EDITOR – Once again after the Aintree Grand National we are subjected by the ‘animal rights brigade’, do-gooders and ‘bunny huggers’ whipping up a naive and misinformed public with false reporting to score cheap points to advance their own self-importance in their campaigns, notably to eliminate all horse sports.
The two horses injured in the National were Synchronised, which stumbled after Beechers, getting rid of Tony McCoy for a second time and galloping off gleefully until he injured himself, and According to Pete, which was running a fabulous race and jumped and landed successfully only to have another animal crash into him and knock him off his feet. Sincere condolences.
The Dubai Cup (run on the flat) produced three fatalities in the one race just days earlier – with not a whisper of hysterical reporting to be seen anywhere. Flat racing produces just as many accidents, but with just one difference: 99 per cent of horses which fall in jump racing get up unscathed; 99 per cent of those falling on the flat do not.
The love and care and the total devotion, the infinite work and finances lavished on these equine demi-gods leaves me at a loss to understand that bodies such as the major animal charities seem to overlook where they are most desperately needed, where absolute and wanton cruelty abounds, in hidden paddocks and back yards. One recent incident was a heavily in-foal mare, starved and worked to a standstill, suffering acute liver failure resulting in inevitable euthanasia. So where are the activists? Certainly not out to find the people responsible simply because there is no advantageous publicity for them. How sickening.
The English thoroughbred horse has an inherent internal and psychological structure which makes it a true athlete with an ingrained passion for its work and, to put it crudely, they are the Border Collies of the equine world. They want, need and crave to be what they have evolved to be, racers, and they revel in it.
I am truly and eternally grateful that the Grand National will now be televised by Channel 4 racing, where you will be given the true facts and not fiction, and it is long overdue that this most prestigious event will be reported with a bastion of sensibility which is what it and the racing world rightfully deserves. Long live John Francome and the gang.
Heartfelt congratulations to Neptune Collonges and all connections in a truly brilliant victory – what a finish.
G P Hoblyn
Ex-racehorse owner and breeder