The Grand National is - by design, no less - an accident waiting to happen. Forty horses compete for space on the 4.5mile course fraught with obstacles, jumps and dangerous terrain. Last year, only 17 horses - fewer than half - managed to reach the finishing post. And while the race organisers were quick to highlight an unusual absence of fatalities, they failed to mention that two horses were killed in the run-up to the event earlier that week. More than three dozen horses who might otherwise have been grazing and running in the fields have been killed at Aintree in the last 50 years.
Last month, on 27 March to be exact - a Yemeni man was beheaded in the Saudi Arabian city of Jizan and then had his body 'crucified' (ie displayed in public on a pole). It wasn't a one-off. Last year the Saudi authorities also crucified a Sudanese man after his head had been severed by the executioner.
An analogy that might be easier for us to relate to is to consider an individual driving their car every day of the year. If the risk to the driver was the same as that in a steeplechase like those at Aintree - six deaths in 1,000 - then you would be lucky to still be alive after six months. I doubt many of us would accept this, and yet it is still seemingly acceptable for horses to be exposed to such risks. We should also note that this risk is more than doubled in the Grand National Steeplechase.
Seabass very nearly made history last year when finishing third for jockey Katie Walsh and she must have every chance again this year with the shorter trip a plus for a horse whose stamina gave way at the elbow last year. Ireland haven't won the big race since Silver Birch in 2007 but they have a very strong hand this year.