There is no more accurate indicator that weather conditions have got the better of us in the UK than the sudden appearance of a ‘Jumpers’ Bumper’ card and, following seven abandonments due to waterlogging in the past seven days alone, Kempton Park will on Friday host the first of what I’m afraid is likely to be several such events in the coming weeks.
Whether the ground is waterlogged or has succumbed to frost, the Jumpers’ Bumpers always provide a valuable opportunity to trainers and owners alike and we will certainly be supporting the card at Kempton Park.
It was a shame to see that Auroras Encore has suffered a career-ending injury, thereby denying him the chance to bid for a second win in the Grand National, a feat last achieved by the great Red Rum in 1973-1974.
It is interesting to note the number of eight year olds and under to have won the National:
last 20 runnings:        1-20
previous 20 runnings: 3-20
previous 20 runnings: 6-20
previous 20 runnings: 8-20
Breeding fashions changing over the years have diminished the allure of flat racing’s Triple Crown (only Nijinksy in 1970 has managed the feat in the past 75 years, while in 2012 Camelot became just the second colt in over 80 years to attempt the St Leger after 2000 Guineas and Derby glory) but, while our National Hunt stock appear to be bred every bit as precociously as was the case twenty years ago and more, it is noticeable that the average National winner is getting older, thereby making it less likely they will bid for a repeat success.
There has never before been a gap of longer than 40 years between multiple National winners, but Auroras Encore would have needed to win this year to keep that trend going.  However, with three eight year olds and one seven year old featuring in the top ten of the betting for this year’s National, as well as our very own eight year old Saint Are, perhaps it won’t be long before the next dual winner comes along!