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Record of the blog selections

Profit for the 2016-17 Jumps Season = £84.38

from wagers on 26 individual selections (4 winners, 6 placed)

Total Staked = £280.00


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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Heritage of World's greatest steeplechase

The 466th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

The jump season is now preparing for the finale of the Grand National meeting at Aintree next week. Being situated close to my home town of Maghull, the Grand National meeting  has always been at the forefront of my racing thoughts. I did not know it at the time, but my early investigation into the history of the Grand National indicated that the initial running's of the great race were at a track at Maghull. This has subsequently proved to be incorrect (even tho' many books and even the Aintree Roll of Honour at the track states Maghull as the scene of the earliest runnings of the race).  A great website at www.tbheritage.com details the earliest history of steeplechasing in the Liverpool area in some detail.

There was a racecourse at Maghull, and it was laid out on the ground that went on to form the playing field for my secondary school there (Ormonde Drive, now called Maghull high School). The area is criss-crossed with ditches so it would be no great surprise that the area was too marshy for horseracing to flourish. It did have a big advantage over the site of the track at Aintree tho' in its proximity to the hare-coursing grounds at Altcar where the Waterloo Cup was inaugurated in 1836. What most people nowadays fail to recognise was that Hare Coursing in the 1830's was the greatest spectator sport in operation. There was no football (the FA – Football Association – not being formed until 1863), nor cricket (the first County club being formed in Sussex in 1839) and tho' boxing drew huge crowds this was for the outlawed "bare-knuckle" prize-fighting. Hare coursing would be capable of drawing a crowd of 150,000 at its peak, who all stood out in the open walking across the fields and pole-vaulting the ditches to follow the action.

I'll be spending a bit of time this weekend looking at the form for the Grand National and producing a shortlist of potential winners. Hopefully, like last year, I will be able to focus on the one horse that goes on and wins the race. I remember last year that my early deliberations omitted eventual winner Ballabriggs as I thought he may lack the stamina to last out the extreme trip. But, on the eve of the race, I realised that being such a strong front-runner on going that clearly favoured those racing "in-the-van" was a far greater attribute than stamina and that he should be able to hold on to the advantage he had gained.

No selections today, as racing looks very ordinary.

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Thanks from Wayward Lad.

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