JP McManus: "We all remain huge supporters of the Grand National"PICTURE: Inpho
McManus: we feel deep sadness and devastation
JP McMANUS on Tuesday night spoke for the first time about "the deep sadness and devastation" caused by the loss of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised in the John Smith's Grand National on Saturday.
In a statement delivered in conjunction with Jonjo O'Neill, Tony McCoy and the owner's racing manager Frank Berry, McManus deflected any criticism levelled at Aintree and declared that what happened to Synchronised was the result of a freak accident rather than any fault of the racecourse.
He said: "Jonjo, AP, Frank and I, and all our families, feel a deep sadness and sense of devastation about the loss of the horse and we will always cherish the memory of how great he was in winning the Gold Cup at the festival the previous month.
"What happened to him appears to be nothing more than a freak accident as his fall did not cause him to lose his life; it was running around loose afterwards. It remains difficult to understand how it happened but regrettably it did.
"However, we all remain huge supporters of the Grand National despite all the sadness, as it is a truly fantastic spectacle that is viewed by millions on TV around the world. It should not be devalued in any way."
Synchronised and JP McManus after the Cheltenham Gold CupPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
McManus added: "Emotions ran high on Saturday for everyone involved and I would personally like to thank Aintree for all their helpfulness, kindness and consideration in the aftermath of what turned out to be a very exciting race for the connections of Neptune Collonges.
"Two years ago we all felt the elation and sheer joy of standing in the winner's circle after Don't Push It took the prize. Luckily he is still with us and relishing his retirement, so we all know what a special feeling it is to win what is the world's greatest steeplechase.
"Racing is full of ups and downs because it is a very competitive sport, but in any sport things happen over which nobody has any real control. Sometimes it can be for the good and sometimes, such as Saturday, it can be for the bad."
Synchronised had landed his first Grade 1 when winning the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in December and also among his nine successes were hard fought victories in the Midlands and Welsh Nationals.
McManus concluded: "Losing any horse is very sad but one as brave as Synchronised is a very big loss for all involved. He has been laid to rest at Jackdaws Castle, a place where he was much loved by all and where he thrived from the first day he went into training.
"He has left us all with amemory of what a superb equine athlete he was and his name is etched deep in the annals of jumping history as the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. We are all very proud of what he achieved for us and the sport as a whole."