Who will be watching the Grand National this afternoon?

Today is a big day on the horse racing calendar, it's the Grand National, the subject of many a heated debate. I would be very interested to hear your points of view on the subject.



Brian - they are really, really cheap in the UK at the moment so I thought I would find you a nice family pony - you know it makes sense....:)

I remember those days,well most anyway we lived in black health back when the open top buses still went to the People’s Derby and we always had a party the night before so quite often we were a little under the weather before the day had even started,but always a great day out. Till cooperate took it over

The open buses were my favourite. The 'real' occupants were normally so pissed they never noticed yours truly sneaking on board for free booze :)

Exactly the point I am making. I have only owned two and one just dropped dead where he stood in front of the stable owner. He was 12, but should have had a few good years before him.

I miss it terribly. The open top buses up on the hill, the fair over at Tattenham Corner. ll of the things that have always been so unique to that place and event. I can shed a tear or two of nostalgia for that. There are many things I have been to or been part of in my life but Derby Day is probably high up the list.

That has brought back happy memories Brian! We used to go to the Derby every year as my granny had a stall there for the week. Such an amazing atmosphere!

I love racing and especially jumping. I'm a horse owner and animal lover and don't see any issue with the Grand National. Horses can injure themselves horribly without ever going near a racecourse. They also drop dead all the time from heart attacks and often do so out in the field :(

Last month a friends stallion did just that. It was completely unexpected and just one of those random things that can happen. It was especially upsetting as not only was he a horse in a million - he was also my mare's 'baby daddy" - so she is now a single mum! The foal is due next month and we are getting very excited here at SFN Towers. And just a little daunted...!

Here is a photo of the pregnant one - excuse the mud and gribbly eyes!

only 11 (only?) during the Grand National race but 30 at the same race course

when we reach the stage where we are relieved that no horse died during a particular race something must change

I have owned and loved horses in England and France. Sadly the last one, a thoroughbred, was sold a couple of years ago, bought in France, sold in England. To me they are the most beautiful animals. Our daughter rode the last one, until she left France, in Endurance races (coming 5/200 in her last one). She sped out across the French countryside with friends, jumping, racing and sometimes spending several nights away carrying her bedding and food. The horse loved it all, following us unbridled on walks, even playing football with us.

I also have been to the National several times. I agree that the jumps should be made safer and they have been. Not one horse hurt this time. Good. But woe on those miseries who would ban all racing - especially National Hunt. They are usually people whose choices are against things rather than for others.

A whip is not always used to make a horse go faster. It can be used to encourage it, it can be used to put pressure as an extra aid for direction as well.

Well they made an effort by improving the barriers. They thing is I simply prefer dressage, not even jumping and find this is just a race with barriers. Sitting in a saddle with such short stirrups is already kind of mad. But ALL arrived save & sound.

Here, here!

As someone who is from a farming family, grown up with many different species of animals including horses, some of which were used to work the land to feed the family etc, I have a very fond liking for horses in particular and animals in general. Horses are very willing and it is far more difficult to hold back a horse than let him run. The use of the whip these days is more of a guide than as an encourager, a common misconception. If used inappropriately then heavy fines should be issued. Horse racing/riding is a dangerous sport, as is motor racing both of which I have some knowledge, the horse racing world employs an unbelievable amount of people either directly or indirectly. The origins of steeple chasing are well known as is chasing and has evolved with improved safety for both horse and rider, but it never going to be as safe going to Bingo.

People get killed going to work because the risk on the roads, rail etc are there but there will not be a move to band working (not that I am aware) other than those who opt to live off the state.

Long live the Grand National, Cheltemham Gold Cup, Ascot, St Georges et al. Keep the hunters in trim!!!!

Where we lived in London was on the main road to Epsom. Kids would line the road and shout "Throw out your mouldies" after the Derby, that meant small change for which we would all scramble. Once I was about 12 I would walk roughly 1½ hours to the course, quicker than the bus and no way of getting on a packed train. Nobody worried about children putting on a bet in those days, so I would be up on the hill with my sandwiches for the afternoon rain or shine. In 1970 I was suddenly on the road that went directly to Newmarket racecourse. When I sold one house and bought another in 1973 I was just over five minutes drive from the course. My father had wanted me to be a jockey, I escaped that fate and studied instead. Nonetheless I have had a lifetime love for horses, for riding and next Wednesday afternoon will take my younger daughter to her first advanced class. The stable owner has put aside a large pony for me, one she says will be an easy ride for my broken and partially useless shoulder. I too am an animal lover Jane, but knowing that a horse I often rode out who was only 6 years old, stumbled in his paddock and broke his neck, I allow a certain amount of benefit of the doubt regarding the Aintree fatalities. There are plenty of people who ride on SFN and although I have never had it, I am sure a few of them have had otherwise healthy horse who either had a heart attack or was found dead in their stall in the morning. It is too easy to take the word of those who are anti anything without knowing the entire story. Much like the post on the Masaï Mara up as well. Before supporting the petition I looked at ALL parts of the entire story.

I have been an avid fan for more years than I can remember,all be it I prefer flat racing. The National is an icon of the British way of life a huge part of the UK heritage. Plus having been head chef at many race courses in the south east you can’t fail to get the buzz. Horses love to jump and anyone who knows anything about horses if they don’t want to they are not going to 1 small man against a huge horse horse wins every time. Cruel No fun Yes.as a foot note my choice finished 2nd

two horses died at Aintree this week - here's a list of all race horse deaths since 2007. As an animal lover I am against this ridiculous race and would never support it by betting


it shows some 30 horses have died at Aintree - I don't call this insignificant

£5 ew, means I get a bottle of almost decent wine back :-D

Aurora's Encore 66-1, lucky I went for each way then with 2nd!

By the way, I got 16-1 on Cappa Bleu the other day. It's going short odds quickly today.