Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Abolition would be a death knell for racing

The death of any horse in competitive action, let alone at the Grand National, is deeply regrettable. But alas, that is the nature of the racing beast.

Fatalities can never be totally prevented no matter what measures are put in place, and nowhere has safety been more paramount than at Aintree. Two horses suffering life-ending falls last Saturday in front of millions of viewers, has raised the old chestnut of the Grand National being stopped. The demise of the pair makes it 20 horses meeting their end in the race since 1988.

But abolishing the National would be the thin end of the wedge towards stopping jump racing entirely. That's the logic, because if the most famous race in the world was scrapped because of death, then the same would have to apply to every race in which a horse came to grief. There is little wrong with the Aintree spectacular as it stands and it's essential to keep a sense of perspective. Without racing, fewer horses would ever see the light of day.

The show moves on to Saturday's Scottish National at Ayr and here, in-form trainer Tim Vaughan is bullish about his Beshabar reversing Cheltenham form with Gordon Elliott's Chicago Grey, currently the 5-1 favourite to add this race to his success in the National Hunt Chase.

But Ayr's flat galloping track and a 5lb turnaround in the weights, gives the novice Beshabar more than a decent chance of taking his revenge at 6-1.

Belfast Telegraph

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