Friday, April 07, 2006

Grand Nationals past

My first memory of the Grand National was of 1973, which turned out to be one of the greatest Nationals of all time, and recently voted the second best National Hunt race of all time in the UK. A good start to my Grand National experience, although it is at least as famous for the horse who lost as for the horse who won, who later himself became a legend in his own lifetime, the mighty Red Rum.

I was at my Grandparents in Guildford, Granny and Grandpa Mac, staying with them for what must have been the start of my Spring holidays from school. It was a cool grey day and I spent the whole morning going through the paper, not sure which one it was, but it was a broadsheet. Could have been the Daily (Hate) Mail, or the Telegraph. I had never heard of the race before, but I had caught onto the fact that it was a major event and having become interested in horses and, ot some extent, horse racing during our two years (1970-72) in Australia, I took great interest in trying to work out which of the 40 or so horses might win.

In that morning, at teh age of 12 I must have mastered the art of reading form and understanding the layout of the racing pages. I eventually chose Crisp. He was an Australian horse (which could be why I chose him, although I was not so happy with my time in Australia). He had good form in what appeared to have been good races and was also top weight and one of the favourites.

I was highly excited by the time the race started later in the afternoon and was absolutely thrilled to see Crisp go straight into the lead and jump the massive fences with incredible ease. Not only did he build up a lead but the lead got bigger and bigger as the race went on, and he seemd to be almost a fence ahead of teh nearest horse. Incredible to see this horse, any horse dominate a race like this.

So easy it looked, and still so easy as he jumped over the last fence but then.....

.... Crisp finally got tired. After over more than four miles, his stamina ran out and his stride shortened. He could hardly put on efoot in front of teh other whilst out of the pack came another horse. Red Rum. And in the final 50 yards, Red Rum finally got up to beat the mighty Crisp. Incredible.

I can't exactly remember what my grandparents thought of my newly acquired taste for horse racing, but I can't remember any dire warnings about gambling!

1973 is the year that Crisp was beaten in the Grand National.

Four years later, in 1977, his conqueror would become a legend, to win the race for the third time. No horse since has ever won it more than once. Maybe Hedgehunter tomorrow; we will see.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Locations of visitors to this page