With less than three weeks’ to go before the Randox Health Grand National, we’re really starting to feel the excitement!
Those who’ve ridden over the famous fences at Aintree never forget it. The most successful female jockey of all time, Katie Walsh, shares her memories of Seabass in the 2012 Grand National, when she came third.
I remember every single bit of it. You don’t forget things like that.
It was a fantastic time and I had some brilliant months in the lead up to it. I won a couple of good races in the build up to the Grand National.
And for Seabass to be the horse that I rode that day, made it all the more magical. This is definitely at the top of my list.
He’d been trained by my father and we’ve been involved with horses for so long that we know how hard it is to have a horse for the Grand National – things can change every day. It’s like someone saying, “I’m going to be President.” That’s how slim the chances are for it to all work out, so I really appreciate how lucky we were to be there.
Seabass is a gorgeous horse and I absolutely love him.
The biggest difficulty we had was keeping him sound. Seabass was a lovely horse but he wasn’t the easiest to keep sound. You see that a lot in elite athletes – sometimes it’s just incredibly difficult to stay fit. And to be in with a shot of getting into the National, you have to keep a horse high enough in the handicaps so it’s constant work – you’ve got to be really careful what you do and how you treat them.
If you look back at his record, Seabass was off for a couple of seasons simply because he has legs of glass, he’s really fragile. There were many different problems over the years which had to be treated and we did a lot of swimming with him. A lot a lot of work went into minding his legs!
The actual race – I could tell you every moment. It was like a dream, the whole ride was fantastic and everything worked out super! Seabass travelled so well – it was a competitive year that year and on another he might have won.
But I was over the moon when we crossed the line in third.
It meant a lot to people that a female jockey had done so well. It featured heavily in the interviews I did afterwards and still does to be honest.
The whole family were there– Ruby wasn’t actually riding himself that day, he’d had a fall earlier. So they were all watching. We’re a pretty special unit – very close – and they were thrilled for us.
Once it was over though, I went straight into the usual routine. In fact I jumped in the car and went to Newmarket. Life goes on!
But once you’ve achieved something like that in the Grand National life does change. Off the back of it I became an Aintree ambassador which is a huge honour and something that I absolutely love.
I can’t wait for the Randox Health Grand National this year!
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