Grand National 2021

In these tough times, for many of us it’s been sport that’s kept us sane this past year. Thankfully life in that area (at least with professional sport) returned to some kind of normality a while back now. Sad though it was to have to put up with a ‘Virtual Grand National’ in 2020, thankfully in 2021 we get to experience the real thing. This year bring us a short 4-1 favourite for a change in Cloth Cap , with Any Second Now and Burrows Saint currently joint second favourites at 10-1.

Three female jockeys take part in the 2021 Grand National, demonstrating how far we’ve come since the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (just a stones throw away when you think about it). With Rachael Blackmore, Bryony Frost and Tabitha Worsley all in the mix, could it be the year of the first female jockey winner? In the above video, Betway Racing, with Katie Walsh takes us through the history of women in the Grand National. Interestingly Walsh herself has had the best showing so far of all 16 past female jockeys in the event, coming third on SeaBass in 2012.


Quevega, who was retired from racing after attempting, unsuccessfully, to win the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle at Punchestown for the fifth year running in May, 2014 (much in the same way that I never give up when I’m hoping for a win on , was a popular and record-breaking racemare. Foaled in France, but trained for most of her career by perennial Irish champion National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins, Quevega won the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, now known, for sponsorship purposes, as the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle, at the Cheltenham Festival in six consecutive seasons between 2009 and 2014. In so doing, the daughter of Robin Des Champs beat the previous record set by the legendary Golden Miller, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup five years running between 1932 and 1936.

At 16 hands high, Quevega was no more than average height for a thoroughbred and, some would say, diminutive for a hurdler. Indeed, her lack of stature was initially a cause for concern for Willie Mullins, who almost rejected her on first viewing. But like someone whose luck is in on real money online blackjack, Mullins need not have worried; Quevega made a winning debut for the County Carlow in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown, quickening clear in the closing stages to win, easily, by six lengths. She followed up with another facile victory in a novice hurdle at Gowran Park, where she was ridden for the first time by Ruby Walsh, before being stepped up to Grade One level. Two defeats, including the most comprehensive of her career – when ninth, and last of the finishers, beaten 54¾ lengths behind Won In The Dark – in the Eventus Marquees Champion 4YO Hurdle at Punchestown, followed.

Nevertheless, Quevega returned to the County Kildare track in February, 2009, and again won easily. Consequently, she was sent off 2/1 favourite on her first attempt to win the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle – at that time, still a Grade Two event – at the Cheltenham Festival three weeks later. In the latter race, she drew right away in the closing stages to win, impressively, by 14 lengths; the rest, as they say, is history.

Like Father, Like Son: Balding hopes for Derby success

Whenever you hear the name Andrew Balding you know you’re in a safe and knowledgeable pair of hands. The Park House Stables, Berkshire based trainer this weekend attempts to follow in his Father Ian Balding’s footsteps by winning this Saturday’s Investec Derby with Kameko.

The thoroughbred shocked all by comfortably beating Pinatubo in the 2,000 Guineas recently with Oisin Murphy on board, resulting in the shortening of his odds of winning the coveted Derby crown.

In addition to the 2000 Guineas, Balding as has notable wins in the British Champion Sprint Stakes ( with Donjuan Triumphant), the Epsom Oaks (Casual Look), Sussex Stakes (Here Comes When) and the Vertem Futurity Trophy twice (Elm Park, and once with Kameko). He’ll be eager for a Derby win not to end up being ‘the one that got away’.

Balding recently talked to Betway about what it would mean to him to take the 2020 Derby prize. Will it be a case of ‘Like Father, like Son’, or will the likes of English King prove to be too strong on the day?

“It’s the number one goal, it’s the holy grail” explained Balding, in reference to the prospect of a Derby win. Can Kameko bring it home for him on Saturday? We’ll soon find out.