Women trainers over the jumps
Whistlejacket on successful women jumps trainers and how they can offer some betting value
As I wrote in my earlier article about women trainers on the Flat, there are more well-known women trainers over jumps.
The Grand National is the most high-profile race by far in the UK (perhaps even the world) and three women trainers have won the prize since 2009.
Venetia Williams won it with Mon Mome in 2009 at 100/1. It has always amazed me how she hasn’t attracted top owners and championship horses after showing she could do the business with Teeton Mill winning the Hennessy and King George over twenty years ago.
I know she’s tucked away in Herefordshire and people see her as a soft ground handicap chaser specialist but make no mistake, she is a serious trainer.
As a punter, I follow her when her horses hit form, not least because her horses still go off bigger than they should. Sadly, she has also lost some of her horses in recent years, Yala Enki and Enola Gay to other trainers and the great Houblon des Obeaux to injury.
Sue Smith and Lucinda Russell are the other two female trainers to have won the Grand National in recent years. They are very consistent trainers who are regularly in the top twenty of trainers nationally and are contenders to be top Northern trainers.
However, the Queen of Aintree and the trainer who impinged on the national consciousness perhaps more than any other trainer, was Jenny Pitman. Twice a National winner with Corbiere and Royal Athlete, she also trained two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners in the shape of Burrough Hill Lad and Garrison Savannah.
Never backward in coming forward, her exchanges with Des Lynam at Aintree each spring were the stuff of TV Legend.
Jessie Harrington (pictured) was featured in my flat trainer piece but she has a stellar record over jumps. The champion horses are almost too numerous to mention.
The great Moscow Flyer, the best two miler in a generation of crack two milers, Jezki, a Champion Hurdle winner, Sizing John, the Gold Cup winner of 2017, Our Duke, the winner of the Irish Grand National and Supasundae, a perennial favourite at the Cheltenham Festival.
She did not get her training permit until she was over 40, but even so has been able to win just about all the top races and has enjoyed seven victories at the Cheltenham Festival.
Again, to my eyes, many of her horses go off at a bigger price than they should and can represent value against those from the yards of Elliott and Mullins.
It should be clear from this that the last forty years have seen a number of women trainers establish themselves so that, in contrast to the Flat, it is quite common for them to carry off the big prizes.
I haven’t even mentioned in any detail Henrietta Knight, trainer of the three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Best Mate, amongst others and in the current roster of trainers Rebecca Curtis and Amy Murphy have both shown they can train top jumps horses.
The only thing is that the really expensive purchases, the £400,000 winner of an Irish point to point, which then goes on to be a Grade 1 horse, don’t seem to end up often in the yard of a female trainer. Until that happens, there is still some way to go.
♦ Whither the women trainers on the Flat? http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-40k