33-1 grey Neptune Collonges, ridden by Daryl Jacob, was crowned winner of the 2012 Grand National after an extremely close photo finish on Saturday 14 April at Aintree.
However, the Grand National has been surrounded by controversy after the death of two horses – Synchronised and According to Pete – who were put down after suffering fatal injuries.
Trainer Paul Nicholls was granted his first Grand National win with Neptune Collonges after the photo finish that saw the horse just beat Sunnyhillboy.
The Grant National was also a great day for female rider Katie Walsh, who finished third on Seabass.
Cappa Bleu took fourth place, whilst In Compliance finished fifth.
15 of the 40 starting horses finished the John Smith’s Grand National 2012, with previous Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and According to Pete having to be put down after the race. Both horses suffered fractured legs.
The RSPCA has called for Becher’s Brook, one of the fences in the Grand National, to be removed from the race, and for the number of runners to be reduced from 40. Read more on the Telegraph website.
In a statement made on the day of the Grand National, Aintree Racecourse released a statement from Managing Director Julian Thick:
“We are desperately sad at these two accidents and our sympathies are with the connections of both horses. When a horse gets hurt, everyone is deeply upset. Safety is the first priority for the organisers of the Grand National and we make every effort to ensure that everyone involved in the event is able to participate in safety.
“Horseracing is a sport that is very carefully regulated and monitored by the British Horseracing Authority, but risk can never be completely removed. All horses and riders in the Grand National have to meet very high standards set by an independent panel of experts. The Grand National is a professional and well-organised race. Only the best horses and the best jockeys are allowed to enter.
“Since last year’s race we have made further significant changes to the course and there have been four races run over the course without serious incident since then. After today, we will, as always, be looking at all aspects of this year’s race to see how we can improve safety further. We work closely with animal welfare organisations, such as the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare to make sure we are up to date with the latest thinking and research regarding welfare and safety.”
The Aintree statement also said that, prior to the start, Synchronised was thoroughly checked by a racecourse vet after getting loose.
Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said: "We extend our deepest sympathies to the connections of Synchronised and According To Pete who we know are devastated at the loss of two home-bred horses which meant so much to them.
"In November last year, the BHA published the findings from a comprehensive and detailed review of all elements of the Grand National. At this stage, we believe it would be premature to suggest that modifications to the course and other changes have not been effective or will not yet prove to be effective. Since the Review and the implementation of changes, four races have been held over the course without incident prior to yesterday's running of the Grand National.
“We are reasonably advanced in the process of examining the incidents which led to Synchronised and According To Pete being put down. While that process still needs to be completed, it is relevant to point out that although both horses lost their riders jumping Becher's Brook, Synchronised galloped away from the fence seemingly without injury and then subsequently incurred a fracture to a hind leg when jumping riderless, while According To Pete was brought down by another horse on the second circuit.
“We will be collating all the relevant information and data from this year’s Grand National meeting so that it can be reviewed in conjunction with the statistics and findings of the Review. Initiatives such as speed sensing on the runners in races over the Grand National course will enable BHA and Aintree to make informed decisions based on factual evidence in our efforts to minimise risk where possible.”
For the full statement, visit the BHA website.
Take a look at the video from RacingUK.com to see the race for yourself.