There are other races and other horses to consider at Aintree today, notably the brilliant Thistlecrack (3.40) and the almost-as-brilliant Douvan (3.00), but we all know that today is basically all about one race. The race. The race that everyone, however flimsy their interest in racing, knows. The race that gets even haggard old cynics who think they’ve seen it all before as excited as they were when watching their first National. 1982, Grittar, Hard Outlook, Loving Words (vague recollections of earlier Nationals may apply).
To get you all in the mood, here are (some of) the thoughts of the peerless Lee Mottershead in today’s Racing Post, to whip you into a frothy frenzy of anticipation.
The sight of 40 horses charging towards that first green fence like a Liverpudlian light brigade delivers a thrill that is unique. The Grand National is embedded deep within our cultural DNA and this afternoon, in front of a worldwide audience of 600 million, the wonderful old race has the potential to write one of its most special stories.