Grand National: Bookies fear girl power fairytale

Last year's Grand National. Picture: Getty
Last year's Grand National. Picture: Getty
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BOOKMAKERS believe punters will go angling for Seabass to put Katie Walsh into the record books as the first female jockey to win the John Smith’s Grand National.

The combination finished third last year and the layers think there could be a public plunge on the Irish rider as she teams up again with Seabass, trained by her father, Ted.

She achieved the best ever placing by a woman in 2012 and is likely to carry plenty of an estimated £200million wagered on the Aintree spectacular, which will be watched by a world-wide television audience of an estimated 600million. The Walsh family could well hold the key to where the bulk of the money goes as the trainer also saddles Colbert Station, the mount of Tony McCoy, while his son Ruby is aboard the well-fancied On His Own for Willie Mullins.

Betfred spokesman Andrew Griffiths said: “We think public interest in the John Smith’s Grand National is as strong as ever. With half the UK adult population expected to have a flutter, we anticipate more than £200 million will be wagered on the world’s most famous race.

“Katie Walsh is aboard Seabass again, who was backed off the boards last year. If her supporters come out in force tomorrow, there is every chance she could be aboard the National favourite come the off.”

Coral go 15-8 that a member of the Walsh family wins the race.

Victory for Seabass would also cost Ladbrokes plenty, but they can sense a second triumph in the race for McCoy.

David Williams of Ladbrokes said: “A win for Katie Walsh would be the fairytale story and could cost us a small fortune.

“But the shadow of Tony McCoy and Colbert Station looms large in the betting and we suspect it could be the champion jockey who spoils Katie’s party.

“Females will go into a fluttering frenzy for Katie and Seabass but Tony McCoy is still the pied piper of the punters. They dance to his tune on the biggest day of them all.

“For the second successive year we’re happy to offer 12-1 about the Grand National favourites. It’s a wonderfully open-looking race and it’s almost impossible to predict with any confidence who will be sent off favourite.”There is usually a good story behind the National winner and William Hill also suggest it could be the Seabass tale.

William Hill’s Kate Miller said: “This is by far the biggest betting race of the whole year, and we are expecting to take around £25million on the Grand National, with our online/mobile traffic peaking at 116 bets per second.

“There is always a terrific story, but surely none would match the one that would follow a win for Seabass and Katie Walsh and a first female-ridden winner of this famous race.”