than happy to shout this from the rooftops -
I WAS WRONG.
After the last two years I was
dreading the 2013 National and as I said two blogs ago I
had some reservations about the changes bought in ahead of
this years renewal.
My fears were wholly unfounded.
Although I could not
face watching the race live my relief was palpable when
just after 16:25 on Saturday I received a text which
simply said “all seem to be back OK”.
When I later watched a recording of
the race I can say, for the first time in years I enjoyed
watching the race. The fences certainly looked to be more
forgiving and that all the runners were still standing
coming to the Canal Turn must be unprecedented.
The race did not look to be any less
of a spectacle, so well done to Aintree, the BHA and all
those involved in the latest changes – all credit where
credit is due.
Let us not get too complacent
though, this is but one year, but the signs are good and
hopefully the more extreme critics will quieten down now.
I was also wrong in my estimation of
the number of viewers who would watch the race on Channel
Four. The viewing figures were actually better than those
of the BBC in recent years.
I did record the Channel Four
coverage and, for me, it was like the Curates Egg.
Some of the background articles were
excellent, it was good to see the excellent Gareth O’Brien
There were some oddities though,
quite why they went through the runners in reverse order
is beyond me.
There was barely any coverage of the
runners in the parade ring.
I also found the coverage of the
race itself disappointing. It wasn’t their best
performance. Too many of the shots were from too far away
and it was difficult to identify runners.
It also seems that having gone to
the expense of installing a flying camera, it was going to
be used to the absolute maximum. To use the camera to show
the 14th fence when the view was blocked by a
big screen is absolutely unforgivable.
The shot of The Chair was also poor.
As for the commentary, Richard
Hoiles sounded as if he was wearing a muffle and the
usually excellent Ian Bartlett just sounded as if he
wasn’t really that interested. Also why did
Simon Holt cover the section after Valentines. He clearly
had to do it off a monitor, it seems more sense to have
had Richard cover Valentines to the Melling Road.
By contrast the RUK coverage
with the course commentary was far better. The camera angles
were far superior and it was much easier to follow what was
happening. The commentary was good and Stewart Machin rose to
the occasion was the lead commentator, even resisting his
The re-run analysis of the race was
unbelievable to the point of embarrassment. It seemed Nick
Luck was trying to second guess what was going to happen .
At one point he said “We’ll freeze it there” and the VT
carried on running.