AS is the case with many other racing fans of my generation, the passion I have for the sport was lit by the achievement of one great horse in the most exciting horse race in the world, the Grand National, writes Jason Hall.
After 34 years, my memory of Red Rum striding clear of his rivals to win his record third National is still crystal clear, and it remains so not only because of the horse but because of the evocative overflow of emotion exuded by the huge race day crowd that greeted his glorious success.
He was truly a horse of a lifetime and that day in 1977 is undoubtedly one of this country’s great sporting moments.
Tomorrow will see the latest renewal of the great race and there is more than just an outside chance that we could see the first dual winner since those unforgettable days of the warrior that was Red Rum.
The fifteen times champion jockey AP McCoy broke his duck in the National last year when partnering Don’t Push It to an emphatic success.
Victory in the Grand National came after many failures for AP and fulfilled a cherished ambition he had previously feared would always elude him.
It is widely recognised that the win itself cemented his success as Sports Personality of the Year for 2010.
Now we have a realistic scenario where he has a horse in Don’t Push It who could fit the “two bus” cliché for him and win the race back to back .
There are many experienced hacks who will say with some justification that horses don’t win the National twice.
However, many of them said the same about a jump jockey winning the champion jockey’s crown for fifteen consecutive years.
AP produced a record in that respect and he has a partner tomorrow who has the experience, courage and ability to possibly break another supposed rule of racing.
If they do succeed, and there has not been a partnership with such a good chance for many years, it will be a great story and a memorable sporting occasion.
My heart will be riding with McCoy tomorrow and, with once a year punters latching on to the most widely known and successful jockey of his generation in AP McCoy, the bookmakers are fearful of a nationwide public gamble on the champ that, if victorious, could take them to the proverbial cleaners.
Gary Moore will be taking a few horses up to Liverpool for the National meeting and Grab The Glory is amongst them.
He is a youngster of unlimited potential and will run in the bumper if he makes the cut.
The trainer is always quite reserved about his horses but when I spoke with Gary earlier this week I got the impression he was confident of a good performance from this promising gelding who he confirmed has done well since his encouraging Kempton debut.
Whatever his performance, he is a well bred horse who will hopefully progress into an above average novice hurdler next season.
Sheena West posted a winner at Folkestone on Monday when Ya Hafed scooted home.
Then Mohanad scored at Kempton on Tuesday and it is good to see the Falmer trainer back on song and in the winning groove.
She has Golan Way entered this weekend at Liverpool who is a horse that goes well fresh, loves quick ground and is an eternally under rated performer.
He should give a bold show at a big price.
There is racing on Monday afternoon at Plumpton and if the five-day entries hold up that, should provide some typically competitive racing for local racegoers to enjoy.