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Two horses die in Grand National steeplechase

Published:Sunday | April 15, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Neptune Collonges (centre, grey horse), ridden by Daryl Jacob, passes Becher's Brook and goes on to win the Grand National at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, England, yesterday as According to Pete (behind Neptune Collonges) and favourite Synchronised fall during the world's toughest steeplechase. Both According to Pete and Synchronised died.-AP

AINTREE, England (AP):Grand National pre-race favourite Synchronised was one of two horses to die yesterday during the world's toughest steeplechase.

Owner J.P. McManus announced that Synchronised, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month, suffered a fatal injury after falling early in the Aintree race.

Synchronised had unseated jockey Tony McCoy minutes before the start, delaying the showpiece event in the British racing calendar.

According To Pete also suffered a fatal injury during the 41/2-mile race in northwest England.

Neptune Collonges gave trainer Paul Nicholls his first National triumph after coming from behind to beat Sunnyhillboy on the line in a photo finish.

After two horses also died in last year's gruelling race, organisers responded to criticism from animal rights groups by altering the course.