British Horseracing Authority chief executive Paul Bittar has spoken of his belief that changes implemented since last year’s Grand National need time to be judged.
Australian Bittar, a recent incumbent to his position at the BHA, also expressed his sympathy to connections of Synchronised and According To Pete, who both suffered fatal injuries in the Aintree marathon on Saturday.
This year’s National was the first to be run since an extensive safety review into various elements, leading to a number of changes to fences and race conditions.
The RSCPA have urged further review, particularly into ‘drop’ fences such as Becher’s Brook.
Bittar said in a statement: “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 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.”