The disastrous sequence of events began seconds before the race was due to start, when protesters got onto the track near the first fence.
They were spotted, and after a delay, the race officials asked horses and riders to line up again.
Then there were two false starts caused by horses getting tangled up with the starting tape. On the second false start, the recall flag, which signals riders to pull up once they have started, was not waved, and all but nine riders raced away.
The crowd shouted frantically at the jockeys to get them to stop, and officials tried desperately to flag them down from the side of the track, but without success.
Doubts over the competence of the recall man, Ken Evans, were quickly dispelled.
A re-run of the race was seriously considered, would you believe? I fail to understand how officials would consider how any horse, even Super Horse, could run it all again after completing a gruelling 4 and a half mile race over 30 fences in record time! I remember listening to the event in sheer disbelief on my radio - I thought it was a comedy sketch!
Well, back to our race!
Already betting has been heavy on the blogger's Grand National with two favourites emerging:
2/1 Authorblog, Granny on the Web
3/1 Menopausal Old Bag, Grumpy Old Ken, Breeze
4/1 Retired & Crazy, Crystal Jigsaw, Nuts in May
6/1 God of Another World, Sniffles & Smiles
8/1 The Things we Carried, Robynn's Ravings, Lakeviewer
10/1 The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Marmite Toastie, Kathy's Klothesline
12/1 The Mighty Sam, Val's Ramblings, Valleys Mam
20/1 Clouds and Silvery Linings
50/1 Plato's Procrastinations
100/1 Bar theseAnd finally, several of you have asked me what happened to my status with the priest when "What's Up Boys?" fell from grace within the horse racing community.
Well, let's go back to the horse's hey-day. I was the best thing since sliced bread and after the Pope himself, you may remember - as I have explained in my last post. My mother had passed away earlier in the year of 2001 and this was about the time "What's Up Boys?" was peaking in racing circles. The priest kindly offered to say a Mass for her and agreed, at his suggestion, to include my father who died way back in 1986. He offered to 'do them as a job lot' together, which was very nice of him, since they were not Catholics, and neither was I. Also, cryptically he called me a "Good Samaritan" from the pulpit during one of his sermons, after I had volunteered to do a task for him. He did not name me as such but gave me a nod and a wink from the pulpit which was the equivalent of shouting my name from the church spire for the whole town to hear - never mind, he meant well. We continued for several years our coded semaphore messages during services concerning the racing timetables and probability of this wonder horse winning until "What's Up Boy's" was injured and eventually had to retire from racing, and then to stud as his reward.
As soon as that happened it was as if I was ex-communicated and reverted back to my humble rank within the pews - a mere commoner and worthless sinner of sinners amongst my fellow members of the congregation. Nice while it lasted.
We always knew 'Father' was keen on horse racing because when my daughter was little, he visited us unannounced one Saturday morning and placed a pound coin in her hand - he told her in front of my wife and I to ask "Daddy" to place a bet on a horse running at 2.30 at Cheltenham that afternoon. I forget the name of the horse but I duly placed the bet and was inspired to back £5 from my own wallet for the 'nag' to win. This was in 1985 and as far as I know the blooming horse is still running! Next time I saw him I remarked that his tip was hardly backed by Divine Inspiration.
(To be continued ~ watch this space for THE RACE!)