The Grand National at Aintree coincided with a heat wave, which generated a feel good factor to boost the usual hype, which got through to Mrs Monk, who commanded me to stop the car at a Betting Shop. Under protest I waiting while she made a bet based on no knowledge of form. Horses are in her blood, given her late father's sideline and weekly visits to the races.
I confess no interest in racing, and while the race took place I found something else to do upstairs while Mrs Monk was transfixed by the spectacle in front of the TV. I felt involved by the excited sounds from the living room as Mrs Monk cheered and thrilled as the horses leaped and tumbled, but then her mood turned. I assume that her horse had fallen by the wayside, but then I heard her screaming “Stop beating him, you bastard, You’ve won the race, stop beating him...”
I came downstairs having missed the race and watched the BBC fete the winning horse, Ballabriggs, and the Jockey. The trainer, the owner, and the BBC were overjoyed and elated by the outcome, heaping praise upon the rider.
Ballybiggs and the other horses were seriously dehydrated and needed attention after the race.
We then learnt that two horses died that day.
The feted Jockey Jason Maguire has now been charged with excessive use of the whip, on Ballabriggs, and received a five day ban, something he was also charged with at the Cheltenham races.
The BBC is embarrassed by accusations of “covering up” the issue of two horses breaking their backs, and now say they did so to spare the feelings of their audience. As far as I know they did not discuss, and have not yet discussed the story of the brutal jockey, who exhausted the heroic horse to near death, with an excessive use of the whip.
Mrs Monk lost her bet.