Although mares are at a physical disadvantage compared to geldings in the Grand National, that hasn’t stopped them from claiming several victories in horse racing’s most prestigious race. To date there have been 13 mares who have won the race, and this year there are two mares who have a reasonable chance of victory at the Grand National.
Shattered Love is currently priced at 25/1 in betting odds, while Baie Des Iles is at odds of 33/1. Anyone who has followed the Grand National will know that anything can happen during the race, and that given 100/1 shots have won it in the past, it’s best not to rule anyone out.
With the Grand National just around the corner, we have taken a look at the most famous victories by mares.
Two years after the first Grand National, a mare raced home to victory. The 1841 race saw 11-year-old Charity defeat the inaugural winner Lottery to claim an historic victory. She was the joint-fifth favourite, along with Seventy Four, and was some way off Lottery, who had been made the favourite at odds of 5/2.
Not only was it historic in that it was the first occasion that a mare won the race, but it was also the race that had the least number of runners, with just 11 horses starting. The race was not a handicap chase at the time and therefore all of the horses had to carry 12 stone, with the exception of Lottery, who won the 1840 Cheltenham Chase, and had to carry 13 stone 4lbs.
There were a smattering of winning mares for the remainder of the century, but the first to win in the 20th century was Shannon Lass, who won the 1902 Grand National. Although her starting price was 20/1, she managed to avoid being caught up in the fall of Inquisitor, who was joint-favourite with Drumree, at the 25th fence.
Jockey David Read managed to guide Shannon Lass home to victory, finishing three lengths clear of 50/1 shot Matthew. She finished first of 11 horses to complete the race, and was able to give owner Ambrose Gorham a great victory to celebrate.
The victory by Sheila’s Cottage was something special, in particular for jockey Arthur Thompson. Not only did Sheila’s Cottage win with a starting price of 50/1, one of the longer shots in the race, but incredibly, her jockey, Arthur Thompson, had been a prisoner of war during World War Two.
While many of the favourites fell during the course, Sheila’s Cottage managed to hold on and fend off the likes of First Of The Dandies, Cromwell, and Happy Home.
The most recent mare to have won the Grand National came in the form of Nickel Coin, who won the 1951 race. Incredibly, despite there being 36 runners, only three finished the race, just one more than the 1928 race, when 100/1 shot Tipperary Tim won it.
Nickel Coin ran at a starting price of 40/1, which was the joint-lowest among the three who finished, with Royal Tan, who finished second, also being priced at 40/1, while third placed Derrinstown ran at odds of 66/1.
Several mares have since placed in Grand Nationals, but let’s hope we see a mare win this year. Shattered Love and Baie Des Iles, this could be your moment.