Saturday, 4 April 2009

Grand National

Adrian Maguire

Today is the Grand National – a 4 mile 4 furlong steeplechase and the best horse race of the year. It is also the most valuable National Hunt horse race in the world. The course has sixteen fences and the horses do two circuits though they only jump the Chair and the Water Jump once. Shortly after I retired from work on the grounds of ill health I went to Aintree race course a couple of years running to watch races in the Grand National meeting and these photos are from that time in the mid 1990s.

In Truth

Traditionally I bet on two horse races every year. The first is the Cheltenham Gold Cup (on which I won some money with the horse Exotic Dancer which sadly died after a race at Aintree a couple of days ago). The Grand National is the other. It’s not the money that is the main objective of the betting – it simply adds to the excitement of the race. And, perhaps because I don’t gamble with the objective of making money, I nearly always do well.

The Chair

Whilst at college I gambled a lot more - with the objective then of supplementing my grant and whilst my winnings were OK it was just these two major races at which I excelled. My most notable success came with the 1970 Gold Cup where I backed the winner L’Escargot at 33/1 and then the following year when I predicted and backed the winner, second and third – L’Escargot, Leap Frog and The Dikler. In the 1970 Grand National I backed the winner, Gay Trip at 15/1. and the third, Miss Hunter, at 33/1.

The race for the line.

We shall see how Butler's Cabnin and Battle Cry get on today. If you don’t hear from me for a couple of days it will be because I have gone to Thailand on the winnings. Actually with the amounts I bet it’s more likely to be the Thai take-away!


  1. This is one race I just cannot watch - too many horses falling over those massive jumps - ugh! But I won't deny you your bet and I hope you win! Warm wishes to you, Vxx

  2. It is a nasty, cruel race. Horses love jumping but not over mountains. Please don't bet on it John. What is enjoyable about watching a horse jumping so high that it could break its neck on landing and racing fit to burst its heart?

  3. I would miss your posts if you were gone for days, but I hope you win nonetheless. :)


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