Saturday, 4 April 2009

The World's Most Famous Steeple Chase...

... and we were there!

No sewing today as we have been to The Grand National at Aintree. I first came to Liverpool in the late 1980s and effectively stayed until I moved house in 1999. I lived about ten minutes away from the racecourse for five years, you could even hear the course announcements in my back garden! But I have never been, until today.

This is the rant bit...

Now, The Other Half is a seasoned race goer, he has been to Royal Ascot, in the top hat and tails more than once and has been to the Epsom Derby for forty years, the last five of those I have gone with him. Now we thought it would be the same, take a picnic sit on the bank and have a good time. We were WRONG on the picnic front. At the bag search, security check stage you are told no food or drink, not even water, could be taken into the course and the police were there to enforce it. Now forgive me if I am wrong but what security risk does a few sandwiches and a couple of bottles of water pose? the bottles were made out of plastic! The police said that they were there to support the event security teams enforce a rule made by the event organisers. When we pointed out that there was no reference made to this on the website or on any of the routes leading up to the course, or it turned out later in the Racecourse Regulations and Notices printed in the racecard the police suggested that we wrote and complained, we will. In my mind the job of the police is to ensure the security of the racegoers, not enforce a decision that was obviously made for commercial gain.

Rant over.
Anyway, despite all that, we had a good day. Here are some of the photos.

The main stands and the first fence.

The second fence and 'out into the country'

And they're off! (after two false starts). This was taken just after the first fence had been jumped of the forty horses that started two fell at the first fence, but horses and jockeys were OK. One of the jockeys was on the ground for a long time. He got a big cheer from the crowd when he got up and walked away.

Coming up to the second... that didn't make it.

Second time around.

Of the forty starters only seventeen finished. No horses or jockeys were seriously injured. (This morning, Sunday, whilst watching the highlights, I discovered that 'Hear the Echo' collapsed and died just before the finish.) I hate it when they end up having to destroy a horse because it has fallen badly, which might be one of the reasons why it has taken me so long to go. The winner, Mon Mome, came in at 100:1. It was both the horse and the jockey's first ever Grand National, the bookies are laughing all the way to the bank. Having worked in a betting shop for a summer, whilst as a student, I don't bet so why do I go to the odd race meeting? For the atmosphere and the picnic. Woops! Might go off on one again.

When we got off the train at Aintree Station this morning there were bags and bags of yellow flip-flops, odd? The Grand National is a massive occaision and the majority of ladies get dressed up. Flimsy dresses, no coats (the wind was bitter) hats, fascinators and seriously high (stupid) shoes. At the station, after the race, when everyone is going home, a local charity was giving away the flip-flops, for a small donation, to those ladies whose feet and legs had given up.

Now that's a commercial venture, which I approve!


grannyanne said...

Glad you enjoyed your day. I agree about the food situation, a money making scheme if ever there was one.

Flo said...

It's a good job you didn't see the Chief Steward or Course Big-Wig. It's a sure bet they'd have fallen at Beecher's Brook or at least The Chair with you in full flight after them with your uneaten butties and drink or did the Bobbies have those? Perhaps it was just a wheeze for the men in blue not to buy their own lunch! Pen to paper I think with full vengence no less. Stitching is far more rewarding than the old bet any day. (Like your pics though.)No doubt return to stitching today to make up for yesterdays day off. Will be watching.

Cindy F. said...

Great pics Jen! Thanks for sharing:) We also have a racetrack nearby...15 minutes. We've never been. I agree, when events don't allow take-in food, it's because they want to force you to buy from them at their ridiculous costs. But they should have advertised no food or drinks allowed inside.