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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Your Say on Grand National

We asked for your reaction to the 2004 Martell Cognac Grand National meeting.


Well I guess like many on this site I have been counting my winnings after Saturday! Great run by Amberleigh House, I can't remember who suggested tipping a horse with a story behind it, but I guess the fact that it was Red Rum's trainer involved was proof that that theory is a good one!
Matthew Wentworth, London, UK

What can I say - not had as much excitement in the village since Rummy. I can just about remember Rummy's last win and the atmosphere was just as electric on Saturday as it was back then. As kids we all used to turn up just to see Rummy get excited about leading the parade. Well done Ginger, Amberleigh House & of course, Graham. See you next year
Sporty, Aintree

If I don't have another winner all year then I'll just be happy to have seen Rhinestone Cowboy prove himself as a champion, which I called after seeing his first win in that Ascot bumper two years ago.

He has won 9 from 13 and on the 4 occasions he has been beaten there has been excuses - he was bumped all over Gloucester in the champion bumper, he made a terrible mistake in the champion hurdle last year, he obviously had a problem at Leopardstown at Christmas and JP was caught napping in the Coral Cup.

Just to add well done to the BBC for snapping up the services of Norman Williamson I haven't heard anyone talk as much sense on TV about racing for a long time. A great jockey and now a great broadcaster. Keep it up Norman.
Craig McDonald, Scotland

Rubbish, Martin..many 2 1/2 mile horses are well suited by the National(and have won it) because they don't start racing until they pass the stands first time round. Puntal ran a great race - it's the mediocre plodding staying chasers which should be targeted.

As for equine welfare, unless there is such a thing as an equine masochist, you only have to look at Bounce Back to realise that most love it, and those such as Joss Naylor who clearly don't can't be forced to do it.

Pipe doesn't seem to have a specific plan for each horse
Bob, Essex

Fantastic race - shame Le Coudray came down when he did.
Jonathan Hall, Andover UK

Re: Wana regarding Liam Cooper on Clan Royal - I'm glad someone else has pointed this out. It looked like in the excitement of leading over the last in the Grand National he forgot about the elbow. I definitely think it cost him the race despite people saying the horse was tired.
Norman, UK

Jeremy Onslow (below) regarding you not being able to figure out how Lord Atterbury improved so much over Cheltenham...Isn't it obvious? The horse is a top point to pointer and hunter chaser and he took to the national fences. I had him each way as I had a feeling he would love it out there. He is the one to watch next year.

Sadly though I think Martin Pipe won't give him a Grand National training regime and will instead enter him in the Scottish National, Henessy, Welsh National, Gold Cup etc. He seems to treat all horses the same.

Take Cyfor Malta - That horse was faultless round Aintree and was then aimed at the gold cup?! No chance.

My only fault with Pipe - He doens't seem to have a specific plan for each horse - Just seems to enter all of them into everything if they fit the grade.

And my other problem is that in the National next year McCoy will choose to ride Atterbury. Ok McCoy is one of the all time greats but that doesn't mean he gets on with every horse.

Come on Pipe! Use the horse properly and keep Bradburne on board! Bah what's the use?
Bob, Essex

What a grand Grand National! Amberleigh is wonderful and what a great no-nonsense ride Graham Lee gave him. Perhaps proves that there's no need to risk the inner at Bechers - the drop seems to have increased a bit as the raised ground has settled.

I have always had a high regard for Ginger but he went down a place or two in my esteem by admitting that he was wishing the front three "down" with a few fences to go. Surely that's not in the true spirit of NH racing?

Did Liam take advice from the legendary racing guru Rishi Persad who may have advised him to get an nice inside pitch for the Chair, SECOND time?! Should our Rishi have his tongue tied down next time out? By the look on the faces of Messrs Nicholls and Llewellyn when he last interviewed them there would be no shortage of fingers to put on the knot!
Kev Smith, Kings Lynn Norfolk

Years ago the Jockey Club acted to make the Grand National safer after a number of horses were killed running in the race.

One of the measures taken was that all horses had to quailfy to run in the Grand National, thus preventing complete no hopers running as had been the case for many years. All the horses who ran on Saturday had quailfied & therefore had earnt the right to run.

To say Rhinestone Cowboy is the best hurdler in Europe is stretching things a bit!
Simon Manning, England

The other measure they introduced was that all jockeys had to quailfy too. Tom Greenall, one of this years leading Amateurs, could of ridden but had not ridden enough winners to take a ride.

The Grand National today is a far more safer race than it was in the 60's & 70's!
Simon Manning, England

I have been following racing this year, i have to say that i think Graham finally won the big race he deserved. I forgot to take my carefully marked newspaper down to the betting shop, you have guessed it Amberleigh House had rings round it, so it has cost me a few quid.

A lot of people in the UK say how dangerous the Grand National is, however i have not heard one person say that about Badminton. A lot of horses are injured in Eventing, yet no public know or care?
shaz, devon, england

Ian from Ireland - To say Rhinestone Cowboy is the best hurdler in Europe is stretching things a bit!! Iris's Gift & Baracouda vie for that title at the moment, with Iris's Gift maybe coming out just on top.

Rhinestone Cowboy would proberly come out about 3rd or 4th along side Rooster Booster. Would he of won the Champion Hurdle - I don't think so!!
Simon Manning, England

I was there - it was great. Best riding achievement of day - Keltic Bard winning, after being nearly taken out at last fence and jockey getting horse over to win.

Puntal has a strong staying influence in his pedigree
Paul Kent, Kent

I backed Puntal e.w. at 150-1!! Got a good run for my money. Biggest cheer of day was when screens were removed from around Hedgehuner and it got up safe.
Ian P, Canvey island

Having read Martin's comments regarding the participation of Puntal in the Grand National, I must reply. Although a novice Puntal had been placed in novice chases in France at the age of 5. Before Saturday he had run 30 times over fences, including places such as Auteuil, falling just once.

He may have only won up to 2 miles, but as his grandsire is Ardross he has a strong staying influence in his pedigree. The fact he easily outpointed, giving weight, to a subsequent Cheltenham handicap winner in Tikram shows what a decent horse he can be. His current rating of 142 is 2 st 4 lbs above the minimum rating allowed for the National.

The fact he was still going well, long after plenty of seasoned handicappers had fallen, unseated or refused, rather defeats his argument. I am sure if we continue to ban most horses such as novices, horses that have fallen, certain age groups, and horses with lack of experience, we will end up with 10 runners, and the most boring National in history.
Paul Kent, Kent

People keep mentioning Liam Cooper losing his whip and it costing Clan Royal the race possibly, but it must be taken into account the horse was very tired and this undoubtedly contributed greatly to the loss. Credit must be given though to Graham Lee for the well timed, patient ride he gave Amberleigh House.
Steve Franklin, Barrow in Furness

In reply to ur message Wana, you are right, Liam Cooper went the wrong way and he had to bank at a sharp angle to get round the elbow. This cost him a couple of lengths and his momentum was affected.I think Amberleigh House might not have got there if Cooper had steered him in straight to the post.

I watched the race over the Internet and was thrilled for picking the 1,2. 150 will do nicely but most importantly (thank God) all the horses are alright espeicially Bounce Back!! I've never seen a horse like that before, what a passion that horse must have for jumping. I think this exemplifies that horses love to race and it is not a cruel thing to ask 40 of them to compete in this wonderful spectacle. Well done to all involved (esp. Ginger!)
Russell, England

Credit to AP McCoy for not allowing Graham to quit a couple of years back
JJ, Tyne & Wear

Great race and great coverage from the BBC! As regard to the safety debate I think there should be clearer guidance from the Jockey Club as to eligible horses for the National. Take for example Puntal, one of 7 entries from trainer Martin Pipe. The horse was a novice, had never won beyond 2 1/2 miles and was known to be a poor jumper.

Although the horse did run creditibly, one would question the trainers judgement in entering this particular horse in a race of 4 1/2 miles and 30 fences that take a lot of jumping. Thankfully ALL horses came back safely - but come on Jockey Club act now!
Martin, London

Cheers Rob, yes I did enjoy the Cowboy getting up on Saturday, had a decent bet too, just a shame he didn't run in the Champion Hurdle, I had him in a big ante-post treble with BMate and Azeryuiop-thats racing I suppose!!

Congratulation to all connected with Amberleigh House, the one that I let get away - I fancied it in the run up to the race then went for Clan Royal. Would like to know if anyone else thought Liam Cooper lost his radar, I was at Aintree and have only saw one replay since so I am unsure.

I know he lost his whip and did wonders to stay on at some fences, but from the view of the racecourse stands it seemed to me that he had his head down and forgot about the elbow losing a few lenghts, I don't really wish to knock Cooper this time, but any other views would be interesting.
Wana, England

Well done to Rhinestone Cowboy for carrying J P Magnier over the line. What were they on about on TV Saturday? Ride of the meeting! Don't make me laugh, Big Mac could have won on that! And he would have won at Cheltenham if he was put up.
David, UK

The best & most exciting National in a long time! Congratulations to Amberleigh House and Ginger McCain and a special well done to Graham Lee. Have followed him around the North East tracks and everyone can see what an excellent jockey he is. Also credit to AP McCoy for not allowing Graham to quit a couple of years back.
JJ, Tyne & Wear

Congratulations Graham on an awesome and superbly executed ride!
Gary, Liverpool

Final note from me on the subject of horses being killed at Aintree. None were lost on Saturday but a few short weeks ago we lost Jair Du Cochet on the gallops at home. It just goes to show that just like humans when it's your time it's your time. I'm sure that the owners of JDC would much rather he had taken his chance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup rather than to die in the way that he did. Fate is cruel sometimes but isn't doesn't make it a cruel sport.
Phil Stark, Kosovo

I have to say with regards to the National that the ride given to Amberleigh House has to be one of the best ever given at Aintree.

Allowing the horse time to recover from earlier interference, he produced a superbly timed late run to grab the protagonists on the line.

You spent so much time watching the leading trio that you failed to notice his relentless progress. I have never (and probably never will) seen a National won so far off the Pace. Congratulations Graham on an awesome and superbly executed ride !
Gary, Liverpool

Great win for Amberleigh House, But Clan Royal had no chance after losing the whip on the last.
Tim, Cork, Ireland

What a great national, best that I've seen in my lifetime! I've been saying Amberleigh House for months but somehow managed to be put off before the race and didn't back it. Was still happy when it won though.

A performance that has not been mentioned here is Well Chief's terrific run to beat Thisthatandtother on Saturday. I think this horse is a potential superstar and the Champion Chase next year looks like the race of the year. I've already backed Well Chief at 10/1, he's only going to get better over fences!
George McDonald, UK

Is it not time it was SIR Ginger McCain?
Andrew Barron, Stockton on Tees

To Julie of Manchester (below) who was so upset by watching the race. These days much greater care is taken over fence construction and the decisions whether to run a horse or not - a fact that has been borne out in the improved record of the race in recent years.

True there may be casualties but maintaining a sense of perspective there are risks in every area of equine activity to both horse and rider. Anyone who works with or owns horses will agree. Much worse things happen to horses everyday outside racing as highlighted by the MP who rode into the Houses of Parliament last week to highlight the ILPH campaign against live exports.

Then there are the welfare cases, horses starved, overgrown feet, indiscriminate breeding... I could go on.Giving your support to an organisation such as the ILPH would be far more constructive than just boycotting the race for the future.
Claire, Guildforf

Wana, you must have loved the cowboy romping home! We had faith, even if my nan could have given him a better ride! As for the national, hope all followed my tip of Amberleigh house and clan royal! Bookie bashing again, most importantly though, The Cowboy's back in Twon, Cowboy's back in town etc...
rob, uk

Congratulations to Amberleigh House, what a horse. Congratulations also to Ginger McCain. What do you reckon? Is it not time it was SIR Ginger McCain?
Andrew Barron, Stockton on Tees

Well done Amberleigh House! I didn't back it (Clan Royal!) but cheered just as loud as if I'd picked the winner. Thought this was one of the best Nationals in a long time with 3 horses in with a chance over the last fence and all being outstayed by the winner. Brilliant.

The horse which my heart went out to was Bounce Back
Diana Donald, Soham

Can't work out how Lord Atterbury suddenly improved so much in 2 weeks on similar ground to Cheltenham. He was awful there. Monty's Pass a great e/w bet if good ground next year irrespective of weight. See the old 11 stone hoodoo strikes again. C'mon Mr Handicapper, give the class horses a chance next year.
Jeremy Onslow, UK

Finally, Rhinestone Cowboy has proved he is the best hurdler in europe. He should definately have won in Cheltenham, but because John Magnier is so keen for his son to ride a winner in Cheltenham, he went for the coral rather that the CH.

He showed on Saturday how good he is, and I still cannot credit the jockey as i feel the horse's class carried him home. I hope now he will come to Punchestown and put Hardy Eustace in his place, proving he is clearly the best hurdler about, without the greatest assistance in the saddle.
ian, ireland

What a fairytale win; I always think of Rummy so this win was apt. However, the horse which my heart went out to was Bounce Back; anyone who thinks these horses are forced to run should have watched him as he had at least three falls and just bounced back.

I hope he was okay because his owner must have been very fearful. What a courageous little horse, but probably not one to ride! Stupid!
Diana Donald, Soham, Cambs

Yet another cracking grand national and fantastic coverage by the BBC. But PLEASE PLEASE can the commentators keep us in touch with the horses that are further down the field. My fancy was kingsmark although back in the field for most of the way he still managed to finished a creditable 8th and yet I only heard his name mentioned once.
Malcolm waters, Cumbria

My family cut out the Sun sweepstake kit and picked them out of a hat. I got Amberleigh house! I put 5 on it each way and another 5 on it to win. 130 comes in very handy when you've got student loans to pay off!

Well done to Ginger McCain and Graham Lee
Simon Manning, England

Unfortunately I was home alone during the race, but I was hammering the floor and yelling at the screen and couldn't contain my excitement! First horse race I betted on!
Ed, UK

I bet two horses these were Gunner Welburn who was disappointing but my other choice made up for it this was Amberleigh House. I have to be honest coming to the last I thought he had no chance but he managed to speed up at the end and get his revenge on Clan Royal.
Will Norman, Somerset

Well done to Ginger McCain and Graham Lee on their victory in the National.

Who would have thought back in November when Clan Royal & Amberleigh House battled out the finish to the Beechers Chase they would do the same months later!!

Felt sorry for Clan Royal, Lord Attenbury & Hedgehunter (sorry to see him fall at the last) who ran such a gallent race only to be hauled in by Amerleigh House close home. Poor Liam Cooper lost his whip on the way round & had to use his hands to keep Clan Royal going! No wonder he looked so gutted!!

You could see as the crossed the Melling Road that Amberleigh House was closing in on them, you just wondered if he would get there!

Would not be surprised if Monty's Pass won next year, a great run with a lot more weight & watch out for Ardent Scout next year, again a great run from out of the handicap.

But well done to Barry Gerathy that kept Monty going!
Rebecca, Ireland

My biggest memory from the race is hearing the gasp from the crowd as Clan Royal made a bad mistake four fences from home, shows how much the race grips the crowd!

Going to be a good race next year if they all meet again, only another 12 months to go!!
Simon Manning, England

Here we go again, yawn, yawn! It never ceases to amaze me. The sheer un-paralleled ignorance by so called do-gooders EVERY time the National is run. As for horses "yet felt obliged to run" - do you mean the horses that ran around enthusiastically WITHOUT their partners?.... Wakey, wakey!
Dale, UK

One of the best days out in the year. Amberleigh Houses - What a horse! The National is probably one of the best, if not the best, sporting days out. I have been to the cup final, open golf, the grand prix and the world snooker but in my opinion the national is the best.
Mike, Southport

To me the Grand National was a bit disappointing. I was hoping for Monty's Pass to get a second. But unluckily didn't. But well done to Barry Gerathy that kept Monty going! Everyone in Meath are very pround of you!
Rebecca, Ireland

TO Pat, Ilford, UK. You can bet on horses to lose in any race on some of the betting exchanges. All in all I thought is was a great race although I didn't have a flutter, even though I am into horse race betting. Maybe next year!
Graham West, Sittingbourne, Kent, UK

Fantastic for National Hunt racing that Ginger "Red Rum" McCain should be able to win another Grand National 27 years after his last success. Red Rum brought a whole generation of racing fans, including me, to the sport. I suspect like many, I roared at my TV willing Amberleigh House on to victory. It did not matter whether I backed him or not. You just knew how much it meant to all those connected with the horse.

In no other sporting event do you get so much drama, heartache, determination and bravery in the space of 10 compelling minutes. No wonder this is one of the greatest sporting events on earth watched by 700 million people world-wide.

To all the Police on duty that day, a big 'well done'
Steve Jones, Cheshire

One tiny negative through it all. Please BBC do not have those silly captions before each fence. We know which fence is being jumped, so don't treat us like morons. We were brought up on the race, and the commentator tells us anyway. This irritant was not required and hopefully will never be repeated.
Paul Kent, England

What a cracking race, I bet on Clan Royal and Amberleigh House, However I only put Amberleigh on for a place! Neverless it was thrilling to watch and my commiserations do go to Paul Casey on Hedgehunter, he had a real chance. Just to say bring on next year!
Russell, England

My only bet was the Lovely Police Lady who escorted the winner would look great. Yes I was proud that it was my good lady wife. She bows out of the Merseyside Police force, and this was her last Aintree. To all the Police on duty that day a big well done.
Steve Jones, Cheshire

People who have never been around horses should not comment on the so called 'cruelty' of the grand national. I have ridden horses for over 20 years and there is no way on earth you would get a horse over the first fence, let alone the whole course, unless it wanted to do it. Horses do have a choice.

Those fences are big and need a very talented horse and rider to clear them. I assure you that no trainer would enter a horse for that race unless they were 100% certain that it was good enough to jump those fences.

And to the person who said the only uncruel racing was flat racing, you should check out your facts first. The horses used in flat racing are a lot yournger and the stress on thier bones whilst they are growing is therefore greater. Just as many flat horses break bones as jump horses.
Danielle, Hull

I picked Amberleigh House back on January 15th as a potential winner. Put a fiver to win on then then a further 2.50 each way, both at 33/1. Made up here tonight. Well done to Graham Lee for a perfect ride, Ginger McCain for his confidence and all the hard work put in and not least, the horse itself who showed amazing bravery at 12 years of age. A great day in all aspects.
Matthew, Blackpool

Well done to Mr McCain and his team for a fantastic result
Phil Stark, Kosovo
Backed Amberleigh House last year on a sweep stake. This time backed him good and he came running home. Good horse! I agree with Chris, Derby's comments - trainers should only be permitted to enter a maximum of three horses in the national. This would benefit new small studs, encourage open competition and ensuring only racehorses ready for the challenge are entered for this gruelling race. Camera action on coverage could have been better this year BBC!
Ree, London

Picked four horses in the race but knew in my heart Amberliegh House was going to win. Great finish, thanks BBC for Internet video.
Ray Griffin, Wisconsin, USA

The Grand National has thrown up another classic race which will live long in the memory. That lovable rascal Ginger McCain hasn't lost his touch has he! Today's race also showed that Horses for Courses is nowhere more evident as Amberleigh House, Clan Royal, Monty`s Pass, Ardent Scout and Smarty all Aintree regulars where among the few finishers.

In my view the two most exciting events in Racing annually are watching the National field line up at the start in front of the tape, and seeing them approach first Beecher`s Brook.
Mervyn Charter, Grenada, West Indies

I would like to thank all involved with today's webcast of the Grand National. This was a job well done by the BBC, never having seen a Grand National in more than 15 years this was finally a day I didn't have to moan about not being able to see the race. My wife appreciates that. Thank you BBC.
Keith Dixon, Seabrook, Texas, USA

If anyone was reading this site a few weeks ago then they would have seen a deluge of tips for Amberleigh House. I was sweet on him for a long while but lost my enthusiasm as the race got closer. As they approached the last I thought I was in as I'd backed both Clan Royal and Hedgehunter but as I sat in my car in Kosovo listening to the crackling radio coverage I heard John Hunt say that Amberleigh was staying on. Then I knew the game was up.

You kind of get the feeling that he could go round again he is such an out and out stayer. I've said it before this week on this site that you have to look for the story in the race and I foolishly missed the biggest one of all. Well done to Mr McCain and his team for a fantastic result for racing and sport in general.

The National is all about hopes and dreams
Helen, Annan

I'm a little disturbed about all the negative comments on here about the supposed "barbarity" of the race. Thankfully no horses were lost this year and in fact the jocks came off worst. I'm glad that people have already pointed out that the horses love to jump and that if they didn't they wouldn't continue.

The naysayers should also realise that these horses are looked so well during their lives and other "dumb animals" would love to have a life like that. Yes we ask them to perform for our pleasure and it is horrible when they get killed but until someone can get a horse to give us his opinion I will stick to mine that they love to jump and gallop. It doesn't just happen in the National either, it's just that this race gets more coverage.
Phil Stark, Kosovo

What a race! That was the first time I went this year and I witnessed a cracker. Well done Ginger another great win.
Danny Revill, Immingham

I just want to say heartiest congratulations to GRAHAM LEE whom I've known since he was a young lad, he's been brilliant over the past few seasons without necessarily getting the coverage but this win in the national is the big breakthrough for him and I was ecstatic watching him get up in the closing stages. You couldn't meet a more level headed lad and this was a day he richly deserved. Your win has given everyone in Galway great delight.
Declan, Galway





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