Grand National 2021: Feeling Animated About Female Jockeys

Once upon a time, most punters would have shied away from backing a horse with a female jockey. It's sad but true. Like so many aspects of discrimination, prejudice, call it what you may, without opportunity there is no hope at all.

The history of female jockeys riding in the Grand National goes back to 1977 when Charlotte Brew used the newly formed Sex Discrimination Act 1975 to challenge the views of some prominent horse trainers who said: ''The Grand National was no place for a woman!''

Brew and her horse Barony Fort qualified to run in the 1977 Grand National after the the pair finished fourth in the Fox Hunters Chase which permitted entry to the world's most famous steeplechase. Much credit must be given to Brew and her talented gelding for not only running an exceptional race but challenging opinions which led to opportunities for others.

Since 1977, there have been 32 horses compete in the Grand National and just 17 female jockeys take their chance.

Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh have led the way since 2006. The pair have ridden 12 times over this period of time. In fact, Walsh finished 3rd in 2012 when she rode Seasbass who was made favourite on that historic day.

More recently, Rachael Blackmore and Lizzie Kelly have flown the flag for female jockeys competing in the Grand National.

The greatest female successes include:

1994 Rosemary Henderson - Fiddlers Pike 5th

2005 Carrie Ford - Forest Gunner 5th

2012 Katie Walsh - Seabass 3rd

2018 Bryony Frost - Milansbar 5th

Take a look at this animated video narrated by Katie Walsh ambassador for Betway horse racing about the history of female jockeys riding in the Grand National.

As Walsh says: ''It's only a matter of time before a female jockey wins the Grand National.''