The Jockey Club has announced that, in the wake of the two deaths during this year’s Grand National, improvements in horse welfare are to be made, including the provision of water stations around the four-mile Aintree course.
Ornais and Dooneys Gate died after falling at the fourth and sixth (Becher’s Brook) fences respectively, and many of the other horses seemed to be suffering from dehydration at the finish line.
Even eventual winner Ballabriggs looked a bit dry in the throat after scampering to victory by two-and-a-quarter lengths, and his jockey, Jason Maguire, said he was “parched”.
“It’s a long race, and it was a hot day,” said Maguire, “and we could have done with a glass of water on the way around.”
Organisers say that next year’s National will be a far different affair, with eight London Marathon-style water drinking stations situated around the racetrack, where jockeys and their mounts can replenish their lost fluids before galloping off again.No alcohol will be available to horse or rider.