Its that time of year again as jockeys get ready for the biggest horse racing events of the year, The Grand National.
This year there is added interest for those of us in Yorkshire as North Yorkshire based horse According to Pete gets set to compete in the 173-year-old race.
Horse owner Peter Nelson, hopes to make history by becoming the first winner from Yorkshire in 40 years. The last horse from Yorkshire to win the Grand National was Merryman II way back in 1960. According to Pete was reared on a one-acre scrap of land next to his owner’s garage in Helperby, 15 miles from York, the 11-year-old horse is trained in Norton, North Yorkshire by Malcolm Jefferson.
The horse has previously won the Rowland Meyrick at 31-1 and winning The Grand National would be the icing on the cake for Nelson, 71, who told BBC radio York, “I am just a working lad, but I’ve got a wonderful horse and I think it’s a great chance to show him off and give him a chance to run in the National. If he does any good, that’s a bonus to us.”
The popular race, however, has received it’s fair share of bad publicity over the years as many animal activists have campaigned against The Grand National claiming the race is cruel, causing many deaths each year as well as causing exhaustion. Animal Aid have launched a new initiative called Sanctuary Not Cruelty which encourages the public to make a donation to two horse sanctuaries instead of placing a bet on Saturday. The sanctuaries are, Hope Pastures Sanctuary, based near Leeds in West Yorkshire and Hillside Animal Sanctuary, near Cromer in Norfolk.
For what it’s worth (and it’s not worth much), some of us in the office at One&Other have come up with our tips for the winner of the big race on Saturday:
Ben – Cappa Bleu, number 19, 14-1
Toni – According To Pete, number 13, 33-1
Louis – Seabass, number 14, 22-1
Beth – Hello Bud, number 39, 80-1.