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2 hours ago, DavidM said:

I came out in sympathy for Sandy Thompson and backed Flower of Scotland in the Scottish National , and then he withdrew it just before the race knackering my round robin so my sympathy went down a tiny notch 

I backed the second placed horse at 50/1 each way on a whim.  Quietly chuffed 🙂

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On 17/04/2023 at 11:09, The Phantom Horseman said:

The race was reduced slightly in distance around 10 years ago, though I don't think many knowledgable people suggest that the length of the race is a major welfare factor (nobody gets upset about the Scottish National or the Eider Chase over similar distances).

The fences have been made steadily smaller and softer over the last 20 years and now bear little resemblance to those jumped in the era of Red Rum, other than the traditional spruce covering (which horses can brush through easily) remains.

Personally, I wouldn't disagree with a reduction in field size.

There is always going to be a risk involved in the Grand National, just as there will be a risk in other racing (Flat and jumps), and just as there is a risk in horses being in a field. Everyone will have a threshold for what is acceptable risk, but the Grand National wouldn't come close to being one of the animal welfare issues that would be top of my list if I were a campaigner.

Red Rum and the National Hunt horses of that era would probably be able to just plough straight through the modern Grand National fences. I would raise the fences a little to force the horses to be slowed down before jumping as well as moving the start further forward so the field can't build up as much speed to the first fence.

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1 hour ago, Northern Eel said:

I saw this one elsewhere this week. My initial reaction was that those horses were kna&*ered and that they needed pulling up. 

This is unlicensed Irish amateur racing, known as Point to Point. Horses are mainly trained and owned by the riders. Professional racing is licensed and much more strict on this sort of thing.

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I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

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