I've been laying low for a couple of days, first spending some time thanking everyone for their help in making April Food Day a success. I think that we will repeat this next year. Also, at work, I had four large grant proposals in four days, so I needed some time away from the computer screen.
I did spend some time in front of the computer this afternoon, watching the Grand National steeplechase race from Aintree Race Course, England. I grew up hearing my father talking about this race, so it's such fun to be able to watch it just hours after it's been raced.This is one of the oldest continuously-run horse races, beginning in 1839. The race is a bit more than four miles long, with 30 jumps, including the famous Bechers Brook and the Chair. Today, 40 horses started and 17 finished.
Two horses traded the lead for much of the race, but both fell at the 22nd jump. At the final fence, Mon Mome, a 100-1 shot, took the lead and won the race by 12 lengths. His trainer, Venetia Williams, had raced in the Grand National 20 years ago, but fell and was knocked unconscious.
If you want to read a first-hand account of what it's like to be a "jump jockey", any of the books by Dick Francis, who was a jockey on the Queen Mother's horses, are excellent.
The Maryland steeplechase season begins this weekend in Maryland with Roedown, and continues over the next three weeks with My Lady's Manor, Maryland's Grand National and finally, the Maryland Hunt Cup. The winner of the Hunt Cup is automatically invited to the Grand National at Aintree. In 1980, Maryland horse, Ben Nevis and rider, Charlie Fenwick won.
If the weather cooperates, we will be going to My Lady's Manor next weekend.