Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Horses bed down in luxury stables

THE FIRST horses for the Grand National meeting have started to arrive at Aintree.This year a new stable yard has been opened to house some of the 350 animals which will race during the three days.The man responsible for making sure every horse is looked after is 60-year-old stable manager Derek Thompson.

The veteran of 38 Grand Nationals, who lives in Melling Road, has to satisfy every trainer that each horse will receive the first-class Aintree treatment. The stables will be cleaned out every day and the requested bedding provided so every hopeful sleeps well before their big race.

With horses often arriving at dawn, some of Derek's five-strong team are at the racecourse for 5am to welcome the arrivals. And it is the Irish contingent which are often the first to come to Aintree to avoid any potential problems with ferry crossings.

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