Man-O-War, arguably the greatest racehorse of all time...
America's most famous Thoroughbred, Man o'War is buried at the entrance to Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. 'Big Red', as the chestnut stallion was nicknamed, won 20 of the 21 races he entered and the one he lost went to the appropriately named steed Upset.
Man o'War was born in Lexington on March 29th 1917. Two years later, he breezed through his first race, winning by six lengths and a slew of wins and broken records followed. Big Red famously did not like having any horses in front of him, and it showed. The record he set in the Triple Crown held for 50 years.
But this is about Britain's greatest horse race - The Grand National, which takes place at Aintree, Liverpool at 4.15pm Saturday afternoon, BST. Bad planning means that Liverpool play Everton at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday lunchtime so the Scousers will be in London while their city's biggest event of the year takes place.
This year's Grand National has a distinctly Heavy Metal feel to it as I discovered when I was reviewing this year's runners and riders for the first time last night. Let's take a look at some of this year's entries. These are not my 2012 Grand National tips. They will be published on SportingPreview.com on Friday evening at 6.00pm BST.
My 2009 tip romped home at 10/1 and every one of my tips has finished in the top five since 2006. Will Heavy Metal triumph at the 2012 Grand National?
WEST END ROCKER 11/1
This magnificently named horse is currently second favourite for this year's big race after falling at the sixth in 2011. He is also trained by Alan King, giving him an even more Metal edge. He may become my 2012 tip on name alone but you'll have to wait until 6.00pm on Friday to find out.
ON HIS OWN 12/1
I'm dedicating this horse to Gypsy Lee Pistolero who quit The Gypsy Pistoleros at midnight on Tuesday, presumably after a few somethings too many. Lee declared that he was embarking on a solo career so this selection is more than appropriate. Get your money on it Lee. If you haven't trashed it all by now...
GILES CROSS 12/1
The name of this horse instantly reminded me of Black Sabbath's 'Headless Cross' and I'm afraid that is about as far as the Metal connection goes. He's strongly fancied and up there with the favourites so is definitely a good bet.
PLANET OF SOUND 33/1
I had to include this one, even though there is no band or album with that name. There should be - Planet Of Sound is a great name for a Metal band or album. If one appears next year, remember this article...
SMOKING ACES 100/1
The movie of the same name used Motörhead's 'Ace Of Spades' for it's soundtrack. The music was about the only decent thing about that film and enough to warrant this horse a place in the 2012 Grand National Heavy Metal Listings.
This is for my old mate Dave 'Junior' Ellefson of Megadeth. He is nine years old, been given a winnable 11-02 from the Handicapper, has won or been placed in 6 of his 7 chase starts and loves the going Good or Gd-Sft which is the most usual for Aintree. That's Junior the horse, Not Junior the bass maestro. He may be singing this on his way to winning line...
I picked this one out because that's how the music business seems to run most of the time - in a state of organised confusion. Organisedconfusion is a fantastic young horse with some superb form behind him including winning the Irish Grand National with Nina Carberry in April 2011.
RARE BOB 33/1
Rare Bob's jockey is Bryan Cooper and his trainer is Dessie Hughes so this is dedicated to my fantasy supergroup of Bobby Rondinelli, Alice Cooper and Glenn Hughes. If it happens next year, remember this article. But it won't because there's no guitar player...
WEIRD AL 40/1
Hang on - we'll get Al Pitrelli in on guitar. This one is trained by Donald McCain whose father, the legendary 'Ginger' McCain trained Red Rum, the greatest Grand National horse of all time. Nothing 'weird' about this piece of music at all though...
DEEP PURPLE 66/1
Yes, there really is a horse called Deep Purple running in the 2012 Grand National. At 66/1 he will have to be a 'Speed King' to win and if he falls, he is sure to 'Lay Down, Stay Down'.
VIKING BLOND 66/1
This one simply must be dedicated to Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth. I need add no words to the picture...
There are forty horses running on Saturday and you can find out all you need to know from the full-scale coverage that is coming to SportingPreview.com. I'll be publishing my tip there at 6.00 BST on Friday 13th April.
In the meantime, I've been down the bookies this morning and I did a deal with them. They said that any MetalTalk.net readers who want to have a bet on the Grand National could have a bonus to the same value of their first deposit, up to £30. So if you have a £10 bet on the race, you'll get a £10 bonus in your account straight away. Click here to bet on the Grand National at Coral.
Good luck and let's hope one of the 'Iron Horse''s above wins it.