Grand National - The Dead Cert

Sweet, Boring England

Back in time from my Easter break for The Crabbie's Grand National today. England always feels so calm and civilised (London excepted) after being emerged in a noisier culture for a while — and I suppose a little boring, after the chaos and sunny invigoration of Spain. Boring is fine. If only certain other places in the world were as boring.

The hedgerows are bursting into growth and watery sunshine creates an impressionist scene out of the windows of my turret at Tweed Towers. I feel stupidly lucky today.

The sun is still out here in Somerset, though I think there is  a greater than 50% chance of a cats and dogs situation at Aintree today. Chilly with a chance of rain leads me to two conclusions.

Firstly, rain will be good for Goonyella, a 9-year-old horse trained by Jim Dreaper — Ireland's 'Mr National' who has trained 14 Irish Grand National winners — with good stamina and this year's Midlands Grand National winner. So I have placed an each-way ante-post flutter at 16/1. I have a really good feeling about this one, despite my 'inconsistent' record with horse racing tips.

I have also put a little side bet on Gallant Oscar, another 9-year-old horse who favours heavy going and has a smashing name.

Pray for rain, chaps.

My second conclusion is that if you are travelling to Aintree and you will be watching from the Aintree Mound in the Tattersalls enclosure, you may want to consider taking waterproofs. You should always take waterproofs in Britain, of course.

I'm worried about your shoes. I'm sure you've thought about raincoat (or field coat) and umbrella.

Swims' Olive Green Galoshes will slip nicely over the grain leather brogues you've just waxed in preparation. The shoes may take a shower, but it's the potential for mud we're concerned with here. You can remove the galoshes when you go into the Pavilion.

Or hurl them at a friend in frustration if your bets don't come off.


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