Chaotic scenes preceded the 2012 Grand National, with Synchronised running off down the track being chased and reigned back in and indeed it made for uncomfortable viewing when he was urged to the starting line and although the race started almost 10 minutes late, jockeys have come out and opposed any major changes to the way the race will be run for the 2013 Grand National.
Jockeys and trainers have already been consulted as part of a British Horseracing Authority analysis of the National and despite its ever-growing popularity, both with television viewers, of which there were 11.1 million in the UK, and the paying public of which 154,000 attended the festival, the race has been marred by the deaths of two horses in each of the last two runnings.
Following the changes to three fences last year plans are under way for yet again more amendments for the 2013 Grand National, which will become clearer in the weeks ahead. According to the BHA’s spokesman, Robin Mounsey “We have met a number of trainers and jockeys in order to discuss, among other things, possible changes to starting procedures.”
This was confirmed by the Professional Jockeys Association, whose chief executive, Paul Struthers, said his members believed that problems with this year’s start were the result of “exceptional circumstances and bad luck”.
He went on to say “A number of senior jockeys and myself met recently the BHA before racing at Stratford. At the meeting, we particularly highlighted the problems at the start, but the general view was that, due to a large element of bad luck, the horses and riders were out there longer than they should have been and the jockeys urged caution into any further changes.
“There were a couple of possible elements discussed which may be introduced to the starting procedures, but they were so relatively minor as to not impact upon the nature of the start.”
Struthers said that the possibility of reducing the number of runners from 40 “wasn’t discussed”, but Mounsey denied the implication that any reduction had been ruled out. “Nothing is on or off the table at this stage,” he responded.
Watch this space then…