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And they’re off!!!

You know John it’s the Grand National this Saturday and it always makes me feel very nostalgic. My grandfather liked the occasional flutter and I remember him being so happy when Highland Wedding won in 1969. I have won the occasional sweep stake over the years as well. I don’t think there is the interest in it that there used to be, what do you think? Of course many people think the race too dangerous as horses and riders can be severely injured, according to the BBC website “The Grand National carries a higher risk than a lot of other horse races for several reasons. It is a steeplechase, which is more dangerous than flat and hurdle racing. On top of this, it is also longer than the average race with more fences to jump, 30 in total.”

Here is Red Rum with trainer Ginger McCain, surely the most iconic national winner ever.

red rum

 

 

So John would you believe it, just look what I have found, a poem by Henry Birtles “The Racing Poet”

 

BECHER’S BROOK
(…over to Michael O’Hare)

“As the field comes down to Becher’s”; it’s the big Grand National Call

It defines ten thousand stories and it gets the skin to crawl

For it means we’re in the thick of it, a Nation bound as one

And we hold our breath collectively and we want to turn and run.

There’s a sofa there to hide behind, there’s a door onto the street

There’s anywhere but the TV screen, but for them there’s no retreat

So they hurtle on relentlessly to the glory or the fall

“As the field comes down to Becher’s”; it’s a phrase that says it all

You see Becher’s Brook is a law of one, the most famous trap in sport

As a rider, it’s your worst nightmare, it’s your eve of Aintree thought

And you know as a fan or a once a year man, when they cross that path on the course

That it’s looming large, with a drop of doom and it’s calling the bluff of your horse

There’s bolt hole under the staircase, there’s a door onto the street

There’s anywhere but the goddamn race, yet for them there’s no retreat

So they hurtle on relentlessly to the glory or the fall

“As the field comes down to Becher’s”; it’s the big Grand National Call

Check out www.henrybirtles.co.uk for more