WE are just over three months into the year and have already seen 41 horse fatalities on racecourses in this country, including Newcastle, Wincanton, Sedgefield and Southwell, as well as the four fatalities at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The causes of deaths included broken necks, broken legs, fractured spines…the list is endless.

The Grand National this weekend is a deliberately punishing and hazardous race, nearly four-and-a-half miles long. It features perilous drops, ditches and sharp turns.

Many people who wouldn’t normally bet on horse racing have a harmless flutter but there is nothing harmless about a race that routinely inflicts serious injury and death upon the horses that take part.

Alison Jermy, Darlington.