Spare me the do-gooders - please!

THERE is no denying that the Grand National at Aintree a week ago represented a bad day for National Hunt racing.

Two equine casualties through the contest, tarpaulin over a dead horse at the 20th fence, a screen erected at Becher's Brook and then the frantic scenes shortly after the winner, Ballabriggs, had crossed the line, as he was repeatedly dosed with copious amounts of water, were disconcerting to say the least.

And, of course, the tabloid reaction, in particular, on Sunday morning was entirely predictable.

There have been many calls this week, not for the first time, for the banning of the National and, indeed, all of National Hunt racing as well.

It is being led, in many cases, by people who don't know the first thing about racing, who never give a second thought to the overall picture and are quite happy to wallow in both their ignorance and hypocrisy.

No one could be in any way be happy with what happened at Aintree.

It was dreadful that two horses were killed and the fear Ballabriggs might collapse and die, with the world watching, made one feel distinctly uncomfortable.

But the National and National Hunt racing has to survive, and will survive, for the greater good.

This type of racing is far more than a sport, it is a thriving industry, providing employment for thousands and enjoyment for millions.

If the death of a number of horses along the way is the price to be paid then, unfortunately, that has to be the case.

Jockeys and horses put their lives at risk every time they participate in a race where obstacles have to be negotiated, all the more so in the National.

Horses are not pets, they cost a fortune to keep and have to be asked to earn their living on a number of occasions throughout the year.

But the National or say the Cheltenham Festival are soft targets for the do-gooders and journalists who hail from the school that says you should never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

There are many within racing who are furious at the coverage given to the National on Sunday.

I found Paul Nicholls' comments especially interesting. This is part of his offering. Said Nicholls: “The Mail on Sunday's coverage particularly annoys me, as I always go out of my way to help it. Now I'm thinking, why should I?”

Why the ambiguity Paul? Why not just come right out and say this paper and I have arrived at the parting of the ways?

That is the only weapon at his disposal and the only language they will understand.

I used to buy the Sunday Independent, I don't any more. The reason is quite simple. They had a columnist at one stage who did some savage hatchet jobs on prominent people.

I found two of his columns, one on John Hume and the other on Jack Charlton, totally unacceptable.

I had only one card to play, minor and all as it was, and that was to stop buying the paper. Haven't bought it for maybe 20 years and almost certainly will never do so again.

If you love the National do not in the future purchase papers you regard as having brought the game into disrepute last Sunday.

For those with only a passing interest, or none at all, who were disgusted at what they saw on Saturday, then just don't watch it next year.

But the show has to go on. Aintree and the RSPCA have done everything in their power to make the race as safe as possible and there's not much more to be said!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

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