In the coverage of the Randox Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, connections of Roi Mage have raised concerns about the amount of publicity given to animal rights activists. James Griffin, assistant to his father Patrick, who trains Roi Mage, expressed his frustration, saying, “These protestors should not have been given any credit on the TV. They don’t show streakers, why should they show people like that (protestors)? Fine, show it if you are anti-racing, but don’t show it if you are pro-racing. Don’t give them the publicity.”
Griffin also praised jockey Felix de Giles, who stepped in when intended partner James Reveley was unable to ride due to a broken leg. Griffin felt justified in his jockey booking, saying, “Felix had a good chat with James Reveley before the race on how to ride him and he rode him to the letter of his instructions.” He also noted that de Giles’ excellent riding skills were not mentioned on TV, saying, “Felix gave him a kick in the ribs before the fourth last and he winged it, then he gave him a pat. I thought that stood out. It was the mark of a good horseman. He got no mention on TV.”
Despite some setbacks earlier in the year, including a nasty cut during a cross-country chase at Cheltenham, Roi Mage performed admirably in the Grand National. Griffin expressed his gratitude to the veterinary team at the track for their care, saying, “Ian Camm, who spent two hours on his hands and knees under the horse, with his fingertip, cleaning the wound, texted me on Saturday morning, wishing us luck – that meant a great deal.” Looking ahead, Griffin revealed that the plan is to target the National again next season, and Roi Mage is expected to be similarly campaigned, starting off in France and working back towards the Grand National next year. Griffin concluded, “He doesn’t owe us anything. For those owners to have been given a thrill like that from him was incredible. We fired one dart yesterday from a small yard and he didn’t let us down.”
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