Letter - Too many in National

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On Saturday I took my annual trip to the bookmakers to place the each way bets for my family members on the Grand National horse race.

Watching our individual selections perform at this national spectacle makes you feel more involved. However, the event over the years has become dogged with controversy and somewhat shoddy organisation.

Sadly, this year may be the last time I want to participate in this way.

As many will have witnessed we watched as a horse shook off its rider on the preamble to the start of the race, and headed off down the course. It was eventually caught and the start was delayed until the jockey and mount were reunited.

Thus the horse’s fate was sealed. A cursory inspection by a vet was made and the race went ahead only to see the course, a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner only three weeks earlier, lose its life during this so called ‘sporting’ event.

If this event is to remain the only day the vast majority of us have the slightest interest in this sport that is so deeply embraced by gambling and money making, it needs to accept changes are needed.

The Grand National has too many horses in it. Far too many are ‘no hopers’ which cynics could say are only in the race to cause incidents and accidents.

It turns the race into nothing more than a lottery, which is probably why it is the only time people bet on a race.

If this event is to stay close to peoples’ hearts it needs participants who will have qualified on recent form, and thus be a worthy entrant.

My final thought is a line from a very old song from my youth which I always recall as I place my best: “Horses don’t bet on people, and that’s why they never go broke”.

Charlie Keith

Fourth Avenue

Newton Hill