Article written by Neil Watson
This upcoming Saturday will feel totally different from the previous ones since i was around 8 years old when horse racing first came into my consciousness and my father let me have 25p on Durham Edition to be second in the first of many Grand National appearances.
In the morning we won’t be having a morning show from Aintree then after breakfast and the studying of the form we won’t be off to the bookies which has it’s usual bigger crowd than normal from the once a year punters and on top of all that we will be bereft of that beautiful tune from Carl Davis, the theme tune to Champions.
From the opening notes which immediately bring about the emotions of this wonderful and most beautiful of all staying chases to its orchestral crescendo at the end when Aldaniti passes the winning line in first place we will hear none of it, unless you press play below here.
In fact the whole week and month is different, normally on Thursday morning i set off for Aintree getting the train to Liverpool before some breakfast then meeting my mate Gary at the course for our pre racing chat before i head over to Red Rum’s grave to pay my respects then get ready for some top class jumping action over the three days in Merseyside.
Now given the current circumstances going on in the world right now, not having a Grand National is completely irrelevant and not important and quite rightly so but for horse racing fans and sports fans in general it’s still something hard to comprehend how this Covid-19 virus has come and torn it’s way through the fabric of our lives.
Aintree made the correct and only choice in cancelling the race and quite rightly it will not be rescheduled later in the year, to run it again would not be the right thing to do and the circumstances from when it was moved two days forward to Monday in 1997 are totally different to the ones we face today.
It may be selfish of us to wish that this Saturday we had a Grand National to look forward as sport like so many other forms of entertainment give us some escapism from the real world and boy oh boy do we need that right this minute.
C-19 may be with us but hopefully not for long and while its shortened the ending of the jumps season along with giving us the possibility of a very truncated flat season it has hopefully made us value the gift of life and make us kinder and nicer people as well as make us appreciate the things we all take for granted and myself am as guilty as everyone else for not doing that.
Saturday’s Virtual Grand National on ITV at 5pm will not be what we expected to be watching but for half an hour at least it gives us some escapism and entertainment, the result might not be what we expect but we can still have little side bets on who the computer thinks would have been the 2020 winner.
For the record i was keen on Kimberlite Candy and also liked Any Second Now, question is though, can a computer spot a potential Ted Walsh plot job in a big race?