Please Note: Next Race meeting is Wednesday 24th April 2024

Will Venetia Williams Land a Second Grand National Winner in 2024?

Closing in on 30 years as a trainer, the fire still burns as bright as ever for Venetia Williams.

Her legendary career in training was embellished further when she won the Grade 1 Betfair Chase, courtesy of Royale Pagaille, last year, so it’s clear that Williams is still a major player in National Hunt racing. In fact, this has been here best ever season, ranking fourth in the Trainers’ Championship.
And she could add another bullet point to an already outstanding CV by claiming a second Grand National title in April.

National Express

The Grand National is a race that can be tremendously good or bad for the bottom line of the bookmakers.

Its unpredictability is familiar to those who bet on greyhounds – specifically races like the English Greyhound Derby, for which the ante-post market has favourites like Links Maverick and King Memphis at a lengthy 16/1. Such prices reflect how difficult to analyse and predict the race can be.

Sometimes, a favourite romps home and has the bookies tearing their hair out – Tiger Roll’s second win in the 2019 National as a 4/1 favourite costing the odds-makers an estimated £200 million.

But other smash-and-grab raids have them dancing with delight – the 2009 victory of Williams’ Mon Mome one such example.

The horse ticked the boxes as a nine-year-old that was well treated by the handicapper at 11st, although a couple of disappointing warm-up runs had seen Mon Mome eased to 100/1 outsider status by the bookmakers.

That meant that he largely went under the radar of punters, but Liam Treadwell – as he so often did – was able to get a tune out of Mon Mome at Aintree, with the French-bred horse responding by steaming home by a mammoth 12 lengths.

There was despair for punters and delight for the bookies, but for Williams and her team it was vindication – a win in one of the most headline-making races on British soil confirming her status as one of the most talented trainers in the sport.

French connection

Can Williams upset the odds once more in 2024 with another French horse available at 100/1?

Chambard is her most likely entry in this year’s Grand National, with an eye-catching run over the course at Aintree in December on heavy ground a reminder of his talents.

A strong field met for the Becher Handicap Chase, including Grand National veteran Coko Beach, who runs in the Glenfarlcas Cross Country this week,  and another Aintree scorer in Celebre D’Allen, but it was Chambard, prominent throughout, that would take the spoils in a fine win for David and Carol Shaw and their connections.

That victory saw Chambard’s rating soar, which in turn was accompanied by a rise in his handicap mark – subsequent disappointing runs at Chepstow and Haydock at 11st and 11st 7lb are forgivable given the horse’s profile; he has thrived at much lighter marks in the past.
Good news for his supporters: Chambard will, if he gets into the Grand National field, run off 10st 3lb – just two pounds heavier than his Becher Chase triumph in December.
The Grand National is a race with a huge bank of history, but Williams will enact another milestone of her own if she can shock the world with another 100/1 winner in the steeplechase this year.

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