UK sports betting operators Betway and Coral spoke with retired jockey Katie Walsh and new rival Tom Scudamore in two independent marketing releases, each offering a unique take on the Grand National’s importance.
Walsh is one of the most prolific female jockeys in history, with over 100 victories, including the Irish Grand National. This documentary looks at the history of female jockeys and their fortunes in the UK Grand National.
“Any child who was lucky enough to have a pony growing up has ridden the Grand National a thousand times in their head, hoping that one day it might happen in real life,” she said.
“But when it comes to women actually riding in the race, my first recollection is of the movie National Velvet, where Elizabeth Taylor had to cut her own hair short and pretend that she was a boy – and it wasn’t even real.”
Grand National was “no place for a lady”
Walsh highlighted the achievements of her sister-in-law Nina Carberry, who ran the Grand National three times between 2006 and 2011, and Carrie Ford, who placed fifth in 2005 against Ginger McCain’s assertion that the Grand National was “no place for a lady.”
Following her retirement from competitive horse racing in December 2018, Walsh became a brand ambassador for Betway, writing monthly articles for Betway Insider on news from the sport and broader industry.
She ended with the following message: “One day a woman will cross the line in front. It’s only a matter of time. But you need more than just talent to win the National. It’s a lottery, all right. But when you’ve got a ticket, you’ve got a chance.”
Horse racing a family tradition
Meanwhile, Scudamore spoke about his family’s long tradition of horse racing, with his ancestor, Michael Scudamore, capturing the Grand National with Oxo in 1959.
Between 2008 and 2015, the steeplechase and flat racing jockey won ten times at the Cheltenham Festival, including three times in the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase, but Aintree’s signature race has eluded him.
“People are aware of that race more than any other,” he began. “It was always part of my family’s history.”
He continued: “I’m extremely proud of everything that my father and grandfather have achieved. If I won the national, it would be the pinnacle of my career so far, without a shadow of a doubt.”
Cloth Cap, named after the piece of headwear his grandfather wore when he won the prestigious contest 62 years ago, will be the 9/2 favourite in today’s race.
Cloth Cap is a ‘revelation,’ according to Scudamore, who won the Ladbrokes Cup with the horse last year.