Regardless of how you choose to view the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, the race is one that holds a special place in the hearts of many. The event started as a small race held in a pub near Aintree, but has since blossomed into a national spectacle. Read on to learn more about the event and its roots.
Despite the fact that female riders have been trying to win the Grand National for more than 40 years, no one has actually managed to win the race. The Grand National has had female competitors since 1977 and since then there have been more women competing. Some have made a name for themselves and others have tried and failed. But there are women jockeys that have made history.
The first female jockey to complete the course was Geraldine Rees in 1982. She was 26 when she finished and had been training for 12 years in Lancashire. She rode Cheers and Midday Welcome, but was unseated at the first fence. She finished fifth on Fiddlers Pike, a 100/1 shot. She was also the first to be interviewed for a feature on BBC Radio Lancashire, albeit not as far as she was concerned.
Another female jockey to make history is Rachael Blackmore. She is a trained jockey in Ireland, and is one of only three female professional jockeys in the country. She has ridden 35 winners this season in the UK, including the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. She also snared the top jockey prize at the Cheltenham Festival. She was last seen in the Irish Gold Cup, where she rode Alpha Des Obeaux.
A third female rider in the Grand National is Tabitha Worsley. She is from County Tipperary, Ireland, and has won the Foxhunters' Chase on Top Wood. She has also competed in the National twice. She will be riding Sub Lieutenant in 2021, the first year of the new course.
Another female rider in the Grand National is Katie Walsh, the daughter of Grand National-winning trainer Ted. She is also a trained jockey, and has finished in the top three on Seabass. The most recent female rider in the National is Lizzie Kelly, who rides Tea For Two in 2019.
The female riders have done their bit to prove that it is possible to be a winner in horse racing. The female jockeys that have entered the Grand National in recent years don't make the same headlines as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. The female riders of today still have to be taken seriously. But their achievements have paved the way for other female riders to succeed.
During the summer of 1968, a slew of civil disturbances popped up in the nation's big cities, many of which were the product of the civil rights movement. One of the most intriguing were the riots that erupted in Baltimore, New York, and Washington, D.C. In some cities, the mob was so bad that federal troops were sent in to put them down. In others, state militias were called in to restore rail service. The riots lasted for days, a notable exception being in Pittsburgh where law enforcement was largely stymied.
The riots were accompanied by a new set of social and economic priorities that led to an explosion of new organizations and initiatives, including the formation of the National Association of Colored Women, the National Conference of Black Men, and a host of state organizations designed to improve the lot of black Americans. Some of the more notable of these initiatives were more successful than others, most notably the African-American Student Alliance and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. However, the biggest drawback of these efforts was that they were oftentimes relegated to the minors.
The other notable noteworthy event of the summer was the creation of the Colored Farmers' Alliance, a national organization of African-American farmers which would go on to become the fulcrum of the black wing of the Civil Rights movement. The organization had as many as one million members in its early days. It is also credited with being the precursor to the National Farmers' Alliance, which was the eventual winner in the battle for the soul of the Black Belt. The group was arguably the first to advocate a more equitable share of agricultural subsidies. The association also spearheaded the creation of the National Association of Colored Women, which went on to become the nation's premier civil rights organization.
Having a second season, Jessica Harrington's Lifetime Ambition should be a strong contender for the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree on Saturday. This seven-year-old Irish novice chaser was last seen finishing runner-up to Capodanno in the Grade 1 novice chase at the Punchestown Festival last month. The runner-up was only beaten a nose by the winner Al Dancer at Ascot in the Betfair Hurdle.
Lifetime Ambition is an exciting runner with a solid mark of 151. He has won Grade 3 races in Ireland and finished second of seven in the Grade 1 Champion Novices' Chase at Punchestown. He has also shown class over larger obstacles, finishing runner-up in a graded novice chase at Limerick in March.
Lifetime Ambition travelled well at Aintree and jumped well. He was sent off as the 7-2 favourite and finished fourth of fourteen. He has the potential to improve on his step 3m handicap rating and could be a strong each-way bet.
The Grand Sefton is a Class 2 handicap over two miles and five furlongs at Aintree. It is open to horses aged six and older and features 18 fences. It is a stern test for inexperienced fencers. This is the first race of the season at Aintree. It is the first time in the history of the race that an Irish trainer has sent a horse to this race.
Lifetime Ambition has won two Grade 3 races in Ireland, including the Hugh McMahon Chase at Limerick in March. The horse has been backed by Paul Nicholls. He has run twice at this course, but hasn't finished better than last year, when he finished second behind Senior Citizen.
Senior Citizen is another of Alan King's chasers, and has run seven times since August. He finished a close second in the Grand Sefton Chase last year and he has been a fine reappearance.
Two For Gold is another horse that likes the jumping challenge and has grade 1 form in the Ascot Chase. He hasn't won since his debut in 2015, but he has run at Aintree twice. He has to carry the top weight of 12st.
Until recently, Aintree's association with the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase was mainly limited to the November meeting. However, Boylesports, who are the main sponsor, are committing to running the race for the next three seasons. That means there will be four Irish entries in the 2022 renewal.
The Grand Sefton race is a Class 2 handicap chase. This means that it's open to both sexes and the distance is 2 miles and five furlongs. The race is held at Aintree over a course that contains Grand National fences.
The course starts with an open ditch called Westhead and then continues with a series of fences called the Foinavon Fence, Becher's Brook and Valentine's Brook. The last fence on the circuit is the Water Jump.
The race is also open to runners aged six and over, and it's been held at Aintree since 2003. Last year, Mac Tottie won the race. This year, Lifetime Ambition is a runner to watch. The horse has shown good form over bigger obstacles. He has a high mark of 151. Having run over 2m3f in last season's Grand National, he could be a 9/1 shot.
Besides the Grand Sefton, Aintree hosts a number of other high-quality contests throughout the season. They include Grade 1 races such as the Betway Bowl, the Manifesto Novices' Chase and the Aintree Hurdle. There are also Grade 2 races such as the Old Roan Chase.
Aintree is also home to the Grand National, a Grade 3 handicap chase that's held in April. It's a hugely popular event that attracts more attention than any other steeplechase. However, it's not a race to be taken lightly.
The race is held at Aintree in Liverpool. It's a race that's always been associated with the Grand Sefton, a Grade 2 chase that's run over a course that contains Grand National fences. There are also five other races held on the course during the jumps season.
It's a race that attracts more worldwide attention than any other steeplechase. It's also a hugely lucrative race. Whether you're a casual bettor or a racing purist, it's well worth a trip to Aintree.