“The people were defending their race. It showcases their city to however many hundreds of million people around the world and they don’t want that spoiled,” said proud Liverpudlian Mick Quinn, former professional footballer turned trainer, praising the response of racegoers at Aintree who helped stop protestors from disrupting the Grand National.
“There was a time the race was on its knees with regards to a sponsor and it looked like petering out. It’s been rejuvenated and revamped and is still the most exciting race in the world,” Quinn continued. “As a spectacle, it takes your breath away and the Liverpool people are very proud of it. The meeting is massive in the calendar – for the people in the city it’s their Royal Ascot.”
Quinn, who was based in Newmarket but stopped training in 2021, recalled being captivated by the exploits of three-time National hero Red Rum in the 1970s. “I was lucky being brought up in the 1970s with that great Liverpool team and Red Rum. I trained on the Flat, but he’s my equine hero and that’s why I’m still so passionate about the race. It was great to grow up when he was in his pomp and peak, and the race is a firm part of my upbringing and had an influence on me getting involved in the sport.”
Despite the risks inherent in any sport, Quinn expressed pride in the race and its history, noting the efforts made to modify the race and fences to make it as safe as possible. “We don’t want any fatalities and I’m still proud of the race, as are many others in Liverpool,” he said.