‘I think anybody outside of the sport who genuinely believes that the people within the sport don’t care probably need to educate themselves’: Lizzie Kelly delivers message on horse welfare ahead of the Grand National
- Jockey Lizzie Kelly gave assurances that equine welfare is ‘hugely important’
- The Grand National will be under microscope on Saturday after recent events
- Debate erupted at Cheltenham and two horses suffered fatal injuries on Friday
- Kelly delivered message to those who are concerned about well-being of horses
Lizzie Kelly has given assurances that equine welfare is ‘hugely important’ to those who work in horse racing ahead of the Randox Health Grand National.
The famous steeplechase will be under the microscope on Saturday after two horses suffered fatal injuries at Aintree on Friday and following the debate that erupted at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.
Three horses were fatally injured at Cheltenham and amateur jockey Declan Lavery was initially given a 10-day suspension by the BHA for continuing to ride ‘contrary to the horse’s welfare’ in the four-mile National Hunt Chase, although he was successful in his appeal.
Lizzie Kelly (centre) spoke to Sportsmail at Great British Racing’s ‘Jockey Fit’ workout this week
Prior to the three-day meeting in Liverpool, which started on Thursday, more than £1.5million was spent to try to protect the welfare of horses.
Kelly, speaking ahead of the Aintree Festival at Great British Racing’s ‘Jockey Fit’ workout, delivered a message to those who are concerned about the well-being of horses.
‘Horse welfare is obviously something that is hugely important to everybody in the sport,’ she told Sportsmail.
‘I think anybody outside of the sport who genuinely believes that the people within the sport don’t care about horse welfare probably need to educate themselves.
‘Horse welfare is obviously hugely important for people who are training racehorses, you can’t win races with horses that are unfit, unwell, unhealthy in any sort of way.
‘They’re looked after in hugely important ways. Everything about them is analysed, whether it’s what feed, what hay, what bedding they have, how much time they spend relaxing outside in fields against how much time they spend being exercised.
Kelly gave assurances that equine welfare is ‘hugely important’ to those who work in racing
‘It’s very important to remember that the racing industry has also contributed an awful lot to research about horses and about veterinary care of horses so without that side of things we would be a lot further back in that research than if we hadn’t done something about it.’
The 25-year-old, who will ride in her first ever Grand National at the weekend, is under no illusion.
‘Obviously there are terribly sad stories where horses lose their lives but I think Sally Randell [Assistant trainer to Fergal O’Brien] put it the best “there’s a difference between cruelty and a sporting tragedy” and I think that’s what people need to start to realise,’ Kelly added.
The 25-year-old, who will ride in her first ever Grand National on Saturday, is under no illusion
Kelly is delighted her first Grand National experience will be aboard ‘perfect’ partner Tea For Two.
The 10-year-old gelding is not just special to Kelly because of the family connection – he is trained and owned by her mother Jane Williams – but because he has been her companion for important milestones, including her first Grade One victory.
‘He’s a horse that at every single stage of my career has provided me with a big winner that has pushed me forwards,’ she said.
‘Everything goes back to him really, so to do it with him it’s perfect, you couldn’t have asked for a better horse.
‘I really just want to be able to finish and for us to finish together. I think that’s more important than winning in a way. Obviously if you win you win, but I would rather pull up, give him a big pat and say “f***ing hell we’ve actually finished that together” than fall off him turning in looking like you’re going to run well.’
Kelly is delighted her first National experience will be aboard ‘perfect’ partner Tea For Two
Lizzie Kelly is an ambassador for Great British Racing’s #JockeyFit programme. To see jockeys in action, watch The Randox Health Grand National Festival live on ITV from 4-6 April. For more visit gbraci.ng/jockeyfit