Next weekend’s 2021 Grand National will be the 173rd annual running of the event and the field provides the best opportunity for a female jockey to win for the first time.
There had not been a single female jockey ride at the Grand National until Charlotte Brew broke the stigma in 1977. And even since then there have only been 19 more, of which three competed in the 2018 – Katie Walsh, Bryony Frost and Rachael Blackmore.
Horse racing has seen more and more female jockeys competing in events across the globe over the past few years, with Rachael Blackmore making history last month when she became the first to win the famous Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.
Next weekend’s Grand National will see at least three female jockeys competing in the 40-strong field, including Blackmore herself.
Blackmore has the choice of Henry de Bromhead’s two likely runners, Chris’s Dream and Balko Des Flos, with current odds of 33/1 and 40/1 respectively. But the 31-year-old could also have a chance of riding Minella Times too, who is as short as 14/1 with the bookmakers.
Anyone who fancies Rachel Blackmore to repeat her success from three weeks ago at Cheltenham may want to consider the Grand National betting offers leading into the big event.
The second female jockey confirmed for the race on Merseyside is Bryony Frost, who will also be competing for the second time. Three years ago, the female jockey finished fifth on Milansbar, with a starting price of 25/1.
This year the 25-year-old rides on Yala Enki, who is currently priced up at 25/1 to win the 2021 Grand National.
The 11-year-old horse finished third in the Welsh National before registering a second success in the Portman Cup at Taunton.
Making her Grand National debut this year will be Tabitha Worsley, who will be riding Sub Lieutenant, owned and trained by her mother. However, she’s a 100/1 long shot. Not since 1994 have we had a winner at such long odds.
Ms Worsley has also been taking some advice from Rachael Blackmore, about riding Sub Lieutenant on the grandest racing stage of them all, saying:
“I was riding out for Henry all of Cheltenham week this year so I found out a bit more about him. He said he is such a fun horse to have about and he is a lovely horse. He said he can see him running a really nice race so let’s hope he isn’t wrong.
“I asked Rachael about him when I was riding out for Henry and she said if you think he jumps a normal fence well, then wait until you get him over one of those Aintree fences.
“She said he won’t travel between the fences but as soon as he is in those wings he just lights up so that filled me with a lot of excitement as well.”
Tabitha Worsley has ridden Sub Lieutenant twice at Ascot, finishing a respectable fourth on both occasions. And that makes the female jockey confident going into next weekend’s race, adding:
“He has already given us two really fun days out and if we can keep him sound and well he should give us the biggest day of both mine and my mum’s careers and lives.
“It could be the one chance we ever get to run something in the National.”
Tabitha Worsley has been riding horses since she was a toddler and is now hoping to become the first female jockey to win the Grand National.
Jack Timms is an independent writer with 8 years experience in writing sports articles for various magazines and newspapers. Most of his work is on horse racing or football, and he has written for magazines such as Thoroughbred Racing and Luxuria Lifestyle. Jack lives in York with his dog, Poppins.