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  Friday, 29 March, 2002, 14:15 GMT
Your Grand National verdict
Jim Culloty also won the Cheltenham Gold Cup
Bindaree wins the 2002 Martell Grand National after a thrilling run-in with What's Up Boys.

What did you make of the big race?


Jim Culloty's mount looked out of it for much of the race, but finished strongly to set up an exciting finish with What's Up Boys, ridden by Richard Johnson.

French horse Blowing Wind came in third, leaving Tony McCoy still searching for a first National win. Kingsmark, ridden by Ruby Walsh, was fourth.

What did you make of the big race? And did Bindaree earn you some cash?


I think a lot of the whingers have entirely missed the point - the horses would not exist at all (ie not be bred) if it were not for races like these.
Ros, Yorks, UK

Some people don't seem to understand that the National course is much easier on the horses than the 80's and earlier. The number of runners is limited to 40 now, it used to be unlimited. The entry level has been made stiffer, in the past virtually any horse could enter. Not so anymore. Accidents happen in racing. It's just that the ones that happen in the Aintree Festival are highlighted to the whole world.

Shame What's Up Boys couldn't hold on, hopefully he will bounce back at Sandown
Bob, UK

If people complain and protest with regards to the Grand National, where are the complaints and protests at the small course Fontwell where a young five-year-old broke its leg in a two-mile, six runner, hurdle race?

And it is an insult to racing owners, trainers and handlers to insinuate that they do not care for the horses. I dare anybody to say that to the face of The Last Fling's stable girl. Anyway, this year's National was a great race. Shame What's Up Boys couldn't hold on. Hopefully he will bounce back at Sandown!
Bob, UK

I watched the line-up before the race and thought, in 10 minutes or so some of you horses will be dead...I was right, no gambling odds for that though! To Debbie, whose horse came fifth...would your child have been so happy if your horse had fallen on its neck on prime time TV and moved no more?

I do know horses and have to add the additional comment that The Last Fling should have been pulled up, before making HIS (hmmm) fatal mistake.
Tracy Ibbotson, England

So we should suffer the odd dead horse for our enjoyment because car crashes and the Middle East crisis are far worse? Come up with those excuses all by yourselves, did you?
Ben Hatton, England

The race brings a lot of tourism to the city of Liverpool
Richard, England

Hurrah to all those who are against this sport! Good on you - at least there are a handful of people in this country who actually have a little thing called morality.
Kate, London UK

Why do people continue to moan about the Grand National? It really is getting to the point were we are going to be told that golf is too dangerous because a rabbit or bird could get hit by a ball!

Firstly, if the ground on the course was softer, then there would be fewer fatalities, so why don't they just water the track to help? Secondly, the only reason that people target the Grand National is because of its immense popularity with the public. In fact, the actual race itself produces considerably fewer casualties that it is made out.

If these whinging people who actually know little to nothing about racing visited other courses, they would be shocked to see how many horses die elsewhere. It is purely the race's popularity that makes it such a target - anything that becomes popular seems to become a target for some people.

Finally, the race brings a lot of tourism to the city of Liverpool, which is needed for the redevelopment of the great city.
Richard, England

I watched The Last Fling becoming progressively more exhausted. It was obvious to me that it was a death waiting to happen. I had anticipated this eventuality. Don't tell me the jockey didn't also. Continuing to drive the animal at the fences at that stage was nothing less than reckless.

Jumping for joy when Bindaree won - my first National winner
Ron Twomey, Texas USA

I've heard of jockeys being banned for too much use of the whip. What penalty faces the jockey of The Last Fling? And what sentence for this barbaric spectacle? Hopefully a lifetime ban in both cases. How can parliament spend its time debating a ban on foxhunting and not debate the end of the Grand National too? The amazing statistic from this race is that only two horses died. Will they keep it at two next year?
Alan Graham, UK

Hats off to the BBC. Tried to get TV coverage here in the States but no luck. Caught the minute by minute on the web. Jumping for joy when Bindaree won. My first time National winner, and 20/1 was sweet.
Ron Twomey, Texas USA

I had bet on What's Up Boys' and I'm just wondering if Richard Johnson had taken the horse to the rail if it might have then won - as Bindaree seemed to get a second wind when Jim Culloty changed hands and took him to the rail.
Paul McNally, Scotland

I knew Bindaree had the credentials to win the National. Its form was eye catching if you went back a year or two and he had run well in the Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National (two pointers to selecting a future national winner).

He was thrown in at the weights with just 10st4lb. Being only eight he could well become an Aintree specialist and win it again. What's Up Boys is also a great horse who could well win the next year. It was only the weight difference that beat him on the run-in (maybe could have been held up a little longer too).
David Penman, Derby, England

Congrats to Bindaree and What's up Boys
Benjamin Cohen, Lambourne

I have had a Grand National rider in the past and of paramount importance to us was that the horse was capable of jumping round safely. Rather than bickering about the two tragic fatalities the organisers have to stop the entering of horses on the basis of having owners say "we had a Grand National runner".

The Last Fling was tragic but as racing people will tell you, was a quality horse and could have suffered the same injury anyway in the country. My views on Manx magic are slightly different and the horse should never have been entered.

The owners of the aforementioned horse must take some of the blame as the horse had no chance of winning and I believe suffered such a fate for the sake of a happy owner having a National entry. The entry system must be reviewed. Congrats to Bindaree and What's up Boys.
Benjamin Cohen, Lambourne, UK

So we cannot hunt foxes but we can make a horse jump to its death? Just shows you that trainers and owners only care for the money, not the animal.
Pete Sparks, England,

Terrible coverage! Why did you bring in Sue Barker when you had the more clued up Clare Balding more or less doing nothing. Very poor, 2/10 must do better!
David Cook, UK

A solution should be found whereby horse and jockey safety is ensured
DJJ, France

I demonstrated at Aintree against the race because the race is too long and the fences too high. I understand that two or more horses had to be shot as a result of their injuries. At least 25 horses have died since 1997 at the Aintree meeting. It's time the race in its present form was banned.
Jaqi Freeman, England

I would like to know how much more likely it is that a horse gets killed at the Grand National compared to other races.
Alex, UK

Horse Racing can be fun. Horses dying is tragic. Perhaps we need some intelligence from protagonists from both sides of the discussion. Clearly there is a problem because of the deaths during the National. But reactionary measures are not going to make everyone happy.

Perhaps a solution should be found whereby horse and jockey safety is ensured, as these injuries and deaths surely cannot continue in what we describe as a civilized world. But, at the same time, it must be possible to devise a racing format so that the racing fraternity can still enjoy what they consider sport?
DJJ, France

Opening a free for all board such as this just gives a place for the animal rights activists to shoot off their mouths without little or no substance behind their arguments. I can go on all day and defend the race and the sport, but I'm not prepared to sit here and be chastised by a bunch of ill-informed know-it-alls in the name of animal rights. Get a life!
Dom, UK

It is insulting to read the same old words trotted out in defence of the 'sport'
George Collins, Surrey

I can't believe some of the comments on here - I bet most of the people complaining about how cruel the race is have never even been near a horse. I am a horse-lover, and have owned my own horses in the past. Race horses are bred to race and I believe they do genuinely enjoy it.

Yes, it is very sad when these accidents happen, but what about all the horses that are killed and injured on the roads each year by careless drivers? I have had people deliberately try and scare my horses whilst out riding, and have even been abused by hunt sabs when just out riding. I don't even go hunting.

What about all the horses and ponies suffering from neglect - I have seen some absolutely terrible cases in the past. You people should understand what you are talking about, before you start whinging about this great sport.

The horses get round-the-clock attention and care and accidents happen in all equine events, not just racing. Congratulations to all the horses and riders that completed the race - looking forward to next year's National already!!
Becky, England

Interesting, I am heartened by the number of people who have take the time to register their distaste at this annual ritualised slaughter. Let's not forget that over the course of the 'festival' I believe four horses were killed. It is unsurprising but depressing that the likes of Gary Richardson et al effectively skirt around the fatalities as they all wax lyrical of the 'spectacle'.

It is also insulting to read the same old words trotted out in defence of the 'sport'! No!! It's not the same as Formula One and no, the horses are really not too keen on being ridden to their deaths. The word that should be associated with this is exploitation.

The Grand National is a shameful race which puts far too much pressure on these animals
Angela Mitchell, UK

Finally, although I am NOT an advocate of extremist animal or whatever other rights movement I would be quite happy to me called a moaning whingeing bunny hugger if my words assisted in the protection of the defenceless.
George Collins, Surrey

I have noticed, apart from the mass hype which surrounded the Grand National this year, that the BBC displayed a total disregard for the horses which were killed, not only in the main race, but throughout the meeting. There was barely a mention of any of the four horses that died on the tracks.

I have also noticed in recent years, that the cameras no longer cover the whole field as it used to, but barely focus on the horses following the leaders. The cameras are also quickly taken away from any of the fallers. Am I an old cynic, or is this just in case the public be shown the true consequences of their betting money?

I believe that the Grand National is a shameful race which puts far too much pressure on these animals and should be banned. However, due to the vast revenue it generates, it won't be.

So, maybe the least the BBC could do, is that when accidents do happen and these unfortunate animals are injured and killed, the BBC should show these creatures some respect by at least mentioning their names. Not to do so is arrogant and disgusting.
Angela Mitchell, UK

It was a small mercy that only two had to go. May they rest in peace.
Gaffer, Ireland

Grand National - more like National Disgrace. Two horses dead out of a field of forty - appalling. "Bred to race"- I suppose that because bulls are "bred to fight in the Spanish bull arena", pit bull terriers are "bred to rip each other apart" and cocks are "bred to peck each other to death" that these things are acceptable as well.

Even if some horses do enjoy steeplechasing, (which I am sure that many do until their necks or legs are broken) - that's not the real issue is it?
Leesa, Hong Kong

I knew for a while now that Bindaree was a class horse, I had a few pennies on it to win so I was a happy man on Saturday night. I feel bad for the two that were destroyed but we can thank our lucky stars that with thirty not finishing it was a small mercy that only two had to go. May they rest in peace.
Gaffer, Ireland

I would have enjoyed this year's race more, if I had backed the winner. I felt a bit sour after the race, having backed What's up Boys, Blowing Wind and Kingsmark to win, and they finished second, third and fourth!

It was the closest race I can remember in 10 years. It's always exciting, always tense and dramatic, but sometimes equally frustrating. Again I hear two horses died in this year's race. Shouldn't the organisers make the race slightly less dangerous? I'm sure they could change a few things without ruining the prestige of the race.
Rodney McCulloch, England

David Fitzgerald, you say people get killed in car crashes...yes, but look how much effort has gone into improving car safety. Just look at the last five years! Now look at horse racing...if a horse doesn't want to race, what happens?

Congratulations to Bindaree and everyone in Leitrim
Wayne Kennedy, Castlewellan

Do the owners give it a polo and a pat and say 'there there...better luck next time?' Or do they program the animal to run, and if it doesn't...well, it becomes a waste of money and space. Only two died...but how many became lame and will not be fit to race? These horses will just be a waste of money and space to the owners (unless it is good breeding stock).
Lucas Black, UK

And we call ourselves civilised.
Malcolm, London UK

Anyone who took Dickie Dunbar's tip (Beau) must wonder how he became a racing pundit - he didn't even make it to halfway. But congratulations to Bindaree and everyone in Leitrim where he was born and bred.
Wayne Kennedy, Castlewellan, Ireland

Bring back "fight to the death" Gladiator games - with humans only. How "thrilling", "truly captivating" and "enjoyable" it would be. If humans didn't enjoy it, they wouldn't do it, would they? And as for the moronic "people die in car crashes" - no one runs a massive betting session on it each year and everything possible is done to prevent it.
Mary Dyet, UK

Please don't refer to me as ignorant, when most horses employed to race are done so at an age when their bones are not fully developed for this kind of "sport". The Grand National is nothing short of legalised slaughter. We cannot call ourselves animal lovers when we condone this. Shame on the RSPCA, and shame on the people who encourage it by betting.
Keith Badham, England

The entry guidelines should be tighter and more vets should be consulted
Georgina, England

If someone from the horse racing world could clarify for me what is so thrilling about seeing horses die on the course? I simply do not understand. Sure, animals die every day, and as has been pointed out, these are cosseted animals - but do they deserve to run this race - which is surely a risk? Please cut the numbers, and make the track easier on the horses, its not much to ask, this is 2002!
Emma, UK

Yes, I agree the race brings money in to the city and is a fantastic day out. I am a horse owner myself and I have to say that regarding the many fatalities in the race, the problem lies with the selection process. Half the horses are not fit enough to run, so why be allowed to enter a horse that is not at its best? The entry guidelines should be tighter and more vets should be consulted - the course is not the problem, the fitness of the horse is!
Georgina, England

Ad Hoc and David's Lad were travelling superbly until their downfall. For me, they looked the two class horses of the race.
Darren Catmull, Eng

It was obvious that The Last Fling was exhausted and should have been pulled up, if the jockey thought less about winning and more about how the horse was running then perhaps a great horse would still be alive today.
Alison, UK

For a start, it seems odd to defend a 'sport' by saying that people die in car crashes too. Car crashes are not televised for our enjoyment, every effort is made to prevent them happening, and victims are not shot for fracturing a leg.

The race could easily be set up to ensure that horses don't get injured
Stephen Wey, UK

Similarly, it seems that the ones who have 'nothing better to do with their time' are those who enjoy seeing horses collapsing in piles on the ground so they can enjoy a little flutter. Oh, and sorry if I know nothing about racing, David.
Tony Ardly, England

I think the people who are saying it's OK for horses to get hurt or killed because they choose to race are really missing the point. A lot of the horses that get injured and killed do so because they have stalled before a jump or become panicked by other horses getting hurt around them.

So surely they are exercising their choices and are clearly saying "no" at that point - and then unfortunately paying the price because by then it's too late to back out. What really matters is that the sporting business couldn't care less as long as it makes its profits - the race could easily be set up to ensure that horses don't get injured.

As for the person saying a horse could get injured running about in a field - well that may be true but the odds are much much less than of getting hurt running the National. What a silly statement.
Stephen Wey, UK

I think Supreme Charm ran a brilliant race. With a better jockey at the helm he would of surely have been in the top three.
Stuart, England

The Grand National is a true test of horse and jockey, that's what makes it a great race
Craig, England

The Grand National for me this year has been very special as I had the winning horse, Bindaree. I have never won much money on the National but this year's National made me extremely happy. Well done Jim and Bindaree.
Gaynor Harris, England

It is always sad when horses are killed, but the Grand National isn't the only race in which it happens, yet it is the only race which is highlighted. The Last Fling's fall was a result of its jockey not pulling the horse up when it was tired, not because of the fences.

The Grand National is a true test of horse and jockey, that's what makes it a great race and spectacle. It would a sad day if it is banned simply because a minority of people who know nothing about racing don't like it.
Craig, England

The end of the race was very thrilling especially when my 10-year-old daughter had chosen What's Up Boys and thought she was going to win. My horse, Supreme Charm, was unfortunately fifth - so no pay out! I love horse racing and horses, my daughter and I ride, and am of course always saddened when any racehorse dies but these horses have a superb life and are extremely pampered and well cared for.

I think I would rather be a racehorse than a forgotten, starving, cold, miserable pony out in a muddy field day in and day out kept by a supposedly horse-loving owner! More horses die or have to be put down because of neglect than are killed on the racecourse.
Debbie, England

Many congratulations to Jim Culloty on a fantastic season
Sam, England

In response to Catherine, UK's comments regarding the putting down of horses with broken legs etc - as I understand it, this isn't done for purely economic reasons. Horses don't generally accept being bandaged and their limbs in plaster; they will tend to put weight on their injured limb. They are put down because this type of injury is simply very rarely treated successfuly, so it is literally kinder to the horse to accept this and spare it further suffering.

There have been many comments on here from those who I assume are supporters of the Animal Aid campaign. I was interested to read their statistics of casualties from the last few years' Grand National meetings, in support of their campaign for the race to be banned. Many of the incidents they included occurred on the hurdles track or the Mildmay course at Aintree. What relevance do these have to the alleged cruelty of the Grand National?
Alex, London, UK

Well done to all the connections of Bindaree and many congratulations to Jim Culloty on a fantastic season. I knew he had potential when I saw him ride point-to-pointers in Cornwall many years ago.
Sam, England

Why do trainers not instruct their jockeys to pull up their horses when obviously tired and out the money? This may help reduce fatalities like we saw on Saturday late in the race with The Last Fling and Manx Magic and prevent serious injury to the jockeys. On a positive note, the National is still the most spectacular sporting event for drama and excitement there is and my congratulations go to the connections of Bindaree.
Iain Jamieson, Scotland

Having read some of the comments on this page, I am still amazed at how many people are ignorant when it comes to race horses. These animals are kept in a life of luxury, and are bred to gallop and jump.

If a horse does not want to run it will refuse to race
David Fitzgerald, England

Of course it is tragic when a horse is killed, but do these people realise a horse can fatally injure itself just galloping free in a field for example? Binderee and What's Up Boys proved they are champions, and didn't Beau complete, even if his jockey didn't?
Jane, England

If this was Formula One racing it would have been banned by now. As soon as someone gets injured, new safety rules come in to stop it happening again. Two horses died this year.

This is said in whispered tones at the end of reports, if at all. There are too many racing at once for the type of course. This is worse than fox hunting, yet that looks set to end. A fox dies but is considered a pest, yet there is a call to ban the sport. A horse dies what?
Lucas Black, UK

I am sick and tired of people moaning on about how the Grand National is "barbaric". The race always provides a thrilling spectacle. If a horse does not want to run it will refuse to race, which sometimes happens.

The loss of The Last Fling is tragic as he was probably near to retirement and has a had a very successful career. However, just because of an unfortunate incident like that doesn't give people who know next to nothing about racing the right to make crass remarks about how the sport should be banned. People get killed in car crashes, does that mean we should stop people driving cars? No.
David Fitzgerald, England

Harmless flutter? Don't bet on it
Bob Wilson, UK

I love the way this country has the audacity to call itself a nation of animal lovers, speaking out against bull-fighting in Spain and yet allowing this 'sport' to continue year on year. The question every time is, how many horses are going to break their necks and backs?

This course is deliberately punishing to present a spectacle and titillate the public by making the horses fall - it's like a damn cavalry charge. The whole thing is a perverted exercise for fools to play with money, and the horses are being put through unnecessary suffering and risk.

It seems that the horses that are not killed outright by breaking their necks are put down because once a leg is broken they become uneconomical for their owners to keep. Very nice.
Catherine, UK

Ad Hoc was so easy and would have walked the race. Also, had the course been watered more there would probably have been less deaths. National Hunt is a winter sport for a reason and that is the soft ground.
Graham, UK

With another two horses killed at today's Grand National the death toll at this meeting has risen to 27 since 1997. Harmless flutter? Don't bet on it.
Bob Wilson, UK

Should this be considered as entertainment?
Jacobijn Zeijlemaker, The Netherlands

When are people going to realise that the Grand National is nothing but a barbaric act of pure selfishness on the part of owners, trainers and punters alike. "Traditional" it may be but I was under the impression that inflicting unnecessary harm was now illegal. Am I wrong?
Jodie Turner, UK

What a great race, what a shame the 'professional' commentators seemed to completely miss the crucial incident where Ad Hoc and Davids Lad came down.
Sally Frost, UK

I am astonished. I had never seen this race before, but I realise once more that we humans do not deserve the adjective 'civilized'. Should this be considered as entertainment?

Healthy, beautiful horses lost their lives and the BBC employees apparently lost their hearts. Just keep smiling. Great sports!
Jacobijn Zeijlemaker, The Netherlands

Despite the death of one of racing's most famous horses (The Last Fling), I think that this year's race was truly as enjoyable and captivating to watch as it always is.

It is ridiculous to suggest that any aspect of the race should be altered to suit moaning Animal Rights Protestors who have nothing better to do with their time.

It's a shame two horses were killed but they are bred to race and take their chances with every other horse in the National
David Jackson, Scotland

The National has been and will remain to be the world's greatest race and despite blowing fifty quid on the race, I can't wait for next year's running of the race. Congrats to Bindaree and What's Up Boys!
Sean, England

Just what has the Grand National, or any other horse race come to that, got to do with sport? It is a sickening exercise in gambling, and money is the ONLY objective, however many horses you destroy in the process.
Phil Sears, UK

If the horses didn't enjoy racing the loose horses wouldn't carry on racing and jumping. It is always sad when there are casualties but you cannot condem the Grand National as cruel because of it.
Julie, UK

Whinge! Whinge! Whinge! Yes, I know it's a shame that two horses were killed but they are bred to race and take their chances with every other horse in the National. The race has been sanitised enough! Leave it alone. Good luck to Bindaree.
David Jackson, Scotland

What a thrilling race. Stop knocking the Grand National and enjoy it for the marvellous spectacle it is. Do the people objecting to the National watch the news from the Middle East?
Chris O'Donoghue, UK

Again animals suffer in the name of tradition and sport
Aidy, Sheffield, UK

Thanks to the BBC for giving the information on horse deaths. I am pleased to see that some people share my thoughts. I am all in favour of fun and excitement but it's always at some cost it seems where animals are concerned.
Martin de Wied, England

First of all congratulations to Jim Culloty and Bindaree for giving me my first National win since Little Polvier in 1989! Secondly, in answer to the critics, yes it is very sad that two horses died but anybody who knows horse racing will tell you that horses die at other tracks, it just never recieves the same media attention. It is always upsetting when a horse dies, regardless of the location.
Neil Hoyle, U.K

Anyone who supported this race cannot call themselves animal lovers. Quotes like "what a loss of a great horse" are unbelievable. The horse didn't have to die. Again animals suffer in the name of tradition and sport. Frankly I'm disgusted.
Aidy, Sheffield, UK

Only eleven horses finished the race out of forty who started, and two horses died. Money is more important to these people than the horses' welfare. The Grand National is famous for the wrong reasons. I find it sickening that this cruelty is allowed to happen year after year.
Jenny Lawrence, UK

I was very sad to see the deaths of Manx Magic and The Last Fling, two great horses. But well done to Jim Culloty on his achievement.
Josie, UK

Despite backing Bindaree, I am left wondering if this race is worth the cost of the lives of two horses
Gary Mills, UK

Despite backing Bindaree, I am left wondering if this race is worth the cost of the lives of two horses, Manx Magic and The Last Fling. Following on from last year's revolting "spectacle" in which only two horses completed the course, this year witnessed not only the fatalities, but the fact that three-quarters of the field did not get round.

It is very curious to think of this Country as a "nation of animal lovers", while many millions of people are trying to seek out a profit from this lottery of cruelty. I for one will never bet on this race again.
Gary Mills, UK

As much as I love watching the Grand National and have done without fail for the past 20 years, I still feel terrible for those poor horses that are killed. We can blame the fences, the jockeys, the horses ability etc, etc, but what can be done to minimise the risk even more?

Becher's Brook was altered and made more 'horse-friendly' and we see very few fallers now. So come on, how about taking another look at the rest of the course and the way it is ridden?
Tracie Emerson, UK

Can anyone beat a 1-2-3 from three selections? My wife backed Bindaree; I was going to back What's Up Boys until my son said he wanted it, so I backed Blowing Wind. I only wish I had put more on each, or better still, backed all three as an accumulator!
Robert Page, England

A great race, a great institution and a great supper tonight
Wayne King, Canada

Though I love competition, how fair was all of this on The Last Fling? Was it worth his sacrifice? Couldn't it be made more "horse-friendly" by limiting the number of entries? I feel happy for the people who will gain money by the victory of Bindaree, but who cares for The Last Fling?
Veronique Decavele, Belgium

What a great race. Bindaree is a true champion and was superbly ridden. How often does a horse get passed and then come back? I fancied What's Up Boys, but will take the each way payout cheerfully. A great race, a great institution and a great supper tonight.
Wayne King, Canada

Congratulations to Noel King from Leitrim, just outside Castlewellan, who bred Bindaree.
Paul Mc Cabe, Ireland

I've just heard the Grand National described as "fabulous" on Radio 5 Live. Well, forgive me for thinking otherwise. Two horses destroyed out of 40 odd starters is, quite simply, unacceptable. When are we going to end this annual slaughter in the name of sport?
Steve Clare, England

What a great race. Congrats to Bindaree on his win. And what a loss of a great horse, The Last Fling.
Lorraine, England

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02 Apr 02 |  Forum
Quiz the Grand National team
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