LIVERPOOL, England (AP):Two horses died after being pulled up in a sombre start to the Aintree Festival yesterday.Clonbanan Lad and Maras-onnien died after being pulled up by their jockeys in the Fox Hunters’ Chase, and later collapsing, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said. Professor Chris Proudman, veterinary adviser at Aintree, said “neither (of the) incidents was associated with a fall.””You can never remove all risk completely from any sport, including horse racing,” Proudman said in a statement released by the BHA, “but from 90,000 runners each year, British Racing has a fatality rate of less than 0.2 per cent, which research found is far lower than horses simply exercising in a field.”Equine safety is brought into sharp focus at Aintree because of the feared fences used in the Grand National Steeplechase, the world’s most gruelling horse race. Twenty-one horses died over those fences from 2001-14.The deaths overshadowed a strong start to the festival by Willie Mullins, who is bidding to dislodge Paul Nicholls as Britain’s champion horse trainer and had two winners.The Grand National will be run Saturday.
The international kite festival which attracts kite flyers from across the country and the world, began on Sunday in Ahmedabad. The international kite festival was inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at Sabarmati Riverfront. The Governor O.P. Kohli was also present on the occasion. Kite enthusiasts from across India and also foreign countries are participating in the week-long festival that is being celebrated across cities in Gujarat. The state government-sponsored festival will culminate on January 14, which is celebrated as Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti). Around 150 delegates from 44 countries, including the UK, South Korea, New Zealand, China, Indonesia and Malaysia, have arrived here to participate in the event. Nearly 100 kite enthusiasts from 18 Indian states and hundreds of them from Ahmedabad also displayed their kite flying skills on the occasion. Chinese dragon kites and hundreds of kites tied to a single string hogged the limelight.“People from different countries have come here to fly kites. People from different states are also here. For around eight days, kite festivals will be celebrated in different cities in the state,” Rupani told reporters after opening the festival. He said the festival will give boost to the kite industry which employs around 3 lakh people. The state Congress, however, criticised the government over spending money in organising the kite festival. The Opposition party said the BJP government should instead provide relief to thousands of families associated with the kite industry by removing the 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposed on the sector.