Let me start off by saying I come from a racing family. My grandfather was a jockey from Ireland who actually came third in the Grand National. My uncle too was a jockey, and they both worked for one of the leading trainers in the country. So I do ‘get’ horse racing.
And before I’d seen horses fatally injured with my own eyes I used to watch it too. I would even have a flutter. I might even have won a few quid.
But then I watched a race one year where several horses died. And suddenly it hit me. This isn’t sport. It isn’t entertainment. It’s barbaric.
Since then, three horses die on average a year racing the National. In 2009 five horses died, in 2010, four horses died.
I don’t want horses dying because I fancied placing a bet. I don’t want that on my conscience. If I really, really fancy a flutter on a sporting event then I’ll bet on a football game – at least grown men have some say over their fate.
I would like to see the Grand National banned, but as long as people keep gambling on its outcome, that’s never going to happen.