- What’s In a Name? John
By Andrew Atkinson
A Stewards Enquiry is flagged up after comedian and former racehorse syndicate-owner John Bishop called for the Aintree Grand National to be pulled up.
Bishop, 53, former syndicate owner of racehorse ‘Know Your Name’, deems the historic Grand National – first run in 1839 – should be banned.
Despite reportedly saying he isn’t ‘totally against the sport’, Bishop believes Aintree’s April annual three day meeting track record of horse fatalities, deeming it should be scrapped. An average of three horses die each year.
Bishop acknowledges the Aintree Grand National is a prestigious event, but doesn’t deem it acceptable that a horse should lose its life, for entertainment.
This despite Bishop revealing, after a horse riding trip in Spain in 2012, each member of the family, while growing up, bet once a year on the Grand National, enjoying bonding as a family – shouting at the TV, in support of your ‘nag’.
Bishop’s wife Melanie owned and rode horses in annual country show jumping a prized pony events.
Bishop was in Spain in recent years, with his wife at the Caballo Blanco Trekking Centre, near to Andalucian town of Lanjaron, trekking foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Bishop is not just against racing, saying all blood sports should be banned.
“I am not entirely against horse racing. I had a share in a horse syndicate with a few mates,” said Bishop, who had a share in Know Your Name, syndicated by Livvys Racing Group.
“We had a horse called Know My Name (Know Your Name) which ran on the Flat and did quite well, but we had to retire it, because it developed hay fever,” said Bishop.
In fact Bishop was referring to Know Your Name – not, Know MY Name – trained by David Evans. Former England goalkeeper Joe Hart was also part of the syndicate.
Evans has trained over 1,000 winners, 800 on the Flat and 200 in National Hunt racing, since taking out a trainers licence in 1988.
Evans, who trains at Ty-Derlwyn Farm, near Abergavenny, Wales, was contacted for a comment, following Bishop’s Aintree meeting ban call.
Know Your Name won the Al Basti Equiworld Handicap at Newbury in 2014, when trained by Evans, ridden by Adam Kirby.
Know Your Name changed trainers in 2015, switching to Eric Alston, Edges Farm stables in Longton, Preston, Lancashire.
In 2016, Know Your Name switched trainer again, when going to Donald McCain.
Know Your Name, who last raced at Wolverhampton in January 2018, finishing last of nine, failed to win in seven races over hurdles; winning three of 20 races on AW, and three wins on Flat turf, from 39 races.
Know Your Name, who last won at Wolverhampton in July 2017, career prizemoney winnings was £53,000.
In retirement, Bishop quipped about Know Your Name’s hayfever: “I am glad to say that the horse is now enjoying its retirement – no doubt receiving antihistamine.”