Who will be watching the Grand National this afternoon?

I am from Liverpool and grew up with the national it’s part of Merseyside culture and not only that a lot of local people depend on the revenue it generates and in these lean and mean times it is a welcome bonus, I have been to so many of the national race days as man and boy and as an event it really is a great day out as for the horses and their welfare on the whole I think they are well cared for for a long time before and after the actual event yes there is the inevitable tragedy but there is a whole industry built around the national and there will always be the great for and against debate attached to the event which I guess is also part of the National…just to finish with I have never won a ruddy bean on the thing but hey maybe this year…

Tough one. I think many of us who have ridden tend to be anti-National. Desert Orchid never went in for the National but I went to Fairyhouse to see him win the Irish Grand National in 1990/91. He was retired to Egerton House Stables in Newmarket, near where I lived for years and whilst he was still fit enough to come out, or at least until we moved in 2004, I used to go to see him. Jumpers are special. I am so happy he never did the English National. Having said that ultimately very few horses have actually been seriously injured or died over the years and a racing industry (flat racing at that) vet neighbour told me that proportionately many more horses die of heart attacks, break legs by going in to their hocks in rabbit holes and so on on gentle gallops or in their paddocks than highly trained steeple chasers. He did not like the jumps himself, so it was not him trying to convince anybody.

So, I am one foot in and the other out on this. I have neither raced not jumped much more than a log ever so from the point of view of the horse underneath me I have no idea. Mind you, sentimentalist I am, I am soooooo very glad good old Dessie never went to Aintree. Just in case.

Hate it. Wont watch it, would never bet on it. But I also dislike the way many race stables treat their horses, just another commodity to make money and shoot it if it doesnt turn out right attitude. Too many greedy selfish people who dont give a damn for animal welfare.

I have been to the event about 12 - 15 times and have to say it is fantastic and very emotional day however I would say that if I could change one thing I would ban the use of the whip, the horse wants to run it doesn't need a whip to encourage it.


In England I used to love a flutter on The Grand. How can I put a bet on all the French horses? Are they French because they are owned by French people? French because they were born here? Or because they were bred here? Ta ever so.

They are called French horses because they were bred here in France.
Horses for both flat and National Hunt racing are bred and trained in France. They start a bit younger here so you can see potential that bit sooner and the bloodstock agents have their eye on French breeders and trainers for their British clients.
The Collonges strain comes from a breeder near us at Cluny.
I will be watching, as always, although I really prefer Cheltenham.