What a difference 24 hours can be in the world of sport.
Saturday just gone we had the Grand National, it’s the one race that generates the most excitement of the year but also the most controversy.
As I’m sure you all know by now,approaching the Canal Turn for the first occasion,two horses came down,firstly Balthazar King came down and in turn brought down Ballycasey, Ballycasey simply got up and galloped on after his friends as they continued the race, Balthazar King however was down and not looking like getting up.
Richard Johnson the jockey of Balthazar King was still on the deck,then Ruby Walsh who had a more softer fall got up and went straight over to Balthazar King to stay with him as the various medical and veterinary team raced to the turf to do there jobs.
Ruby then for no concern of his own only to ensure the race can carry on quickly helped that the Canal Turn could be bypassed by getting the escape pen removed and standing on the course waving the flag and acting like a human traffic cone as the field came round and safely took the sharp turn and avoiding the screen as the vets worked their magic on Balthazar King.
For me this was no case of Ruby showing off but a concerned horseman and racing person doing his bit for the sport he loves.
Over the three days at Aintree we lost two horses,Balder Succes and Seedling,both were accidents that could easily have occurred at Ludlow or Carlisle but because it happened at Aintree it came to a more greater prominence.
Now roll on to the following day and two things occurred which are a mixture of silly and downright stupid.
Firstly the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett saying she would consider banning the Grand National, this was said despite her never actually seeing Saturday’s horse race so how she can have an opinion before looking at it is beyond me, secondly her native county Australia has obstacles far worse than over here which are actually more dangerous than ours!
But if she gets her way then what next?
Would all horse racing be banned then?
If you do that then the next step is to ban Point to Point racing,Show Jumping would soon follow,Three Day Eventing,Dressage,Polo,Carriage Driving,Brewery horses and what about horses pulling carriages for people on Blackpool streets and the streets of York too.
After that will the use of Police horses be outlawed,after all sending a horse all fully kitted out in riot gear into a full on riot in a major city or at a football match with rowdy,drunken and abusive fans is far worse surely than a steeplechase?
Think the Police is enough then don’t forget the Household Cavalry and the Mounted Soldiers at Horseguards Parade, the Royal Tournament with the wonderful displays of horses and gun carriages.
Let’s not forget the Queen too, The State Opening of Parliament and all state occasions featuring horses must also be banned,would Natalie Bennett be happy to see the Queen arrested even though she technically can’t be?
I doubt this woman realises that the horse is the original working animal,before the invention of cars,railways and buses it was the horse that transported the post,passengers and goods across country, would she be happy for all horses to be abandoned with no hope or future because of one horse race run in Merseyside?
Anyway to change the subject, the other thing that would have eclipsed all that occurred at Aintree almost happened yesterday in France on the famous Paris-Roubaix Cycle race when at a level crossing during the race a train was approaching and naturally the crossing barriers came down, however they were only the small ones and not full length gates and because of this some of the riders decides to cross anyway, thankfully one of the police motorbike riders came and stopped them from doing it.
What could have happened is unthinkable but it would have knocked what happened at Aintree to the small print as the thought of a train hitting the cyclists full on and live on television around the world would have been one of the worst sporting accidents of all time.
Here is what thankfully didn’t happen due to a policeman using common sense
I could also mention at the Boat Race on Saturday which had eighty people or so being rescued by the RNLI including a child who was separated from his parents as the tides began to rise on the Thames, amazingly this event at the snobby sports days didn’t get as much attention in the media!
So what does all this show?
Well you can interpret it as you so wish, Horse racing did lose two horses who were both loved and treasured by their respective owners plus the trainers and the dedicated stable staff who gave them 24/7 love,care and affection.
Rowing had some selfish idiots being rescued by a public funded rescue service,I just hope they all made a sizeable donation for the volunteers who came to their aid when needed.
Cycling could have had a huge accident and live showing of elite athletes being killed on tv by a train ploughing into them due to crass stupidity and lack of common sense.
Of all these things for me it’s horse racing that’s the winner here for sure.