field, high fences, long distance and huge crowd noise meant it was extremely dangerous for the horses taking part.
He added: "It's a depraved spectacle, on a par with Spanish bullfighting. It is straight forward animal abuse."
Julian Thick, managing director of Aintree Racecourse, said: "We are desperately sad at the accidents during the running of the Grand National and our thoughts go out to the connections of Ornais and Dooneys Gate.
"When a horse gets hurt, everyone is deeply upset. Safety is the first priority for the organisers of the Grand National meeting and we will redouble our efforts to make sure that everyone involved in the event - the horses, the jockeys, the spectators - is able to participate in safety and comfort."