I've gone right off betting on't th'orses.
Years ago I was well into it.
Cheltenham, The National, Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood, The Ebor, The St Leger and that National Hunt thingy on Boxing Day that I can never remember the name of (King George?).
I'd be there with my copy of the Racing Post, studying the form and weighing up the options...
Invariably it was with little or no success but that wasn't the point; It was about the experience.
I think the turning point was Cheltenham several years ago when I'd backed a horse called Valiramix and it was romping home up the hill with Tony McCoy on board and it suddenly dropped dead underneath him.
Boom, Whallop! Cruising along and then it's all legs splayed, thump, crunch. Tongue lolling, a bit of a twitch, McCoy rolls off, waves his arms, hi-viz blokes run over, much more waving, Land Rover appears, green screens go up and ten minutes later, it's announced that the horse had croaked.
I was in a bookies in Westhoughton at the time, watching the race unfold, and I can still remember feeling like I was the only one in there who was more upset about the fact that the poor horse had died than that it had lost the race.
Something changed inside me that day and I've never viewed horse-racing the same since.
Sorry Boncey, didn't mean to put everything on a downer.
Anyway, as for the National, it's not rained much so the going will be good to firm and if I was having a bet, I'd be looking at something that's got a proven history of staying over 3 miles on fast ground.
Like Blaklion or Pleasant Company.
Or Double Shuffle each way.
Edit: Apparently Valiramix died in 2002 so it was 15 years ago. Wow, just shows how some things stay with you and always feel recent. Possibly the fact that Valiramix was a grey means it sticks in the memory....I dunno.)