MUM’S the word in this year’s Grand National – as bookies fear a huge payout over the horse the whole country is getting behind.
Incredible mare Snow Leopardess will be the horse the whole nation cheers on at 5.15pm on Saturday.
And how could they not? Her story is the stuff of sporting miracle… and she hasn’t even won yet!
Snow Leopardess suffered a severe leg injury in 2017 that looked a career-ender.
During her time in recovery she had a baby, then came back from 794 days off to not only run again but win again.
In fact, her last victory came over the National fences at Aintree last December.
Now, this weekend, she will attempt to make history in a number of ways.
The Charlie Longsdon-trained ten-year-old will aim to become the first mare in history to have a foal and go onto win the Grand National.
She will aim to become the first mare to win the world’s most famous race since Nickel Coin in 1951.
And she will aim to become only the fourth grey – everyone loves a grey – to pass the post first since the race was first run in 1839.
Oh yeah, and there is the small matter of £500,000 for first and sporting immortality.
BOOKIES SWEATING OVER HUGE WINNER
With everyone wanting her to succeed and backing her financially it’s no wonder bookies are terrified of her winning.
Already victory would be the second-worst result for Ladbrokes, as they admitted the massive gamble is well and truly on.
Only Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work, who ruined Tiger Roll’s fairytale farewell at Cheltenham Festival last month, has taken more cash.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “This year we think Snow Leopardess will be the public horse.
“Ticking boxes such as being grey, a mare, having a good name, along with a heart-warming tale to boot.
“Delta Work is the biggest ante post mover and liability right now, but the Charlie Longsdon-trained co-favourite is expected to fly ahead in the popularity stakes come the day.”
FAN FAVOURITE MAY GO OFF FAVOURITE
Betfair’s Barry Orr reckons Snow Leopardess, already as short as 7-1 with some firms, could be much shorter before the off.
He said: “Snow Leopardess has been one of our best backed horses and could potentially go off favourite come Saturday.”
It is easy to get caught up in all the hoopla that comes with the National, but Snow Leopardess’ 80-year-old owner Marietta Fox-Pitt isn’t exactly one for sentiment.
She has been with Snow Leopardess all the way from birth.
And speaking of her being a mum and winning the National, Mariette told the Mail: “I wasn’t any different after I had children so why should Snow Leopardess be!”
Oxford-based Longsdon, who would come close to eclipsing his entire season’s earnings of £506,028 with victory in the big one, summed up the pair’s relationship well.
CAREER OVER TO NATIONAL WINNER?
He said: “Any horse coming from the Fox-Pitts is always going to be a character.
“What (that family) haven’t done in the equestrian world isn’t worth doing.
“We’ve been on a massive rollercoaster with her the whole way through. When she got her leg injuries I honestly thought her racing career was over.
“She will relish the trip. My only worry is the speed at the start and is she quick enough to get into a nice handy prominent position?”
Well, with the whole racecourse and everyone at home almost guaranteed to be roaring her on, let’s hope Snow Leopardess can make everyone else simply melt away.