Support for owners after horse race tragedy

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LETTERS and calls of support are flooding in to the devastated owners of a horse which died in a freak accident at the Grand National.

According to Pete, which was trained by Malcolm Jefferson at his stables in Norton, was running well in Saturday’s race until On His Own fell in front of him at Becher’s Brook on the second time round Aintree - sending him crashing to the floor and breaking his shoulder.

A second horse, the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised, was also put down after falling and breaking a leg at the same fence.

Since the tragedy, owner Peter Nelson and his family, who live in Helperby, near Thirsk, have been overwhelmed with the response by well-wishers from all over the country.

“We have about 50 to 60 letters on the table today and had the same on Monday,” he said yesterday. “We’ve had bouquets of flowers, bottles of wine, calls from Jersey, Guernsey, London, all over.

“We have had a tremendous response - the support has been unbelievable.”

According to Pete had made a splash in the lead up to the race with profiles in newspapers, radio and on television. The 11-year-old was already popular with race goers in Yorkshire before the national and Mr Nelson had high hopes for his performance in the world’s greatest steeplechase.

“He was lovely and so well liked. Everyone took to him. He had a lovely face with a big white blaze and a lot of character. Everybody in the village and area backed him and followed him. He’s a great loss - not only to us but to the community as he helped put Helperby on the map.”

He added: “We are absolutely devastated. We had him from a foal, bred him and when you only have two or three horses, he becomes a member of the family.”