Tomorrow is one of the greatest events in the jump racing calendar and one of the most controversial for anyone campaign for animal rights. However whatever your stance on the Grand National, it should be agreed that tomorrow’s race is a high point for women’s representation in the very male dominated horse racing world as Katie Walsh lines up at the start on 10-1 second favourite Seabass.
This isn’t Katie’s début on the field, galloping Seabass home in 3rd place at last year’s National and making her only the 15th woman to ride in the race, a pretty small figure when you realise the race has been run in some way or another since the early 1800’s. In fact it was only in 1977 that the first woman competed when Charlotte Brew made history in Barry Fort. Last year’s finish also made Katie the highest ever placed female jockey in the Grand National, something that, although facing tough competition in the field, not least from her brother Ruby Walsh on 7-1 favourite On His Own, could definitely be improved on this year.
Katie, 28, began her jump race career as an amateur jockey in 2003 and is the daughter of trainer Ted Walsh, who has also trained Seabass. There’s a lot of fences to be jumped and a gruelling 4 miles, 3 furlongs and 110 yards to go, but with the confidence of last year’s race behind her, Katie could be on for making history.
Good luck Katie!
Image from http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/horse-racing
I’d just like to say good luck to all the jockeys tomorrow and GET YOUR HORSES ROUND SAFE! Although I have everything crossed that all the horses make it home, I know that undoubtedly there will be the usual outcry once the race is over. But before people start accusing horse racing of being cruel and stressful for the animals I can reassure you that if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from a life time of being around my equine pals, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. A horse will never do anything it doesn’t want to. They are the ultimate flight animal and their whole purpose is to keep themselves safe (they are incredibly self centred!) so if they don’t want to race then believe you me they will not race and woe betide anyone who tries to make them. These animals enjoy what they do, they are bred for this purpose and as upsetting as it is when they fall at fences (I’m still haunted by According to Pete being brought down at Beacher’s Brook last year and the greed/stupidity of Synchronised’s owners to run him at all), it’s like any other extreme sport, there’s risk involved. I know this isn’t everyone’s opinion, but I just needed to say something.