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16th April 2018
Plus 7 and wet when driving in. Yes more rain overnight.
Monday morning and back to normality after 3 days in Liverpool.
My travelling head girl Leigh Pollard probably sums up our time up there better than I could..Here are her thoughts.
''Fully recovered from two long days at Aintree for the Grand National meeting. Fortunately all our runners came back in one piece.
Although all our horses that run over the national fences are good jumpers and we have never had a major problem, the added risk always raises my stress levels! And our two runners this year did not help with this!
Gallery Exhibition got stage fright going down the chute onto the course. We have had problems here before, it is very narrow and noisy, the crowd hang over the rails and it can be quite overwhelming for horses. We got him going in the end and he completed the race.
Then on Saturday The Last Samuri got very hot in the parade ring before the race. We were able to take him back out and cool him and settle him and by the time he ran he was back to himself.
Both these incidents were intensely covered by the television cameras, which I felt was unnecessary.
There is unfortunately nowhere separate for stable staff to stand and watch the racing and for the second year in a row I saw and heard complaints about staff not being able to get on the course to get to their horses.
There has to be a balance between security and safety and allowing stable staff to do their jobs. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to get to your horse.
On a positive note the stable staff are very well looked after at Aintree. We are given a voucher for a free meal and a drink, which includes cans and bottles. I have not seen this anywhere else; usually you only get free tea or coffee and all other drinks have to be paid for. The stable yard is well laid out too, there is a designated walking off area which helps as in some areas space is limited for this.
Aintree is a nice place and great for race goers, I appreciate the quality of Racing and the hype the grand national brings but I personally am looking forward to being back at Cheltenham this week!''
Leigh is right about getting onto the course to be with their horses after the race.. security is very tight and even I had problems.
I feel the biggest problem is that the horses, especially before the Grand National, are in the paddock for far too long.
The whole parade ring becomes very tight with 40 odd horses and all their owners and hanger oners..Everybody is jostling for space and by the time the jockeys come out, photographed and the National Anthem is sung your horse has been walking round for a good 15/20 minutes.. yes too long, especially when some become fractious.
Saturdays race was an epic. A photo finish and between the two top trainers in Ireland. All the runners came home and yet again record crowds and wonerderful racing.. Aintree is pretty special.