TRAINER Emma Lavelle has paid tribute to her horse Eclair Surf who died after a fall in the Grand National.
The eight-year-old fell at the third fence in the race and was taken to equine hospital after he received treatment at the track.
But he had to be euthanised on Saturday night after he went downhill despite the best efforts of the vet teams.
He'd been a 14-1 shot for the race, eventually won by 50-1 shot Noble Yeats, and had starred in the Classic Chase at Warwick before finishing runner-up in the Eider Chase at Newcastle.
A heartbroken Lavelle said on Sunday: "We were optimistic when he left the track, but during the night he just got more and more wobbly and as he got more distressed it wasn't the right thing to do to keep going.
"He was in the right place for those decisions to be made and the team both at the races and at the hospital were great.
"You kind of sit there and think of the ifs and buts and why nots, but you can't sit and think that.
"It's a real gutter for everybody – his owners and the team. He was an exciting horse for the future, but what can you say?"
Chris Proudman, veterinary advisor to Aintree, said: "We were sad to learn that Eclair Surf had to be put to sleep this morning.
"After his fall yesterday he was stabilised on course before walking onto transport back to the stables. Following further veterinary evaluation he was referred to Leahurst Equine Hospital last night.
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"Everything possible will have been done for him and our thoughts are very much with those who loved and cared for him."
Eclair Surf was one of two fatalities in the National along with the Paul Nolan-trained Discorama, who was pulled up by Bryan Cooper having sustained a pelvic injury.
Nolan said: "I'm devastated. But that is racing and you have to accept those things.
"He was a great servant and he gave us some great days, but all we can do is reflect on the couple of happy days and what he has done for us.
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"It is just devastating for the owners and the yard, and it it is just one of those awful things, but it is part of racing and that is what it is.
"Unfortunately I could not attend. My father is sick at home and we had to come back from Aintree, so we are with him now."
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