Aintree director John Baker believes British racing should be "tremendously proud" 

From At The Races UK

Aintree director John Baker believes British racing should be "tremendously proud" and vowed the track "will not stand still" after the 2013 John Smith's Grand National passed without serious incident.

The world's most famous steeplechase has faced fierce criticism since the death of two horses 12 months ago, and significant modifications have been made to the course, including the rebuilding of fences, with new plastic cores replacing the traditional timber and protective rubber padding.

Seventeen of the 40 runners completed, with only two horses officially falling, with 14 pulled up, six unseating their riders and one horse refusing at the final obstacle. Victory went to the Sue Smith-trained 66-1 outsider Auroras Encore, ridden by Ryan Mania.

Baker, the Aintree and North West Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "Once again the John Smith's Grand National has thrown up an incredible sporting story in front of a sold-out 70,000 crowd. Far fewer fallers were recorded, as with the other races over the Grand National course.

"The new construction of the fences appeared to play a significant part in the spectacle and we also need to recognise the part the jockeys have played right from the off. British racing should be tremendously proud of its contribution today. As ever, we will review every aspect of today's race. We will not stand still.

"In total, only two horses fell during the race, with six jockeys unseated. It is the first time in 166 runnings of the Grand National that the entire field was in contention up to the Canal Turn (fence eight). All horses and jockeys racing today returned safely.

"In the last two years, more than £1million was spent on safety and welfare measures at the course, including making changes to the core of every fence, levelling work and enhancing the watering system to help to produce the safest possible jumping ground."

RSPCA equine consultant David Muir said: "It is great news that all these horses finished the race unscathed and that we have seen this race finish without serious injury or death.

"Although the testing nature of the Grand National will always produce a higher level of risk, that risk must be appropriate and we are hopeful that the changes made so far have gone some way to create a good race which doesn't have to involve the suffering of animals."

The charity World Horse Welfare, an independent advisor to the BHA, welcomed the result. Chief executive Roly Owers said: "This race will be remembered for all the right reasons. We're very pleased all the horses and riders returned safely. We would still like a trial reduction of the maximum field size to around 30."