As the Grand National ­hurtles towards us like a crazed mare, John Smith's which sponsors the race is offering punters the chance to take a stake in Smithy, the so-called People's Racehorse.

Sensibly, ample-bellied drinkers won't get to ride the no-nonsense nag. But they will get to vote online to help make key decisions about Smithy's season.

Whether each voter gets a free tin of dog food if the horse trails in last or falls victim to some faulty Newbury-style wiring has yet to be confirmed.