Can Venetia bring home the goods in next week’s National?
Venetia Williams pulled off one of the greatest shocks in the history of the Grand National with her charge Mon Mome in 2009. The horse was a 100/1 outsider, but put forward one of the most memorable performances in National history to take the world’s greatest steeplechase, matching the likes of Foinavon to win the prestigious race with such lengthy odds. Williams has not yet managed to follow up on her success, and she is fresh off a busy period at the Cheltenham Festival, where her 11 runners enjoyed mixed success, the best being Pink Legend’s 5 1/2l third to Impervious in the Mares chase and Royal Pagaille’s 9l 6th place behind Galopin des Champs.
Arguably WilliamsÔÇÖ best horse LÔÇÖHomme Presse was a solid contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the start of the season, but injury forced him to withdraw. One of her leading fancies for the week, Fontaine Collonges, was pulled up in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase. She will be hopeful of better fortunes in the National, and she does have a couple of intriguing competitors who could challenge for top honours.
If want to place a bet on the Grand National online, Quick Wave has value odds of 25/1 to win the race for Williams. Those odds rank her in the top 10 leading lights, although as Mon Mome proved in 2009, those predictions can be blown out of the water.
Quick Wave has an excellent pedigree and has proved her worth throughout the 2022/23 National Hunt season. The French-bred produced a fine performance in the London National at Sandown Park in her first race of the season. She was a slight outsider at odds at 11/2, but ran out a comfortable winner by four lengths with stable jockey Charlie Deutsch in the saddle.
Quick Wave was installed as the favourite for the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow after her win. However, she failed to live up to the billing and was pulled by Deutsch five fences from home.
The bay mare did lose a shoe during the race, which may have resulted in an off-colour display. She proved a point on her return to the track at Haydock Park in the Grand National Trial as Harry Bannister steered his charge to a narrow victory over Snow Leopardess, proving that Quick Wave will be a fierce competitor for the top spot.
DonÔÇÖt sleep on Royale Pagaille, despite defeat in the Gold Cup. WilliamsÔÇÖ charge was an outsider in the blue riband having lost out at the hands of Bravemansgame in the King George VI Chase in December at Haydock Park. He put forward a decent effort in the Gold Cup and was in contention when it counted, but did not have the pace to compete with Galopin Des Champs when it mattered most.
A wonderful run by ROYALE PAGAILLE yesterday giving lumps of weight away to win the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock for the second year running. ƒÅçPhoto: Racing Post https://t.co/SZBU3d1cgN pic.twitter.com/uHzHFC7yDM
— Venetia Williams (@VenetiaWRacing) January 23, 2022
Williams may opt to push her charge over a longer distance where greater emphasis will be placed on his jumping and stamina rather than outright speed. Two of the best performances of his career have come in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase where he competed over three miles and stormed to success in 2021 and 2022, including a 16-length triumph in his first appearance. The four miles of the National at Aintree might just suit him, and at odds of 40/1, he could be in line for a surprise triumph for Williams.
It has been 14 years since Williams won the Grand National, but with these two competitors she stands a solid chance of being in running at the climax of our most famous race.