Gemma Atkinson refuses to wear clothes until the Grand National is made safer
>>>> The cast of Loose Women enjoyed their day out at Aintree yesterday. Daily Mail
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>>>> The opening day of the Grand National Festival saw one of the truly great staying hurdling performances in living memory as Big Bucks held off the valiant efforts of Grands Crus with such consummate ease it looked like strapping a rocket to the runner up wouldn’t have made much of a difference. After making it a hat-trick of Liverpool Hurdles, Paul Nicholls confirmed that he’s adopting the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach with his star and he won’t be going chasing for the foreseeable future. “I shouldn’t think fences will ever happen. There’s no point. No horse has ever won four World Hurdles and if he could do that he will be in history forever.” Racing Post (pay for it edition)
>>>> Most of Jason Maguire’s recent history has involved doubt over whether or not he’ll get to take a plum ride for a big race so why should it be any different for the Grand National? Ballabriggs probably isn’t quite as plum a ride as Peddlers Cross was for the Champion Hurdle, but he’s still in with a shout. Maguire fell when riding Palawi in the Juvenile Hurdle yesterday and has an elbow injury that could see him miss the last two days at Aintree. Ballabriggs’ trainer, Donald McCain has been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy and his prognosis is more optimistic – “He has stitches in his elbow. I hope he will be fine.” Racecall.com
>>>> Brian May, Bill Oddie and Gemma Atkinson walk into the Guardian and hand in an angry letter. That’s not a joke that’s just what happened. A group of celebrities have clubbed together to write a strongly worded open letter calling for the Grand National to be made safer for the horses (and anyone who saw those photo’s for the Daily Mail earlier). They’re talking about animal welfare so on reflection maybe ‘clubbing’ wasn’t the best choice of language. In fairness, if you love horses, seeing even one die is distressing so they do have a point. On the other hand, the Grand National is kickass. It’s hard to decide what to think. There is a touch of hypocrisy about it however, if Alesha Dixon was so concerned about cruelty, would she have released ‘The Boy Does Nothing’?