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Amateur Rider Looking to Outdo the Professionals at Aintree

Amateur Rider Looking to Outdo the Professionals at Aintree
Amateur Rider Looking to Outdo the Professionals at Aintree

The Grand National at Aintree has a habit of producing some fairytale storylines, and there could be another this year as amateur rider Gina Andrews is set to feature in the race. She will be taking on 33 professional jockeys when she boards Latenightpass in the marathon contest.

Andrews has had success over the Grand National fences before, as she won the Foxhunters’ Chase on Latenightpass in 2022. She will be hoping her horse can now land the £500,000 top prize in the world’s most famous steeplechase at the Liverpool venue.

Latenightpass Will Be Up Against a Strong Field

The odds for Grand National 2024 are headed by last year’s winner Corach Rambler, who is the 5/1 favourite. Latenightpass is a 25/1 outsider to cause an upset in what is a top-quality field that includes several Grade One winners.

As the horse racing results show, Latenightpass has been victorious in one of his three races so far this season. He won a cross-country chase at Cheltenham back in December. On his latest appearance, he finished fifth of 10 runners at Haydock.

Although Andrews is an amateur rider, she is not short of experience in the saddle. She rides lots of horses for leading trainer Dan Skelton, who currently leads the British Trainers’ Championship standings. 

Andrews will be bidding to become the second female jockey in history to win the race after Rachael Blackmore’s triumph in 2021 onboard Minella Times.

The Dentist Shined at Aintree in 2022

The last amateur jockey to win the Grand National was Sam Waley-Cohen in 2022. In what was his final ride in the sport, the dentist by profession landed the Aintree feature with the Irish horse Noble Yeats.

Waley-Cohen had a tremendous career as an amateur, as he also won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the King George VI Chase in 2011 with Long Run. He is the last rider to win those two races in the same season.

Noble Yeats will line up in the Grand National again this year but without Waley-Cohen. The dentist will be a keen observer at Aintree, leaving the steering to professional rider Harry Cobden.

Marcus Armytage Broke the Course Record on Mr Frisk

Although many pundits feel Andrews and Latenightpass are up against it at Aintree this year, Marcus Armytage showed in 1990 that magical things can happen at the Merseyside venue. The amateur jockey broke the course record in the race when he prevailed with Mr Frisk, completing the course in a time of 8mins 47secs.

Mr Frisk and Armytage remain the only pair to complete the Grand National in less than nine minutes, despite the race taking place over a longer distance of 4m4f back then. They were helped by fast ground at the course in 1990, but a lot of credit must go to the amateur rider for the confidence he showed in his horse.

If Andrews can add her name to the roll of honor at Aintree this weekend, it will be one of the great storylines in the 185-year history of the race.

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