Who’ll ‘Run’ The Grand National? Girls?!5 min read
Last month, at the remarkable Cheltenham Festival, Bryony Frost, Lizzie Kelly and Rachel Blackmore (twice) all chalked up major victories – two of those being Grade One wins for Frost and Blackmore.
Frost became the first woman to ride a Grade One winner over jumps at The Festival, and with the Grand National around the corner, the world’s biggest steeplechase, we’re wondering whether we’ll see for the first time in the history of the Grand National a female jockey taking first place. So, in the style of Beyoncé, who’ll run the Grand National? Girls?!
In 1983 Jenny Pitman made history as she became the first female trainer to win the Grand National with Corbiere, and with the high calibre of female jockeys at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, it’s safe to say that horse racing is not just a man’s world.
Harry Redknapp, our new brand ambassador at BetVictor, witnessed the action at Cheltenham and he told me something important is happening within British and Irish racing.
“Cheltenham really was quite something and puts down a marker to all the male jockeys out there,” said Redknapp. “I was watching on as Bryony picked up her win and it was as good a ride as I’ve ever seen. Female jockeys are really stepping up their game,” added Redknapp.
Horse racing is one of the few sports where men and women are actually able to compete directly against one another, and it would be great to see a female jockey win the big one at Aintree this year!
If you look at the 14-year study released by the University of Liverpool last year, when the quality of horse is factored in, there is little disparity between the performances of male and female riders.
Female jockeys, though, have faced an uphill battle, not even being allowed to take part in the sport until the late 1960s. As of last year’s University of Liverpool report, only 11.3