2018 Grand National: bookies expect big support for female jockeys
Baie Des Iles’ jockey Katie Walsh is tipped to be one of the favourites for the race at Aintree on Saturday
For the first time in 30 years there will be three female jockeys riding in the Grand National - and UK bookmakers are bracing themselves for an “avalanche of support” for the women riders in Saturday’s big race.
One of the favourites to win at Aintree is Katie Walsh, who will ride Baie Des Iles. She will be joined at the start line by Bryony Frost on Milansbar and Rachael Blackmore on Alpha Des Obeaux.
The Daily Mail reports that the odds on Walsh’s mount Baie Des Iles were cut yesterday by Coral, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. On Monday the grey mare was a 50-1 shot, the Mail says, but is now priced at 16-1 according to Oddschecker.
Ladbrokes’ Nicola McGeady told the Mail: “We are expecting a lot of bets on the girl jockeys, especially with female empowerment being so much in the news this year. The three female jockeys will be a focus of media coverage and Baie Des Iles is not just being backed because Katie is riding. A lot of good judges are tipping her up and saying she ticks a lot of boxes.”
Ladbrokes is also offering odds of 10-1 for a female jockey to win the £1m race while Oddschecker prices place Frost’s Milansbar at 33-1 and Blackmore’s Alpha Des Obeaux at 40-1.
Coral’s Dave Stevens said: “We have seen twice before significant support for a runner ridden by Katie Walsh. She is an old hand in the Grand National. This is her sixth ride and she has the best finish for a female jockey. There is every chance Baie Des Iles could halve in price yet.
“I am sure Bryony Frost will get plenty of attention too. She has had such a great season. This is not just women betting on women. There is plenty of support from both sexes. But amongst once-a-year punters Katie will be one of the most popular riders.”
National course may be wettest since 2001
The Guardian reports that the going at Aintree’s Grand National course was “heavy in places” last night.
A total of 8mm of rain fell at the track in 24 hours meaning conditions for the race could be the worst since 2001 when Red Marauder claimed the victory. That year only four of the 40 starting horses finished the race.
Aintree’s clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch told the Guardian: “We were due a couple of millimetres on Monday night and a couple more early morning. But unfortunately we got a lot more than that. Hopefully it will dry a bit before Thursday and it looks like we’ve had most of the rain.
“But having said that, temperatures haven’t really got up much. It feels more like autumn than spring, it’s significantly colder than yesterday and, if it had just gone up a couple of degrees with a bit of sunshine, that would have helped. But that’s Mother Nature for you.”