With the notorious Grand National just a few weeks away, the joint favourites to win the race have both been destroyed within days of each other. Both deaths pose important questions for the racing authorities.

Little Brick shattered a shoulder while racing at last week's Cheltenham Festival. He was one of two fatalities at the four-day meeting.

Nil Desperandum was destroyed on Saturday after breaking a hind leg during the gruelling four-mile John Smith's Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter. He was racing just two weeks after being entered into another punishing four-mile event.

We now see that horses not only routinely die while racing in the Grand National but they also perish as their owners prepare them for an event that should have long ago been banned.

D Stansall.

Horse racing consultant.

Animal Aid.

The Old Chapel.

Bradford Street.