Rachael Blackmore convincingly came out as Top Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival – and it’s surely just a matter of time before a female rider wins the Grand National. Could 2021 be the year that history is made?
The Grand National has permitted female jockeys since 1977 when Charlotte Brew rode Barony Fort, who refused at one of Aintree’s famous fences. Geraldine Rees made history in 1982 by completing the course on Cheers – finishing eighth – but it was not until 1994 before that result was bettered when Rosemary Henderson placed fifth on Fiddlers Pike.
An 11-year-old wait was endured before we next witnessed a female jockey tackle the Grand National. Carrie Ford came home fifth on Forest Gunner – and an increasing number of riders have followed in her path.
Katie Walsh – the sister of Paddy Power’s resident jockey-turned-pundit Ruby and daughter of Grand National-winning trainer Ted – came the closest of all to winning on her father’s horse Seabass in 2012. The 8/1 joint-favourite finished third behind Neptune Collonges and Sunnyhillboy to earn connections just over £100,000. They were back for a second crack at it the following year and went off 11/2 favourite but came home 13th behind Auroras Encore.
We’ve witnessed two female jockeys on either side of the Irish Sea making history in recent years – and they’re among three women set to feature in this year’s renewal.
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Bryony Frost became the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 over obstacles at the Cheltenham Festival when superbly steering her partner-in-chief Frodon to the Ryanair Chase in 2019. The dynamite duo followed up in the 2020 King George VI at Kempton Park making Frost the first female to ride a winner in that race.
While Rachael Blackmore heads to Aintree after an incredible Cheltenham Festival in which she became the first female to claim the Top Jockey prize. The Queen of Prestbury Park rode winners in six races including the Champion Hurdle and Ryanair Chase – and she’ll no doubt be hoping to add the Grand National to her CV.
Minella Times has been cut in price with punters identifying the Henry de Bromhead-trained eight-year-old as Blackmore’s ride in the big race.
The County Tipperary native has ridden in the Grand National on two occasions – Alpha Des Obeaux was a faller in 2018 and Valseur Lido finished 10th the following year.
Tabitha Worsley is the third female jockey set to ride in this year’s race and teams up with 12-year-old Sub Lieutenant. She has winning form over the Grand National fences have landed the Foxhunters’ Chase on Top Wood in 2019.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
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