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James joins Grand National commentary team

It would appear our very own James May is making an unlikely bid to become the new Des Lynam.

This Saturday, our man will be taking to the fabled BBC red button to commentate on Britain’s biggest horse race of the year, the gruelling four mile Grade One Grand National from Aintree.

This is not just for fun – it’s all part of his new Man Lab, where May has been training his mind to see if he can remember all the horses and jockeys (40 of them), while talking at approximately 52 miles an hour.

We can only hope that Shakalakaboomboom and Quiscover Fontaine drop out of the running early on…

In preparation May popped down to top trainer David Pipe ahead of the race to see what’s involved in prepping thoroughbred race-horses. You can watch the full film below (with thanks to BBC Sport), where he marvels over the fact that animals that weigh the same as an F1 car and reach speeds of over 40mph. And are, in essence, “real wheel drive”.


And this is just part of May’s domination of the sporting airwaves. On Saturday morning before the race, he’s also on Football Focus – showing hitherto well-hidden knowledge of the beautiful game – predicting the results of the weekend’s matches. He made several Top Gear staff happy by forecasting a much-needed wins for QPR and Spurs.

Plus, of course, last weekend May was an integral part of the Boat Race coverage, joining up with old mucker Oz Clarke before the slightly shambolic events on the Thames to get gently hammered in the pubs en route. If you missed his indispensable guide to the drinking holes of his beloved Hammersmith, you can still watch it here.

The Grand National is live at 16.15 BST, Saturday on BBC One, Radio 5 live and online (UK users only). The alternative commentary by James can be heard via the Red Button

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