Grand National – Girls on Top!

With the Aintree Grand National just around the corner (10th April) I’m sure we’re all starting to put thought into our selections. It’s a race that grabs everyone’s attention and whether you’re picking through skill or gut feeling, we’re all in with a shot of our selections winning over such a challenging and unpredictable course. Despite there being a 7/2 favourite this year (Cloth Cap) there are no guarantees in the Grand National.

There’s often so much more to a race than the event itself though. Katie Walsh in partnership with Betway, offers an illuminating take on the challenges faced by female jockeys over the years. We all like to think (naively perhaps) that people are recognised solely by their merits, but that is often not the case and sometimes even getting a foot in the door to begin with is a major hurdle. Considering the long history of the Grand National it’s actually rather shocking that it took the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 before a female even took the reigns in the event.

The very first women jockey in the Grand National was Charlotte Brew in 1977, with Geraldine Rees becoming the first woman to actually complete the race (in 1982). Visibility in the sport eventually led to greater achievements. Success followed for both Rosemary Henderson and Carrie Ford in the 90’s and 00’s, both placing fifth. Indeed it was Walsh herself who took these achievements to the next level in 2012 by finishing third on Seabass.

Three women jockeys are taking part in the 2021 Grand National, demonstrating that there is no turning back the tide now. Perhaps not this year, but it is surely now only a matter of time before we have our first female Grand National winner, in this, the ‘sport of kings’.

 

 

Floyd Mayweather Jr. 50-0-0

Floyd Mayweather Jr. 50-0-0 As oft repeated, boxing is the most unpredictable sport, so it is no surprise that fighters who finish their careers as undefeated world champions are a rarity. Rocky Marciano did so in 1956 but, at the time of writing, the retired former champion who holds the record for the most fights without losing is Floyd Mayweather Jr., who retired, for the third time, in 2017 with a career record of 50-0-0.

In fact, Mayweather Jr., who turned 43 in February, 2020, is threatening to come out of retirement yet again, if his Instagram feed is to be believed. He retired for the first time in 2007, before coming back, with no little success, in 2009, and retiring again, with a career record of 49-0-0, in 2015. In 2017, Mayweather Jr. was tempted out of retirement, once again, for a one-off contest, aptly dubbed ‘The Money Fight’, against Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion, Conor McGregor at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. Mayweather Jr. won, courtesy of a tenth round technical knockout, taking his career record to 50-0-0, and banking $275, in the process, but looked poor against a highly inexperienced opponent.

Mayweather Jr. Has been widely criticised for ‘diluting’ his legacy; in his heyday, he won fifteen major world titles, in five weight divisions – super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and light middleweight – and, granted his recent insistence that he is retired from boxing and would only consider ‘entertainment’ fights in future, he may be boasting that he is ‘The Best Ever’ for a while longer.

Watch all of Floyd Mayweathers career knock outs

Floyd Mayweather Jr – Undefeated (VIDEO)

Read about Floyd Mayweather’s undefeated record

The Grand National That Never Was 1993

The Grand National That Never Was 1993 Justifiably described by commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan as ‘the most sensational occurrence during the long history of the world’s most famous steeplechase’, the ‘race that wasn’t’ was run, albeit not officially, at Aintree on April 3, 1993. After a second false start, starter Keith Brown raised, but did not unfurl, his red recall flag, such that it could not be seen by recall man Ken Evans, stationed further down the course, and the majority of the field set off towards the first fence, oblivious to the recall.

Before the false starts, caused by a faulty catch on the starting gate, the start of the Grand National had already been delayed by the presence of animal rights protesters on the course near the first fence. Consequently, many of the thirty jockeys who sent off steadfastly resisted attempts by officials, and by the crowd, to stop the race; some of them pulled up at the end of the first circuit, but others went out into the country for a second time and seven completed the course.

‘Victory’ went to Esha Ness, trained by Jenny Pitman and ridden by John White, who beat Cahervillahow, Romany King and The Committee in what would have been the second fastest time in Grand National history. However, even as he was calling the runners home, O’Sullevan referred to ‘the race that surely never was’. He was right because, following a lengthy enquiry, the stewards had little choice but to declare the race void and it was never re-run.