It’s now 68 years since a mare last won the Grand National. Nickel Coin came home victorious in 1951 at odds of 40/1. In the long history of the Grand National only 13 mares have won the race. But can that change this year?
The eight-year-old enjoyed a fruitful 2018 when she finished runner-up at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals. At Cheltenham, she was the half-length runner-up to Rathvinden in the four-mile National Hunt Novices’ Chase. While at Aintree she went down by just under four lengths to Terrefort in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase over 3m1f. On her one outing so far this season, Ms Parfois came home sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy Handicap Chase (formerly the Hennessy) at Newbury in December.
Honeyball said after the recent weights lunch in Liverpool: “I have had a good look at the weights and Ms Parfois is on 146, which is her actual rating. If she got in the National, the top-weight ran and the ground was suitable, you would have to think she would run well.
“She ran very well at Aintree last year when second in the G1 novices’ chase. We have just had a bit of a topsy-turvy season really and the horses were not right earlier on. It is hard to know where we are at the moment although some of them have come out and won recently.
“If we can get Ms Parfois running like she was last season, there has to be a big race in her if the ground is soft to heavy, or soft, good to soft would be fine with some rain about.
“At the moment we are looking at taking her to the Leinster National in early March and we are also looking at the Midlands National, Aintree and the Irish National for her.
“It has been very difficult as we wanted to run Ms Parfois in a mares’ race at Exeter the other day and that was abandoned. We also looked at Wincanton over the weekend but the ground was not suitable. Either of those races would have been a good baby step for her. But now she will have to go straight into the deep end in one of the big handicaps.
“The only race she would be entered in at the Cheltenham Festival is the Ultima Handicap Chase. Unfortunately that race takes place on about the only day that her owner won’t be able to go racing. Because of the season we have had, he doesn’t want to miss her when she runs.
“Ms Parfois wasn’t right when she ran in the Ladbrokes Trophy, which was a shame because that looked a golden opportunity for her. We are ready to have another go with her now and see where we are.”
Ms Parfois is bound to attract lots more attention as the race gradually draws nearer, especially among those who believe in lady luck! Do you?
If you fancy the mare’s chances in the 2019 Grand National, she is currently 33/1 with Betfair.