aibu to HATE the bloody Grand National....

(109 Posts)
ThatVikRinA22 Sat 05-Apr-14 02:13:59

i cant watch.
i refuse to watch.
cruel horrendous barbaric stupid race. and for what?

hate the fucking thing. wish it was banned.

Well I agree. What's the point in a beautiful talented horse if you risk it's life? Sure there's lots of people on here that will disagree with us though.

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 05-Apr-14 02:24:08

im not a fan of horse racing in any case - too many unwanted and failed horses looking for homes or going to slaughter. really pisses me off. hugely.
but this race is the pits. i hate it. i refuse to watch it - every year horses die trying to complete it.
its a shite course. i hate the way everyone treats it as a bit of fun doing bloody betting syndicates etc.
horses die in this race, its a given. every bloody year.
all i want is my own horse and in the racing industry they are just throw away appendages. used and got rid of.

ravenAK Sat 05-Apr-14 02:28:06

I agree vicar, but it'll turn into a bunfight. Does every year sad.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 02:48:34

Anyone can hold whatever opinion they like about the GN but please, get your facts right or you just make yourself appear ignorant and weaken your argument.

The Grand National has been running since 1839. That's 175 years. In that time, 79 horses have died in the race. Every one of those deaths is regrettable but that is not, by any stretch, "a given, every bloody year". It's not even one horse every other year. Every horse came back safe and sound as recently as last year, for example.

You might want to read the other thread which is already running on the subject to learn about some of the modifications that have been made to the course and the race to minimise the risks.

Caitlin17 Sat 05-Apr-14 02:51:47

I hate it. YANBU

Melonade Sat 05-Apr-14 07:54:56

The annual fake concern about animal welfare, all done via the tv and computer keyboard...

Joysmum Sat 05-Apr-14 08:23:59

the Grand National, a popular steeplechase held annually in England, yielded 7 fatalities out of 439 horses taking part between 2000 and 2010.

That's a dreadful proportion and those statistics speak for themselves.

A race where, despite new safety measures, 1 in every 62 dies is far too great a risk.

Cat98 Sat 05-Apr-14 08:25:46

I agree. I hate it.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 17:18:09

OP and others, you'll be pleased to hear that all 40 runners have come home safe and sound after the race.

I don't watch it either, bloody awful race and the way the 'experts' dismiss any fatal incidents and shrug their shoulders is appalling.

Luckily today there were no fatalities [so I hear].

I do like a good fast flat race like the Derby, I should add.

OurMiracle1106 Sat 05-Apr-14 17:26:52

what isnt in those statistics is the horses that have so badly injuried themselves during the race they either can never race again or have to be put to sleep because the damage is beyond repair.

Mrsmorton Sat 05-Apr-14 17:31:39

Plenty of horses suffer catastrophic injuries flat racing youstayclassy don't let your lack of knowledge affect your ability to be a hypocrite though hmm

All GN threads are started and supported by the least informed frothers IMO.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 17:35:51

OurMiracle that happens in every single sphere of equestrianism, professional and amateur. I have plenty of friends whose horses have had to be retired or PTS because they have damaged tendons or suffered other injuries while being ridden at slow paces, while doing their own thing in the field, while jumping a low fence at a controlled canter. You can't single racing out on that score - the only way to avoid it would be to ban horses, full stop.

fayrae Sat 05-Apr-14 17:38:36

Should we ban horse riding, or just horse racing?

grovel Sat 05-Apr-14 17:44:33

SelectAUserName, that's right.

RhondaJean Sat 05-Apr-14 17:46:29

All horses and riders back safely this year.

Thattimeofyearagain Sat 05-Apr-14 17:47:29


Oooh Mrsmorton, keep your hair on love. smile

I didn't profess to have knowledge, just that I hate the Grand National.

As you were.

ilovesooty Sat 05-Apr-14 17:57:31

Here we go again.

No horses died during the three day meeting.

The course has been significantly modified.

It's once a year.

You're quite free to ignore it.

What do you do to promote equine welfare during the year?

Thattimeofyearagain Sat 05-Apr-14 18:02:02

Ill informed pearl clutching, get a grip op & if you don't like it don't fucking watch it.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 05-Apr-14 18:03:36

I didn't even know it was on.
I'm not a fan myself so don't let it bother me, more important things to do.

gordyslovesheep Sat 05-Apr-14 18:03:54

I'm more pissed off with the endless threads about how much people hate it hmm

surely one will do

ExcuseTypos Sat 05-Apr-14 18:04:19

I caught the end bit, where the riders are whipping those poor horsesangry.

It's fucking brutal.

ExcuseTypos Sat 05-Apr-14 18:06:17

get a grip op & if you don't like it don't fucking watch it

What a stupid thing to say.

Bowlersarm Sat 05-Apr-14 18:07:26


Don't watch it if you'd rather not.

jellybeans Sat 05-Apr-14 18:07:48

YANBU. Many people are ignorant about what goes on, I was until a few years back. It's a grim thing, not a sport at all. But it makes money and that's all that matters sadly to many.

Thattimeofyearagain Sat 05-Apr-14 18:11:07

Why is it stupid Excusetypos ?

A small tap with a whip doesn't hurt the horse

Thattimeofyearagain Sat 05-Apr-14 18:12:40

Oh, and they do not "brutally whip" horses, FFS!

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 18:19:06

The whips are air cushioned, so much of the force is dissipated by the air pocket. They are also used at the end of the race when the adrenaline in the horses' systems is at its highest, and adrenaline has the effect of reducing pain. Much of the effect of the whip is through the sound it makes, which encourages the horse to run away from it i.e. forwards, and also from the jockey waving it alongside the horse to keep it concentrating and running in a straight line.

Whip use in races is very tightly controlled and any jockey which uses it too frequently or too hard according to the rules will be banned. The bans are cumulative too, so if a jockey doesn't learn from his mistake first time, he will get a longer ban next time. Jockeys are paid per race so if they aren't riding because they're banned, they aren't earning so the incentive is there for them to stick to the rules.

JumpingJackSprat Sat 05-Apr-14 18:19:18

I agree op. How many athletics meets results are announced with "and no fatalities this year! " unfortunately as you say horses are expendable. Thousands of young horses are discarded by the industry and either shot or sold for an uncertain future in private homes where they may or may not be sympathetically retrained at huge cost in terms of time and money. If only the industry didn't ruin these horses in the first place. .. But of course money is king. Everyone at work looks askance at me when I refuse to do the syndicates. It's purely down to luck that no horses died this year.

Procrastinating Sat 05-Apr-14 18:22:41

Don't watch it if you'd rather not.

Horses still die if you don't watch it.

Procrastinating Sat 05-Apr-14 18:25:57

I'm not frothing by the way, I'm marking philosophy essays.

ExcuseTypos Sat 05-Apr-14 18:29:06

"They do not brutally whip the horses"

Have you SEEN them as they approach the finishing line! Which word would you use to describe them thrashing a horse numerous times?

ExcuseTypos Sat 05-Apr-14 18:31:41

Select you can not believe the horse isnt left in any pain (once the race finishes and the adrenaline has gone) from the numerous hits it has had?

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 18:32:15

Excuse, read my post about the whip. Facts rather than emotive frothing.

ExcuseTypos Sat 05-Apr-14 18:35:50

Select I have read your post about the whip. Maybe you should try reading my question.

I'm not frothing thta's normally the accusation when someone can't answer the question put to them.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 18:39:06

X-post. I have seen with my own eyes many hundreds, if not thousands, of horses post-race. No marks on their coat, eyes bright, ears pricked. Happy to eat and drink, which a horse in pain won't do. No signs of pain whatsoever. That's because, as I explained at length, the whips are designed to produce the maximum effect with the mininum amount of pain or discomfort.

C4 showed the winner about half an hour after the race finished, so after the adrenaline will have dispersed. He was walking round happily, his ears pricked, standing up for the camera calmly with that 'look at me' presence of a happy relaxed horse. Anyone who knows horses can recognise both the signs of pain and the signs of an unstressed horse, and the winner was most definitely the latter.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 18:40:03

What's the point in a beautiful talented horse if you risk it's life?

Exactly- what is the point?

If these horses didn't race they wouldn't exist.

YolandiFuckinVisser Sat 05-Apr-14 18:42:08

The horses are exploited for our pleasure, same as any other point at which humans come into contact with humans from the meat/dairy industry through racing horses/dogs/snails through hunting/shooting through to benign pet ownership. We use animals wherever and however we see fit.

This used to bother me no end. I was a vegan hunt saboteur and militant animal rights type. I now eat meat & bet on the national, the younger me would have been horrified. I still hold the view that we are in general exploitative where animals are concerned, i just can't bring myself to care any more.

ExcuseTypos Sat 05-Apr-14 18:45:10

select I find your observations as useful and reassuring as those who defend hunting.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 18:49:43

That's fine Excuse, it's your prerogative to disregard factual evidence from someone who knows what they're talking about in favour of prejudice and and narrow-minded preconceptions. You're a very interesting example of confirmation bias in action, so thanks for that.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 18:50:49

Ah, fox hunting now.

Have you ever witnessed what a fox does to a chicken coup?

If these horses didn't race they would even be bred?

Unless you are a 100% committed vegan, who has never owned a pet and never visited a zoo/ safari park, moaning about the GN is beyond hypocritical

Thattimeofyearagain Sat 05-Apr-14 18:52:53

Excuse I find your ill informed whitterings as useful as a chocolate fireguard.
Select is telling you the facts.

tmae Sat 05-Apr-14 18:55:00

YANBU, also not watching doesn't stop it being disgusting...

FrankelandFilly Sat 05-Apr-14 18:55:05

There is a strict limit on the number of times a horse can be struck with a whip. Quite often what you think is the jockey striking the horse is actually the jockey waving the whip so that it makes a noise.

As select has said racing whips are heavily cushioned in comparison to ordinary riding whips. You can see the difference in exercise whips and racing whips in this link.

ExcuseTypos Sat 05-Apr-14 19:02:13

I don't care for your facts though. It like telling me about smacking a child lightly, me saying I disagree with it and you saying "well it doesn't hurt, those are the facts".

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 19:14:51

Of course, because horses and children are exactly the same. hmm

Anthropomorphising animals does them a huge disservice and can lead to inadvertent and well-meaning but incontrovertible harm, because they don't think like humans, they think like animals with the instinct of animals, and failing or choosing not to recognise this results in the unfortunate "killed by kindness" phenomenon.

In my riding days, if I was riding a horse on the road - which unfortunately I had to do occasionally, as the only route to safe hacking - and he started playing up in traffic, I didn't have the time and he didn't have the intellectual capability for me to explain calmly that his behaviour was endangering our lives and the safety of the motorists around us. It was a case of a quick slap with the whip to get him to stop dancing about and focus immediately and to move him away from the danger. I wouldn't deal with a child messing around near cars in the same way, because one is half a ton of horse capable of doing a lot of damage who can't be reasoned with, and one is a human being who isn't and - depending on age - can be.

ExcuseTypos Sat 05-Apr-14 19:22:54

The example I used wasn't meant to convey that I thought children and horses were exactly the same.

I meant to convey that I strongly disagree with this race and whatever you tell me won't change my mind about it.

I'll leave it there.

tmae Sat 05-Apr-14 19:23:45

Yes, but if you hadn't been sitting on his back in traffic neither of your lives would have been put at risk in the first place.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 19:26:48

Ok then tmae, if horse weren't ridden/ raced, please explain what justification there would be for them existing at all?

tmae Sat 05-Apr-14 19:28:30

I wouldn't have them live in any capacity in captivity, I don't think they should be kept in those conditions at all, if that meant they didn't exist except in countries where you still get wild horses then that would be that, and I would be perfectly satisfied with that.

Nokidsnoproblem Sat 05-Apr-14 19:29:15

Horse racing is disgusting all year round, as is all animal abuse.

Anyone who participates in the GN in any way is a disgusting human being.

It's as simple as that.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 19:30:36

Quite tmae. And if Monsieur and Madame Lenoir, and Herr and Dame Otto, had never met you could say the same thing. Your point is?

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 19:38:58

Do you eat meat/ use any animal products/ have pets nokids.

If you do, what exactly is your justification for your views?

tmae Sat 05-Apr-14 19:39:08

I simply don't agree with animal use for human fun. You do, that's your opinion, great, but don't expect everyone to agree with you. In your example I do agree it was responsible to give your horse a whip to protect it as that was the only way to ensure both of you were safe, I just can't help but feel sad about animals being scared by traffic in the first place. I'm off to watch Dad's Army now as to continue this is pointless as we'll never agree, but then again life would be boring if we did!

Funnyfoot Sat 05-Apr-14 19:39:39

Why is it that this one race gets the tongue lashing?

For all you 'I hate the GN' thread starters I didn't see you start any threads about Cheltenham?
There is a Macmillan cancer meet at York on the 14th of June due any of you wish to start a thread about how much you hate that?

If you have a complete belief that all horse racing is cruel and you regularly campaign against it on here or else where then fine go ahead and blow ya horn.

If your just one of those idiots that only think about equine welfare once per year when it is advertised at you from all angles then get off your soap box. You don't belong there!

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 19:41:44

Yay to funnyfoot

There seems to be an awful lot of hypocrisy on this thread.

Greydog Sat 05-Apr-14 19:45:02

I think the reason that people hate the national (and I do) is because of the way it's rammed down your throats & advertised on TV.

I don't see this rubbish for the other race tracks, which have their own share of fatalities. And, I had the drunken yobbish scum which are attracted to races, no matter where they are held

Greydog Sat 05-Apr-14 19:45:57

I mean't "hate" -dear me, typing when cross!

Funnyfoot Sat 05-Apr-14 19:46:16

Not just this thread Bear it's all over the forum today.

I adore animals and I care about where my meat comes from, make up, pets and eggs. I have also in my youth been involved in the horse racing world and I can tell you they are the most monitored and regulated of the animal sports. Spout about dog racing too because that is also a animal racing sport. Why stop at the GN.

CremeEggThief Sat 05-Apr-14 19:49:02

YANBU. I think all horse and dog racing should be banned.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 19:50:06

Fair enough tmae, you're right that we won't agree but I respect your views, as I do anyone who is consistent in their beliefs and lives by their principles without hypocrisy.

Enjoy Dad's Army. Don't tell 'em Pike!

FrankelandFilly Sat 05-Apr-14 19:57:42

I don't know the figures for dog racing, but if you banned horse racing that would mean:

- the loss of around 17,500 jobs in the UK
- the loss of over £275 million in tax revenue each year
- the likely death of around 35,000 horses (15,000 in training, approx 10,000 broodmares and stallions, around 10,000 young stock yet to reach racing age)


Those facts alone mean horse racing will never be banned.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 20:16:07

That jobs figure is only the number of people directly employed in racing, of course. You'd also have the knock-on effect on feed merchants, farriers, saddlers, equine vets, other equine practitioners etc. And the majority of these establishments are in rural locations, which don't need further job losses and resulting poverty.

There would also be the loss to equine veterinary research and rare breed conservation of the Levy contribution, which is a proportion of every pound bet on horse racing in bookmakers' shops. This research benefits not only racehorses but the general horse population due to the knowledge and treatments developed as a direct result of this funding. Millions of everyday horses would suffer as a result of this funding cut, and historic national breeds such as the Suffolk Punch, Cleveland Bay and Shire horse would be at even greater risk of extinction than they are now.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 20:18:48

If you truly believe any activity involving animals is abuse and, more importantly, you live by your beliefs eg not eating/using any animal based products, no leather products, no pets etc, then I respect your views.

If you just feel the need to rant about the GN whilst demonstrating the utmost hypocrisy in the rest of your life then don't be surprised that your thoughts don't count for much.

As for posters like yolandi who believe it's all wrong but can't be arsed to care anymore- words fail me.

BramblePie Sat 05-Apr-14 20:21:59

Well, no horses died this year. And i won £150 so YABU smile

Joysmum Sat 05-Apr-14 20:28:25

Horse still die if you don't watch. Glad that this year and last there have been no fatalities. Hopefully the safety adjustments are going in the right direction. I won't be watching until I'm sure that is so though.

As for the 'whips', I suggest those who oppose rethink by trying to find one of these 'whips' and getting someone to hit you with it. They aren't 'whips' in conventional terms and don't hurt.

I do however object to babies being started far too young and the fact that in later life many horses have to be PTS due to complications from the shit start in life they had. sad

TeaAndALemonTart Sat 05-Apr-14 20:32:34

I love it. It's a big family tradition for us and we all get involved GPs, DCs etc.

Couldn't care less about those posters who bitch on about it but don't campaign about other races.

LEMmingaround Sat 05-Apr-14 20:33:18

YAsoNBU!! I've always hated it, i hate the way that horses are owned by people that may as well have bought a race car. Just to make them money - its shit. it is very different to horse riding.

ElectricAngels Sat 05-Apr-14 20:33:28


This blog nicely sums up my views - on all horse racing of this type.

And the argument of "And I won X amount" that you see every time this happens is saddening. Because that obviously makes it all ok. hmm

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 20:40:56

electric- do you eat meat? Do you wear leather shoes?

As for Ruby's Walsh's 'horses are replaceable' comment- he got right royally fucked off his next ride and broke his arm so there's definitely an element of karma there.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 20:44:46

LEMming, you are aware that very few owners actually make money from racing, aren't you? With only a handful of exceptions, owners actually subsidise racing to the tune of millions of pounds per year. Most of them do it for love of the sport, especially in National Hunt racing where the prize money is smaller and there is no money to be made in stud values as the majority of the horses are gelding.

In 2012, racehorse owners spent £369 million gross in racing (excluding purchase of horses) for a total prize money fund of £98 million. You don't have to have a maths degree to see that for the majority of owners, that equates to a net loss.

Melonade Sat 05-Apr-14 20:51:29

With that level of ignorance and misinformation, I wouldn't want anyone from PETA to get near any of my horses!

MrsBradfield Sat 05-Apr-14 20:53:00

There are fatalities (human and equine) in every equestrian discipline. Eventing, racing, hunting, endurance etc. the horses are bred for their particular discipline, and it is very difficult to make a horse do something if it does not want to do it. Take the non starter for example. You do not mess about with 1/2 ton of animal lightly. I think all those who get upset regarding the GN need to base the argument on the whole picture as others have said, there are many other race meetings throughout the year, of which we do not hear a peep out of so called 'concerned' spectators/casual viewers.

FrankelandFilly Sat 05-Apr-14 20:53:12

Ruby's comment about horses being replaceable was taken out of context. He was talking about some people not caring about the people (jockeys) involved. You have to remember that these guys spend their working time being followed by an ambulance. Statistically they are likely to fall off around once in every 10 rides, which is pretty much every other day for a jockey with a full book of rides (usually 6 or 7 per day). They have a real bond with each other in the weighing room and they watch each other take horrific falls knowing that it could easily be them next.

Just this week jockey Sharon Murgatroyd, who was paralysed in a fall some 20 years ago, died and JT McNamara is still paralysed in hospital following his fall at last year's Cheltenham Festival.

You may not agree with the sport but to say the jockey's deserve it shows a shocking lack of human compassion.

There are fatalities in almost every sport! Since 1889, there have been about 104 fatalities on the football pitch.
Just throwing this out there by the way, I have no intention to stay and argue out the ins and outs of horse racing.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 20:56:16

To be fair, I do fear for the horse that didn't even start the race today- I don't doubt there are incidents of cruelty and a horse that doesn't even start a race isn't going to enamour itself to its owners.

Melonade Sat 05-Apr-14 20:57:52

Why don't you send them an offer to buy that horse on its retirement then bearbehind? I have several friends with ex racehorses, its perfectly possible. They keep them at local livery yards, easily practicable and affordable for all.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 21:00:55

If you're really that naive to think its that easy melonade then you've kind of proved the point on this thread.

Where the fuck could most people keep a race horse?

If they weren't bred for racing, they wouldn't exist.

FrankelandFilly Sat 05-Apr-14 21:03:30

Battle Group has refused to race before, a couple of races ago I believe. He's obviously a quirky old character who knows his own mind, I wouldn't be concerned about his future.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 21:04:21

It varies from trainer to trainer/owner to owner Bear. To be fair, most trainers are horsemen through and through and know that you can't force a horse to do anything. Some will persevere and try different training methods, or transfer it to a different trainer in the hope a change of scenery will freshen it up, some will sell the horse on for an alternative career. One horse, Deano's Beano, who famously refused to start a race (not the National) for Tony McCoy became a sort of mascot for a retired racehorse charity so his 'notoriety' became a force for good.

Melonade Sat 05-Apr-14 21:06:50

Don't swear at me Bearbehind. I assumed that, since you were spouting off, telling people who have horses what to do, you would be in a position to actually do something useful yourself.

Most people who have horses keep them at livery yards, many of them going up twice or more a day, fitted in round their jobs. That's what most people with horses do. Its an extremely popular sport.

Plenty of racehorses are rehomed and lead useful lives. I was out hacking with my friend on her one today. Please don't propagate the idea that there is some great problem with them. There is a problem in there being a shortage of competent amateur riders who know what they are doing, but this doesn't mean that ex racehorses are especially difficult. Most of them are used to being ridden out in traffic and in company at any rate.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 21:13:54

Please tell me where exactly I was 'telling people who have horses what to do ' melonade

I expressed a concern for a top flight race horse which failed to actually race.

I don't disagree with the principle of racing at all. I do disagree with those who are so hypocritical to insist the Grand National is barbaric whilst seeing no irony in having leather shoes or eating meat.

TeaAndALemonTart Sat 05-Apr-14 21:18:27

Ah fuck it.

The nag I bet on is still running I think, it was fucking useless but if it turns up here tomorrow it can live in my garden.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 21:20:15

One of the reasons more riders don't take on ex-racehorses is because there is a belief that to compete in dressage - the fastest-growing equestrian sport - you need a particular breed; a Warmblood. If you're aiming for the Olympics that's probably the case, but most amateur riders will do well if they make it to Medium level, and any basically well-put-together horse is capable of performing a neat and accurate dressage test at the levels below Medium (at least) if schooled and ridden competently.

So we have this bizarre situation where there are thousands of racehorses leaving racing who would, with a bit of time and schooling, be perfectly capable of making good amateur dressage horses, but a fair proportion of those amateur riders head off to Germany and Holland instead to buy second-rate Warmbloods, many of which they struggle with because of their excitable natures even worse than a Thoroughbred's, or who go lame because of the way Dutch horses in particular are being bred.

We need to highlight the versatility of the Thoroughbred much more, which is why it's great that former Grand National winner Neptunes Collonges is now competing (and winning) at low level amateur dressage, and the greatest steeplechaser of my lifetime, Kauto Star, is also being re-schooled for dressage.

Melonade Sat 05-Apr-14 21:22:43

Anyway, a quick look at Battle Group's record, with 8 wins from 20 starts and only a 9 year old - I wouldn't fear too much for his future. While he's still a good horse, he's not a top flight horse by any means, but he is decent. His last 4 runs suggest he has lost a bit of enthusiasm or confidence, and its a trainer's job to think of ways to solve that, either time off or a different regime, sending him hurdling, checking for ulcers, bone scans, whatever. He could be sold, but I think he would be in quite a lot of demand as he has a good record prior to his last 4 months.

Horses are machines, and sometimes they just don't want to race. It doesn't mean they will be marched off to the slaughterhouse.

Melonade Sat 05-Apr-14 21:24:53

To be fair though Select, Re-training of Racehorses classes at local shows are The Thing right now. They are the fullest classes and increasing all the time, compared to the Hunters and certainly the Hacks. Some shows are even having to run two divisions.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 21:26:15

Sorry melonade I didn't realise that qualifying for the GN made a horse just 'good' rather than 'top flight'

I'd love to hear your list of what you'd define as a 'top flight horse'.

Melonade Sat 05-Apr-14 21:27:50

Err bearbehind something a Grade 1 or 2 winner, such as Long Run or Tidal Bay.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 21:31:06

ODOF melonade these were the 40 best jump horses in the world otherwise they wouldn't have been there.

In my book that makes them 'top flight'.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 21:35:13

To be fair Bear, Melonade is correct. The Grand National is a handicap, so the very very best horses - the current Gold Cup winner, the winners of other Grade 1 races this season - tend not to run in it because they would be given too much weight in relation to the other horses, because they're so much better.

The Grand National is the most famous race in the world, and one of the most challenging in terms of stamina, but it is not the "best" in terms of the participants being the highest-rated or in terms of pure 'quality' as it is measured by those who quantify such things in racing.

Melonade Sat 05-Apr-14 21:38:20

I admire your enthusiasm for the Grand National BearBehind but it is a long distance handicap race. Not a Championship race run at level weights. The best two horses in it were Long Run, who has won a Cheltenham Gold Cup, and Tidal Bay, who won the Lexus Chase. The top flight horses tend to run and be placed in shorter Championship races at level weights.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 21:40:30

Ok select but any horse capable of competing at that level can't just be defined as 'good'. It has to be 'top flight' by definition.

Anyway, you me and melonade are actually arguing on the same side.

This is an argument about horse racing, and in particular the Grand national, and no one who disagrees with it has actually said they boycott all animal products etc which makes any argument they have, extremely dubious.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 21:43:34

If you can argue that any horse in the GN today is not in the top 10% of all horses in the world I'll gladly apologise. If not, I ascert that these horses are 'top flight'.

FrankelandFilly Sat 05-Apr-14 21:48:16

As others have said the Grand National is not considered a top level race. A top level race is a Group 1 like the Derby, the Arc, the July Cup, the Gold Cup, the Champion Hurdle, etc.

The GN is a handicap which means horses are weighted according to ability. Whilst there are often some very good horses in the field, like Long Run though he is past his best, the majority would be best described as decent racehorses, not great ones.

Allofaflumble Sat 05-Apr-14 21:55:35

This is not strictly about the GN but I would like to share with you about how in my experience the trainer and owner of a horse care about it very much.

In 2011 I watched a horse race on tv which was being held at Exeter. A horse fell and I got so upset I could not stop thinking about it! In the end I found out the name of the trainer and then emailed his secretary to enquire after the horse. I feared it may have died.

I was told he was fine and recovering nicely. He went on to fall again at the next meeting. I thought he would be mincemeat and hardly dared find out. When I again enquired I was told that he was ok.

Then I think he sustained an injury and I read that the trainer said it was touch and go but they had sent him to a vetinary hospital and with the best treatment they hoped he would recover.

When I next enquired how he was I was told his owner had taken him back for a summer vacation.

Imagine my delight to read that on his return this horse had come first in a race. He then went on to run a terrible race at Cheltenham. Then he had another 1st out of 4 horses and a few 5th places etc.

The point is that this horse has made neither trainer nor owner a heap of money. I follow any news of him I can. The secretary told me that his owner loves her horses and is very patient with them.

I know some horses may not be so lucky but I just wanted to let you know this true story. I will forever have a bond with this horse which is beyond explanation and it seems I am not alone in caring very much about him!

elastamum Sat 05-Apr-14 21:55:37

If it makes you feel any better I have just done a count and there are 12 ex racehorses, including one of mine all living quite happily in the livery yard where I keep mine. Most were given away on retirement from racing and are hacking, doing dressage and showing. A couple are in their twenties and enjoying their retirement. There are still a lot of people out there happy to take them on.

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 21:56:10

It's a complicated thing to quantify, which is why there is an entire industry built entirely around allocating every racehorse a rating. The Grand National is unique in that it is about half a mile longer than any other race in the fixture list, so the horses who take part - especially the ones who come back year after year - tend to be rather 'niche' performers, and in the main tend not to have the speed required to make them competitive in the Grade 1 & 2 races which are all over much shorter distances. The Gold Cup, the top-rated race for staying chasers, is run over 3m2f so over a mile shorter than the National, the second-most prestigious graded chase, the King George, is 3 miles and the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the real 'speedster' steeplechase, is over the minimum jumps distance of 2 miles.

In general, the graded race winners are rated higher, i.e. better, than the majority of National competitors, because of the way racing is organised so that more of an emphasis is on speed, or a blend of speed and stamina, than it is on pure stamina.

As a comparison, this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner has a current official chase rating of 165. Pineau de Re, today's GN winner, has an official chase rating of 143. Each point on the rating scale equates to a pound in weight. This means that if they met in a race, the Gold Cup winner would have to carry 22lbs more than the Grand National winner, as he is rated 22lbs better. And this year's Gold Cup winner is not considered a particularly brilliant winner compared to previous champions such as Kauto Star (rated 190 at his peak) or Denman.

So on balance, I'd agree that within the context of ratings and the hierarchy of races as both are understood within racing, Grand National winners are "good to very good" rather than "top flight". There are exceptions of course, and I'd say Long Run and Tidal Bay, who ran in today's race, were definitely 'top flight' at their peak, but are on the downgrade now.

Bowlersarm Sat 05-Apr-14 21:58:03

That's a lovely story allofaflumble

SelectAUserName Sat 05-Apr-14 21:59:47

Or what Frankel said more succinctly grin

Allofaflumble, thanks for sharing that great example.

Bearbehind Sat 05-Apr-14 22:05:55

Jeez, if you lot want to fight over whether being in the top 10% makes a horse, good, great or top flight then fill your boots.

The point I was making was that if it wasn't for racing, these horses wouldn't exist and those who disagree with horse racing have no right to such views unless they abstain from eating meat/ wearing leather/ having pets/ visiting zoos etc.

Allofaflumble Sat 05-Apr-14 22:13:20

I was so glad to be able to share it with you. The people in my life think I am quite mad!

Mrsmorton Sat 05-Apr-14 22:55:49

I love that story fumble thank you smile

We do all love our horses so very much.

guineapig2014 Sat 05-Apr-14 23:01:58

No YADNBU OP it is awful and cruel sad to the poor animals. Dd and I both had our hands over our eyes when dh and ds were watching it. If you ask me I think it will be banned in a few years.

MistressDeeCee Sat 05-Apr-14 23:20:07

I don't like or watch it. I feel sorry for the horses.

fayrae Sun 06-Apr-14 00:13:54

Why on earth would a particular horse race be banned? It'd be like banning the FA cup final or Wimbledon, but not banning football or tennis.

saintmerryweather Sun 06-Apr-14 07:41:44

The horses love it. As Battlegroup showed they can refuse to race, and plenty of jockeys chose not to push their horses and pulled them up.

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