It’s still a bit early in the year for the British public to concern themselves with who is likely to win the biggest steeplechase in the racing calendar. The Grand National is usually run on a Saturday in early April at Liverpool’s Aintree racecourse, and attracts millions of punters, most of whom will not place a bet again all year.
The race is something of a national institution, though it has its share of critics, most voicing concerns for the safety of horses and riders given the punishing nature of the course and the unusually high fences.
Over the years, many horses have been injured or killed in the Grand National, and frequently less than half the field make it to the finishing line.
The Grand National has much in common with the run-up to the United States Presidential election. For months now the runners have been cantering towards the first fence. At Iowa, Obama and Huckabee jumped it neck and neck, followed by Edwards just leading the favorite, Clinton, by a short head, and Thompson and McCain bringing up the rear. Iowa took early casualties, with Dodd and Biden both falling at this first fence.
Obama has settled nicely into an early lead as they head for New Hampshire, but one has to wonder if this inexperienced forty-six year old can hold off the competition in a race renowned for its unpredictability.
Among the leaders as they round the turn, Huckabee, owned by the Evengelical Right is well placed, having come from nowhere to lead Romney over the first fence. Romney, bred and trained by the Mormon stables, has been well placed in other races but has never won this major US steeplechase. That old war-horse, McCain, is battling well against the odds having gained on the leaders after Iowa, but there are question marks regarding his stamina, particularly given his penchant for suddenly turning about and running in the opposite direction.
To recap, then, as they enter the short straight before New Hampshire, Obama leads Huckabee with Edwards and Clinton neck and neck on the stand side. Behind them Romney is well placed, and two lengths back Thompson and McCain are battling it out for sixth and seventh position with a long gap back to Paul, and way back – at least ten lengths behind Paul – is Giuliani showing signs of distress. Giuliani could be in trouble, he looks like he’s limping badly. He took a bad knock at Iowa and I’m hearing reports he is definitely injured and may have to be shot.
So, on that positive note we’ll leave the race for now and return you to the studio, and the much more exciting news that Britney Spears is back, once again, in hospital!
Filed under: No stone ginger