Odds Stacked Against First Ever Female Grand National Winner
A field of 40 runners with four reserves has been named ahead of the Grand National at Aintree and racing punters are eyeing up the value at the lower end of the scale.
Billed as the toughest steeplechase in horse racing, the annual National Hunt race sees jockeys and their horses negotiate 30 fences over a 4m2.5f distance – nearly 7km – with merely reaching the finish line considered an achievement in itself.
The 2018 winner, Tiger Roll, has been installed as this year’s favourite as he bids to become the first horse since the legendary Red Rum in 1973 and 1974 to win the race in back-to-back years.
However, with the field wide open, it’s not uncommon for a rank outsider to emerge from the back and steal the show.
Grand National 2019 Odds and Probability
|Horse (Jockey)||Odds||Implied Probability|
|Tiger Roll (D. Russell)||7/2||22.2%|
|Rathvinden (R. Walsh)||10/1||9.1%|
|Vintage Clouds (D. Cook)||12/1||7.7%|
|Anibale Fly (B. Geraghty)||14/1||6.7%|
|Lake View Lad (H. Brooke)||14/1||6.7%|
|Joe Farrell (A Wedge)||20/1||4.8%|
|Pleasant Company (P. Townend)||20/1||4.8%|
One jockey who is attracting a fair bit of interest is Lizzie Kelly, who will become only the 18th female to take part in the Grand National in its 180-year history when she takes to the track on Saturday.
Charlotte Brew was the first female to take participate in the main event at the Aintree Festival in 1977, which was also won by the aforementioned Red Rum, but over 40 years later Kelly’s credentials are much greater.
In winning a Grade One race in 2015 at Kempton with Tea For Two, who she will ride again in the 17:15 race this weekend, Kelly became the first female jockey in Britain to win a G1 event, and followed it up with success in the Betway Bowl at Aintree two years ago.
With 12 wins under her belt this season, including a recent success at Cheltenham Festival, she has confidence coming into the Aintree showpiece, but bookmakers have little faith in her chances, putting a price of 80/1 on Kelly and Tea For Two.
Despite her chances deemed fairly low, Kelly remains optimistic about her odds of creating history.
“I think if I won the race I would cry in the middle of the paddock and then you wouldn’t see me and probably the horse for a week, as we would be in a bar in Liverpool somewhere,” she told the Liverpool Echo in a recent interview.
“I think if I won the Grand National, people would go nuts. I imagine you would be doing so many appearances on things like Good Morning Britain. It would be absolutely massive.
“Whichever of us does it first, there are likely to films and books about it, that is how big I think the reaction would be. If they made a film about it I’d want Keira Knightley to play me!”
Owned and trained by Kelly’s mother Jane Williams, Tea For Two is a 10-year-old with a win percentage of 29.03%, according to Sky Sports Racing, and Kelly believes he’ll have no trouble tackling Aintree’s famous jumps.
“He went over the Grand National-style fences well at David Pipe’s yard when we went there, so he knows what he is doing,” she said.
“In terms of jumping the fences, I think he will be fine as he is a good jumper. The question mark would be whether he stays, but I think the older he has got, the happier I am about him staying the trip.
“I would be in dreamland if I finish in the first six. He has done an awful lot for me, though, and the main aim will be for me and him to finish in one piece.”
Katie Walsh, who has since retired, holds the record for the best-placed female jockey in the Grand National, coming third in 2012 with Seabass, trained by her father Ted.
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