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Saturday, 7 April, 2001, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Was the Grand National a scandal?
At a rain-soaked Aintree, Red Marauder was victorious in the 2001 Grand National. In difficult conditions, 40 horses took part in the ultimate steeplechase, but only four finished. Was the race a classic or a disaster?
Red Marauder was quoted by the bookies at 33-1 and won a race that saw that rest of the field decimated.
The heavy ground made the race a lottery without an outright favourite but huge sums of money were placed in bets around the country in office sweepstakes and betting shops.
Did your horse fall at the first or was it pipped at the post, tell us how your Grand National went.
In a race that saw numerous fallers, and conditions that made the course treacherous, do you think that the race was too demanding? Should it have been run?
What can be done to make the race safer without taking the thrill and excitement away from the event?
In a year that saw Cheltenham cancelled did the Grand National provide a fitting spectacle or was it a poor substitute?
I watched the race while on holiday in Goa. It was probably the most boring thing I have ever watched!!
You can't beat races like the Melbourne Cup or the Kentucky Derby.
I think we witnessed another incredible chapter in a great sporting occasion. Guts and determination were rewarded, and everyone came home in one piece. Well done to the four horses and jockeys that completed. Just a shame that my money went at the first with Spanish Main...
There's always a mixture of quality in the National. If you want a field of the very best, then watch the Gold Cup, or the Martell Cup, but for a race of upsets and emotions, stick with the National.
Get the history books out and you will see the first winner of this great race was the aptly named Lottery. Today may have been seen as a lottery but it was also a fantastic demonstration of horsemanship and the sheer guts of both horse & rider.
National Hunt racing at its best, remember its roots are stemmed from the hunting field and horses and riders will tell you they have ridden in worse conditions but probably enjoyed every moment!! Well done to the mud larks.
Just look at past Nationals and compare it with this one. Its always a lottery! Anyone who thinks he can pick a winner on form in this race is out of their mind. I picked a relative outsider using the "pin" method and won with Red Marauder.
It was a great race and thrilling to watch.
What a fantastic race! One of the most exciting seen for years! Winning couldn't of happened to a nicer chap, Richard Guest, a master in the saddle. He is a joy to watch.
The ground was awful, but congratulations to Aintree for going ahead. Some horses love the mud and most out there seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it.
There was nothing grand about this horse race. It was a travesty. Winning money on a National bet is unlikely at the best of times, but I can't be the only one feeling short-changed. The world's punters are entitled to expect a competitive race with more than 4 finishers for their money.
A debasing spectacle for everyone concerned. No horses hurt? More by luck than judgement. A few very distressed horses, certainly. Is this what passes for 'sport?' Why not just throw a few off a muddy cliff and place bets on which ones hits the bottom first?
The low number of finishers can be accounted for by the poor quality of many of the field rather than the conditions. There were many loose horses out there and that didn't help. The standard of horse seems to be getting poorer every year, with the quality going to Cheltenham (sadly cancelled this year)
As long as the course was raceable (i.e. not waterlogged) then it was OK for the race to be run. The winner, along with several other runners, excel in heavy ground so why should they be deprived of racing on it? The loose horses caused the problems more than the heavy ground and I think Aintree racecourse should look at improving "run-out" access at the fences, especially at the Canal turn.
What a thrilling race - one that will be remembered and talked about for a long time! I had the winner, I picked the second for my son and my daughter had the fourth - so we all delighted! Yes, the race should have definitely been run - it wasn't the ground that caused the problems but the loose horse (which was my other selection!)
The race was a triumph. There was no problem running on heavy going, far more horses are injured on firm or good ground than on heavy ground. However I don't believe Red Marauder would have won had there not been so many unlucky accidents to the more fancied runners, such as Beau or Blowing Wind.
I do not think the Grand National was a scandal. I think The Grand National should be considered as the best horse race in the UK and the world. The problem with this year's race was caused by loose horses and not by falling horses. I say it was a great race.
What a joke. Just because no horses died or were seriously injured it is justified for having been run! So what does this say about all the other times it HAS been held and horses paid the price?
This outdated, shocking excuse for a "race" should not be held again. I like horse racing, but this is another thing altogether.
Nick Gayton, Australia
I am a Scottish ex pat and up until seven years ago watched and bet on the Grand National every year. This year with the appalling weather conditions it should have definitely been cancelled. It was cruel to both the horses and jockeys who risk their lives.
I was pretty annoyed as I'd backed Papillon and when he fell I tore up my betting slip, then he gets back on and I would have won some cash!
Ok, so it was a lottery, but isn't it always? At least with the ground being bottomless, when they did fall they were OK. I was there, and yes I did back the winner, it was still a fantastic spectacle.
Doesn't it say something about this race, that so many people are so enormously relieved that they actually managed not to kill any horses this year?
The horses weren't refusing because they lacked courage, if they didn't have the courage to jump big fences, they wouldn't have been in the race. They were refusing because they were completely exhausted, that's one of the reasons why heavy going is so dangerous. And horses are obviously more likely to fall when they're fetlock deep in mud. This race should never have been run in these conditions, it's a miracle none were killed.
What an exciting race! And with me having Blowing Wind and Papillion on each way it was good for my pocket too. No injuries to horses or riders, an exciting race and a shock winner! What a classsic!
Heavy going is far safer for horses as they are inevitably going slower so of course the race should have been run. Some horses prefer this type of going and today was their day. I agree with Rebecca's remarks about the blinkers making the loose horses a liability.
I think the race should have been cancelled due to the appalling conditions. How many of these horses will have wrecked their tendons or sustained other injuries that will cause them to never run again and what will happen to these brave animals.
It was an exciting race to watch and a great success for the horse racing community. However I am still concerned that many horses entered are not fit enough to endure such a course.
I think if a horse has failed to complete three miles over fences it should not be allowed to enter a four mile race at Aintree. The organisers should promote how they determine eligibility for the race for both horse and jockey.
The ground may have been testing, and the fences daunting, with horses that refuse to jump the fences or fall at them. But it is the very nature of the race that has kept millions of people riveted to watching this incredible horse race for so long. There is no other steeplechase like it in the world.
Every year the Natoinal is run and every year there is controversy. There are those who want it stopped and those who will want it to run no matter what , this is a horse race and like all races it should be up to the stewards and officials to decide if a race should go ahead, we should all leave the decisions to the professionals and enjoy the splendor of the event .
Annabel Tapanila, Canada
The Grand National has always been notorious as one of the toughest races in the world of horseracing and is rightfully regarded as a classic. This year's running will only add to the legend. Another example of British grit, and long may it remain.
What a disaster! It's not fair to the horses, the jockeys or even us, the punters, to run in these conditions. An absolute farce.
I fancied both Smarty and Red Marauder so I'm not one who should cry foul. Yet some fantastic horses didn't stand a chance today, one could hardly call this a sport, more of a lottery with a couple of weighted numbers.
As soon as I saw what the conditions were like, I thought that the race should be postponed. I believe that the race went ahead because too many other races have been cancelled.
I don't think that it was a fair race for the horses, the jockeys, and the trainers.
An absolute classic. My first-ever bet, and I picked both Marauder and Smarty. delighted.
A truly amazing race, one of the greatest of all time that will sit alongside the great legends of Aldaniti and Red Rum and with the remarkable races of 1967 (Foinavon) and 1928 (Tipperary Tim). I am sure it was one of the slowest races ever, testimony to how gruelling it was.
The softer ground makes the race safer for horses in many ways, and it was in many cases loose horses that caused the fallers. It was a smashing win for a good horse and fine jockey and let nothing detract from that!
Normally a national spectaclel, full of excitement and drama. Today though it was just a lottery. It wasn't the fastest horse that won, but the most careful.
An absolute cracker! Almost half of the field went out on two jumps. The first at the canal turn where ten to twelve horses went and the second was a bunch of refusals. Which shows the whole point, if the horse doesn't like it or not feel confident, it will refuse.
As usual, a major highlight of the sporting year. If only Formula One could be as exciting! No injuries to horses, no injuries to jockeys, what else could be asked for?
I think that this year's National was a classic race in which the best and most courageous horses benefited from the bad going. Well done, Red Marauder.
The Grand National is a national outrage, and is run purely for the financial gain of the organisers and betting fraternity as witnessed by the running of this year's farce. The racing community should hold its heads in shame over this sham.
Moreover, people should consider the welfare and rights of the animals who are forced to take part and question the motivations that lead to such a repugnant display that has been witnessed.
There was no problem with running the race on heavy ground as all the jockeys knew to take things sensibly. Red Marauder seemed to be having a great time, as did loads of others.
The real problem of the race may have been that there were too many loose horses who were wearing blinkers and so could not see the others around them. Both Edmond and Paddy's Return, who took out about 12 horses between them, had blinkers on. They were a liability to themselves and each other.
Few horses have either won or been placed in the National wearing blinkers (excepting Foinavon, L'Escargot and Garrison Savannah who was second) and in such a large field they must be more of a liability than an asset, having caused accidents in the past.
The suggestions that the National should have been cancelled are a farce. Anyone who watched the race will have seen that about 15 riders were taken out by loose horses at fences. The conditions were nothing to do with the low number of finishers.
When I watched the race, my first reaction to the crash at the Canal Turn was "this race should never have been staged". But then, after the race I realised that no horse had been hurt, and that the accident could have happened in any race on that course, and that the poor conditions actually helped to prevent injuries because of the soft ground. I think that the lesson to be learnt is that some way of rapidly removing loose horses from the course is essential if such demanding courses are to be run.
I cannot think of a more testing race in all the world, especially this year. The worst steeplechase results I've seen have been over hard ground, when horses are killed by their falls, and jockeys too. Here's to the winner, and all mudders as well!
Scandal? You must be joking.This was one of the most exciting Nationals for years.
All the horses have the same chance of getting round, the fences are not as big or dangerous as in years gone by and NO horses were killed this year. It was a great race.
As I was watching the race live on the big sceen at the Happy Valley Race Course in Hong Kong, I couldn't help thinking that despite the foot-and-mouth crisis in the UK, traditional British life was continuing as normal and gave us viewers yet another thrilling race worthy of a modern day 'Gladiator' epic. I am also very happy to hear that none of the jockeys or horses were injured.
No, the race was not a scandal, all of the horses came back safely and who can deny the courage and bravery of the four horses who completed. Also, look how many refused, who can say they are forced to do anything they do not want to? It was a classic in many ways as it reminded us just how testing the great race is.
It was a brilliant race and it definitely was not a scandal. The horses and the jockeys were very talented, skilled and brave! I think all of them deserve some respect!!
As an ex-pat, now living in Canada, I can say only one thing. I consider watching the Grand National live on TV as one of the things I miss most. Having emigrated in 1981, I remember Nationals from before that date, and I feel that losing a National to weather would be un-British!
I have seen horses killed in more clement Nationals, and am thankful that all survived today. And my money was on Edmond!!!
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