They’re behind you! And they all were as Birmingham: It’s Not Shit’s Airbiscuit, ridden by Mickey Stokes romped home in the Pantomime Horse Grand National.
We’ll openly admit we didn’t think he’d do it – last year our horse came a distant last and the course this year was tougher than ever. Not only was there the chicane round the back of the Council House and people drunkenly celebrating Germanmas, but the final straights were up the 2:1 gradient of Newhall St. Brummie of the Year wouldn’t even of made it round the hard-core parade trip to Marks & Sparks. Down to the Bull Ring they trotted, past Smiths, waited with Brasso, then up to the cathedral where for some reason they did two circuits – amusing the park’s higher than the national average concentration of crap goths.
A canny rider, Mick, held Airbiscuit up and came second in his heat – qualifying for the final with a bit to spare. As long as frostbite didn’t set in he was in with a chance. It was tense, but they soon belted off through to Chamberlain Square and we stood around hoping for the best.
You couldn’t see what was going on round the back straight, Airbiscuit was second coming up to the water jump, but somehow made it into the lead for the torturous climb to the finish. Squirming through the last jump he was free and clear. Barring a Devon Lock, we’d won!
We did – all that remained was to pick up the cup! Councilor Ray Hassal, who has some experience in this area, being a Liberal, presented the third prize trophy, some bloke from the sponsors did second, then it was the turn of the Mayor, Councillor Mike Sharpe, to hand Mickey the magnum of champagne and the title of Pantomime Horse Grand National
No word on whether the Mayor is a fan of the site, but he’s certainly got a nice necklace.
Mick went off to celebrate, we’re told with 2006 Brummie Of The Year Jason Furnell – there’ll be some tales for the tabloids, well the Mail perhaps, in that booze session.
Well done Airbiscuit, and well done Mick, we’ll be back next year.
And with that all that’s left is for Big Chief Busks-with-Recorder from down by the ramp on New Street to play us out with the theme from some TV programme featuring horses, er, the Lone Ranger, de de dum de de dum
de de dum dum dum.
There’s loads more pictures on flickr, including some of the fillies race, just click to see.