Sunday, April 10, 2011

After Aintree

Differing perspectives on the Grand National... Donald McCain followed in the footsteps of his father by training Ballabriggs to win this year's renewal but the race will be remembered for the deaths of two horses, Ornais and Dooneys Gate; the field bypassed two fences on the second circuit to avoid the stricken animals. The Telegraph reported that BBC coverage of the race had been criticised for failing to openly refer to the deaths until the end of the broadcast. According to a report in today's Observer, changes made to the course in the past 12 months allowed the fences to be bypassed - if those changes had not been carried out, the likelihood is the race would have been stopped and declared void. Other welfare issues were prevalent on a very warm day. Several jockeys dismounted immediately after crossing the line, including Jason Maguire, Tony McCoy and Ruby Walsh, as there appeared a significant risk horses would collapse through exhaustion and dehydration after completing the four and a half mile marathon. The TV pictures of Maguire's walk to the winner's enclosure conveyed a scene of outright bedlam.  Later Andy Stewart, owner of Ornais, responded by hitting back at much of the criticism aimed at the race.

This evening conditional rider Peter Toole remains in a serious condition in an induced coma after his mount Classic Fly fell at the first in Saturday's Maghull Novices' Chase. We wish him well.

Friday was Ladies' Day at Aintree; overall winner of the competition was 33 year old Lystra Adams, whose distinctive headgear obviously impressed stewards and judges alike. She walked away with prize money of £5,000 and a holiday in Saint Lucia.

Finally, for those with a bit of money left over from their National winnings... George Stubbs' Gimcrack On Newmarket Heath comes up for auction at Christie's on July 5th. The painting is guaranteed to sell for at least £20 million.      

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Also noted from Alan Lee's report on the National in Monday's Times...

Winning jockey Jason Maguire was given a five day ban for misuse of whip on Ballabriggs.

Winning time [9 minutes 01.2 seconds] was the second fastest on record. From memory, 1990 winner Mr. Frisk, with Mr. Marcus Armytage in the plate, holds the record.