Is it worth the weight anymore?

national-weights-1986The Randox Health Grand National weights are published tomorrow. However there is no longer the pre-announcement excitement that there used to be when the weights were framed around previous Aintree form, and not just lifted directly from a horses official handicap mark. It was always good fun reading a trainer having a go at the handicapper for punishing his horse for running well the previous year. Nowadays, finishing in the places in the National is not even a guarantee of getting in the race the next year! As you can see from the 1986 weights, back then only a relatively small number of entries even made it into the handicap proper. It was not unusual on the day of the race for 10 or less runners to carry their allotted weight. Is that a good thing? Arguably yes, as the quality of the race has gone up dramatically. However, marry that to the sanitisation of the course and fences and I’m not sure I will ever experience the tension of waiting for the world’s greatest race again.

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