The glorious return of the Grand National crowd

How wonderful after three years to have the crowds back to enjoy the glorious concoction of skill, bravery, razzmatazz and tear-jerking emotion Aintree’s Grand National meeting always provides. Having begun my working life on the Liverpool Daily Post in the days when developers’ greed nearly destroyed this national treasure, I relish my annual pilgrimage. Competition is almost as hot as at the Cheltenham Festival but somehow it comes without the angst. ‘You feel like it’s a party,’ said trainer Dan Skelton. ‘You are part of a carnival. I don’t drink but those who do tell me that they do that well here too.’ ‘Cheltenham is about pressure,’ said Grand National-winning

Aintree is doing Rose Paterson proud

On Grand National Day at Aintree this Saturday, the Rose Paterson Trust will be launched. This time last year, Rose was the chairman of Aintree, and had to cancel the meeting because of Covid. In June, she took her own life. The purpose of the trust is to help prevent such events. Owen, her widower, is very frank. He believes that: ‘If Rose had been aware of the utter catastrophe she has wrought — the first victim being herself — she would not have done it.’ The worst is that it cannot be undone. It is a wound that time can do frighteningly little to heal. He says it is

Does horse-racing have a future?

Asked, after his Imperial Aura’s impressive win in the Northern Trust Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, if he had been worried about one particular challenger in the race, Kim Bailey wryly replied: ‘Of course I was worried. I’m a racehorse trainer.’ Trainers now have a lot more to worry about. When we finally resume racing — and few expect it to be after the six weeks originally announced — how many of the 14,000 racehorses in training as the suspension was announced will be coming back? How many owners whose businesses have suffered from Covid-19 will see paying bills for forage, farriers and vets’ attentions as a priority