Scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, near Chicago, have identified an anomaly which points towards a fifth force of nature and could answer the question as to why it can be so tricky to back winners of the Grand National.
The four known forces of nature are gravity (which holds the Universe together), electromagnetism (which is responsible for electricity, magnetism, light, radio waves and stuff), strong force (which holds particles at the centre of atoms together) and weak force (which causes radioactive decay and transforms particles).
The mysterious fifth force of nature, apparent in the wobbly behaviour of sub-atomic particles called muons, is likely to be responsible for various unexplained phenomena which don’t agree with the laws of physics – such as why your toast always falls butter-side-down, the DPD driver always turns up when you’re on the loo, and the horse you’ve backed for the Grand National unseats its jockey just as you manage to pick out the jockey’s colours.
Physicists have tentatively christened their discovery the ‘flavour force’ or ‘third family hyperforce’, although a better name might be the ‘jam force’ as it should explain the yet-to-be discerned laws governing the unpredictable flow of strawberry sauce when biting a Greggs doughnut.
The jam force exerts a greater pressure on the Grand National than any other race in the calendar. Without it, naming the winner would be easy and Cloth Cap (our selection for Saturday’s feature) would be past the post already. Cloth Cap fulfils all the key criteria: he stays four miles, he’s incredibly well handicapped, is in great form, won a key trial at Kelso last month and has an alliterative name (like former winners Mon Mome, Party Politics, Rhyme ‘n’ Reason, Red Rum – and even Ballabriggs and Hedgehunter, if you’re willing to stretch the point).
Other horses which qualify with an alliterative name this year include: Mister Malarky, Kimberlite Candy, Class Conti and Hogan’s Height. But I don’t fancy those so much because Cloth Cap is a cast-iron certainty, if it weren’t for the jam force factor…
Whatever the result, the winner almost always looks obvious after the event. As you’re scratching your head, wondering how that particular 66/1 shot came home in front, you’ll notice that it’d previously won the Becher Chase over the same fences, won a Grade 1 staying chase at the Cheltenham Festival, had been allotted bottom weight of 10st 2lb and was ridden by the championship chasing jockey Harry Skelton.
In case you’re wondering, his name is Blaklion. Back him each-way, in addition to Cloth Cap, if you’re feeling jammy.