Will Tabitha Worsley be the first female to win the Grand National?
It would come as no shock to racing fans were Bryony Frost or Rachael Blackmore to become the first female jockey to win the Grand National, however Tabitha Worsley has high hopes that she can put her name in the record books by winning on her “once in a lifetime” runner, Sub Lieutenant on April 10th.
Sub Lieutenant is trained by Tabitha Worsley’s mother Georgie Howell and the Tenbury Wells handler has just a string of horses to her name. Together they will be taking on the big guns such as Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins in what is surely the most iconic race in the world.
At the age of 12, this horse is certainly in the twilight of his career but he has proven beyond doubt that he still has bags of ability and on the back of two impressive showings since moving to Howell, Worsley has a lot off enthusiasm ahead of her first ever appearance in the Grand National.
26-year-old Worsley said: “It would be unbelievable if we could win it, but we were saying the other day we would celebrate if me and Sub Lieutenant could make it to the flag-fall as that in itself is so tricky. He is a little bit wild and fresh at home but that is a sign he is in good form.
“He has got some good back form as he has finished second to Un De Sceaux in a Ryanair, and was second in a Topham over the fences while he has spent most of his life running in Graded races.
“We still have just under two weeks to go but everything is going the right way at the moment. If we can get round I would be absolutely over the moon. Anything above that I don’t dare think about it!
“To get round would be unbelievable for us as you are taking on the best of the best and we are just a tiny little yard. Little stories like this is what can make the race and draws the wider public in as well.”
The trip of four-and-a-half miles will suit Sub Lieutenant and the runner impressed his rider over replica National fences in a schooling session at Lambourn last weekend.
Worsley said: “The first time he ran for us was a fact-finding mission for us as we have a string of 0-100 horses and that is all he worked with, so we didn’t know where he was at.
“Last time he was flat out the whole way but he stayed all the way to the line, which hopefully suggests that the extended four and a quarter miles at Aintree will be right up his street.
“We took him down to Lambourn on Sunday morning to school over the Aintree-style fences and I was very pleased with him over them.”