Sunday, April 15, 2007

Notes from the National

Here's a few thoughts that crossed my mind while watching the 2007 Grand National on television...

The start was an absolute shambles; no better than last year and probably worse in that the starter, looking like he'd just walked in from the set of 'Foyle's War', missed several good opportunities to let them go before eventually performing the task he was employed for.

As always in the National, the bookmakers shorten the vast majority of their prices on the day. The advice for punters has to be take the price when you strike your bet. The only horse I noted drifting was eventual fifth Liberthine from 33/1 to 40/1.

It was surprising to see Monkerhostin backed in to 8/1 co-favourite. Granted, he'd run a decent race in the Gold Cup, but he's not the biggest individual or the best of jumpers. He was pulled up fairly early on. Richard Johnson told the BBC afterwards that the horse had landed on one of the fences and frightened himself but he'd be back next year. If he is, I won't be backing him.

I was convinced Simon, who looked to have taken the preliminaries worse than the majority, needed soft ground to be seen at his best but he was running a huge race and looked an unlucky faller. He's one to bear in mind for next year, as would be the third Slim Pickings and Bewleys Berry. I fear that next year age will be catching up with Longshanks and Philson Run.

Peter Bowen later reported that McKelvey had ruptured a tendon and that had probably cost the horse the race. Connections are bound to be eyeing next year's running.

Years ago Nick Mordin said something along the lines of never back a horse wearing blinkers in this race. I don't know how long it is since a horse wearing blinkers has won, but that put me off Billyvoddan in particular.

Finally congratulations to my daughter (Baby Tips) who selected the winner, on the advice of Mrs. Tips. She has promised one of her raps as a celebration (that's Baby Tips, you understand, not Mrs. Tips). Please, no.

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