Three days in April. One of the final chapters in this season’s National Hunt campaign. Many races to enjoy with the biggest stars on show being Sprinter Sacre and Silviniaco Conti, as well as the up-and-coming brigade such as The New One, My Tent or Yours and At Fishers Cross. That’s not forgetting the matter of arguably the world’s greatest race in the shape of Saturday’s Grand National. With some decisions still to be finalised, like Ruby and AP’s mounts for the big one itself, the picture will shortly become more focussed before being crystallised when the three days have passed over.
Channel 4 has been leading the Grand National 2013 charge with it’s bold and brash in-your-face television advertising of the race and has also had billboards across the country to advertise to the public it is the new home of the Grand National. It has largely been congratulated by the racing public for showcasing racing but there have been one or two voices of caution sounded, including from myself, when it advertises racing the as the original extreme sport. What has happened in the last few days with JT McNamara would render the dangers of our sport but we do have to be careful how we portray ourselves to the masses as there are many who wish to see the sport banned altogether and we should not add any fuel to the fire.
On the racing front itself; I am very much looking forward to seeing how the up-and-coming brigade fares. At the end of the season, some performances do have to be forgiven and bets do have to be tempered but that does not deter from one’s enjoyment of these three days. More champions will be crowned, more reputations will be put on the line and, ultimately, another National winner will be borne out from a marathon over arguably Aintree’s safest course for the runners to date, what with the various modifications that have been made over the past year.
Whatever your bets we shall see in the next few days and look forward to the new season after Punchestown have staged their meeting and the Bet365 Gold Cup has seen us out at Sandown on Saturday, April 27, 2013. Not to worry, however, as the new National Hunt season starts the following day on Sunday, April 28, 2013. Enjoy!