Even casual horse racing fans will be familiar with the name Ruby Walsh and many will be tempted to back the Irish jockey as he rides Willie Mulliins’ 40/1 shot Ballycasey in Saturday’s Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree.
However, it was another member of the Walsh clan that stole the headlines earlier this week as sister Katie successful guided Thunder And Roses to victory in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. It was a significant moment for the fraternity of female jockeys and quickly led to the likes of brother Ruby, and Champion Jockey AP McCoy, spearheading suggestions that it’s only a matter of time before a woman wins the big one.
Could those predictions come true this Saturday?
All eyes will be cast towards Nina Carberry, who is married to third Walsh sibling Ted Junior, who will be attempting to create history aboard First Lieutenant. Having won the Irish national herself in 2011, the 30-year-old might just have what it takes.
Get paid on the first 6 places in the Grand National when you bet with BetVictor
First Lieutenant hasn’t quite been at his best this season, but trainer Mouse Morris has publicly declared that the 10-year-old chestnut gelding is set for a great ride. Moreover, we already know that this horse is a fantastic jumper, as has been showcased on various occasions over the past few years, so there is every reason to believe that Carberry could be in for some success.
Questions do still remain over the horse’s ability to stay over the four-mile plus distance, but the jumping capabilities ensure that First Lieutenant is at least worth consideration when it comes to betting. That sentiment has already been underlined this week as the price has shortened from 33s to around 25/1, depending on which bookmaker you use.
It’s difficult to say Carberry will create history this weekend with any real conviction, but there is no reason to think First Lieutenant can’t at least enjoy a productive race. With BetVictor paying out on six-places, it could be well worth backing this terrific jumper on the each-way market.
In fact, if you’re looking to place any E/W wager then BetVictor should be your first choice – unless you can back the same horse at significantly higher odds elsewhere.
First Lieutenant Each-Way (6 places) @ 25/1 with BetVictor
Alternatively, if you really fancy First Lieutenant to finish in the top four then take advantage of Bet365’s equally tempting offer. Any E/W bets placed between now and Saturday midday will be credited with a 50% stake refund, regardless of the result – now that has to be tempting, especially if backing one of the frontrunners.
Whether First Lieutenant can actually win the Grand National is a difficult question to answer, but there is a sense of inevitability that it won’t be long before a female takes wins the ultimate prize in steeplechase racing.
Carberry herself boasts three finishes from four previous rides in the National, whilst sister-in-law Katie holds the record for best-placed female jockey with a third-placed finish aboard Seabass in 2012. The Irish National winner is not yet involved in Saturday’s showpiece event, although there is a good chance that will change before then.
In his blog for William Hill, retiring jockey (and this year’s favourite) AP McCoy has pinpointed the trip of Carberry, Walsh and Lucy Alexander as genuine candidates to win the world’s most famous race at some stage and it’s hard to argue with such a legend of the sport.
If you believe that McCoy’s prediction will come to fruition, then you may be interested in William Hill’s offer of 6/1 on any female jockey to win the Grand National before the end of 2020. It certainly stands out as good value considering the hype from senior figureheads within the sport. Sadly, though, you might have to wait another five years to receive your wings. Still, it is a tempting selection for the more patient punters.
A female jockey to win the Grand National before end of 2020 @ 6/1 with William Hill
Whatever happens to Carberry, the 168th Grand National is set to be another absorbing race at Aintree. We can’t wait.