The Grand National

And how to write for a rag …

The British hold a race once a year that kills the most horses in any British horse racing event. It is a three mile race over ditches and hedges, an hold over from the days when a racehorse had to prove its mettle. The entry list is long and the event is the most popular outing in the calendar.

Initially the jumps are high but they get a good ploughing by the third time around. Of course you have to avoid all the dead horses by then. And the riderless horses give a good idea what the term Loose Canon is meant to convey.

Almost everyone will see the race in one form or another as it is replayed on all channels over the evening news.

Is it surprising that the sort of paper that appeals to the sort of intellect that would have a punt on this one race of the year would have so little to say about the animals taking part, in the article it produces about the animals taking part?

Here is a quote from one:

A horse named after one of Britain's greatest sporting heroes wins Britain's greatest steeplechase.

No, not Joe Lively (Calzaghe), Eric’s Charm (Bristow), Ollie Magern (Barkley) or Vic Venturi (Marks). Step forward, Flintoff.

The Venetia Williams-trained nine-year-old is not only named in honour of England and Lancashire all-rounder, Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff – the great man also part-owns him.

Lancashire CCC nut Paul Beck gave his friend Flintoff a half-share in the horse as a wedding present.

And the cricket legend will jet in from Dubai to watch his man run. “Freddie is flying back on Saturday,” explains Beck.

“We wouldn't miss this for the world.”

That was the first half of the advice to race goers.

"A horse named after one of Britain's greatest sporting heroes wins Britain's greatest steeplechase." This means a man who plays cricket and didn't buy an horse named after him which as far as I know has not yet won anything…..

And if you read it again it isn't just a way of filling empty space between pictures without saying much. You actually get to know who is responsible for the beast, trainer Venetia Williams
Oh yes, the horse is nine years old. (HTH.)

Flintoff has, like his namesake, suffered from injury, but Williams, who became the second woman in history to saddle a Grand National winner after Mon Mome’s victory 12 months ago, says: “He runs well fresh so the lack of a race since December shouldn't worry him.”

Flintoff has chequered form in some valuable staying events – he was second in last year's Midlands Grand National – but was pulled up in the Welsh version last Christmas.

Don't put any money on this pet, Flintoff didn't. It is destined to become a cart horse if it survives and can get a job selling coal.

Here is something about it:

“He runs well fresh so the lack of a race since December shouldn't worry him.”[/1]

That means he can come to the track without any recent experience and put in an average performance.

An average performance at Aintree (the racecourse that produces this dog-food-fest) is to survive without a jockey. (Actually a good way to survive this event is to go around it without a human guide.)

So, will I be watching?

Of course.

Did I have a bet?

No comment.


3 thoughts on “The Grand National

  1. Edit reads: It is a 4 1/2 mile race.Originally posted by The Times:

    The Grand National, which has been a British sporting institution since 1839, is the ultimate test of speed, strength and stamina over four-and-a-half miles. From Foinavon to Aldaniti and Red Rum to Mon Mome, the race is famed for throwing up fairytale victories and we'll bring the build-up, the latest betting and live commentary of the race itself.

  2. It's certainly an open race. Horse races are so easy to fix and I have heard rumours that some races are run for the benefit of the stable lads -some of the poorest paid failed jockeys in the employment market.

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