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Monday, 6 April, 1998, 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK
Inquiries launched into Grand National deaths
Grand national faller
Three horses died in this year's Grand National - the worst toll this decade
Two separate inquiries are being launched into why three horses died in this year's Grand National.

The RSPCA and the Jockey Club will both investigate the death toll which was the worst the world-famous Aintree race has seen in a decade.

Bernard Donnigan, RSPCA equine consultant
Donnigan: will press Jockey Club on safety
RSPCA inspectors are calling for the race to be run with fewer horses in future years to avoid pile-ups at some of the toughest jumps on the 4.5 mile course.

The race, won by Earth Summit, was the slowest and toughest in the race's long history. Only six of the 37 starters made it home after jumping 30 fences.

The three deaths came when Pashto fell at the first jump, Do Rightly fell at the fourth and Griffins Bar at the next fence.

The day before One Man, one of the racing world's favourite and most successful runners, was put down after a crippling fall at Aintree.

One Man, racehorse, falling
One Man was killed the day before the National
Jockey Club spokesman John Maxse said: "We are looking into the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

"In the coming weeks we will be looking closely at the incidents and injuries of the horses concerned.

"All three incidents occurred before Becher's first time round, before any of the big fences had been jumped and prior to any lack of stamina coming into question."

Jockey Club investigators will question both riders and trainers to see if they can pinpoint any specific causes for the deaths.

grand national 1967
The Grand National saw one of its worst pile-ups in 1967
Meanwhile the RSPCA, which has described standards of care at Aintree as "first class", will seek to establish its own findings and report these to the Jockey Club.

Bernard Donnigan, the charity's equine consultant, said: "I would like to see 30 instead of 40 running.

"That way, it gives the horses the opportunity to see where they are going. I shall put this to the Jockey Club when we meet."

See also:

03 Apr 98 | Sport
Horses pay price of failure
04 Apr 98 | Sport
Llewellyn reaches the summit
04 Apr 98 | Sport
The tough go slow
03 Apr 98 | Sport
Old Man killed at Aintree
05 Apr 98 | Sport
Earth Summit wins National
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