Grand National Women

Miss Charlotte Brew

Charlotte Brew may not be a well known name in racing today but back in 1977 she was the person all the commentators wanted to interview as she has the title as being the first Woman to ride in the Grand National.

Charlotte did not have an easy time getting to ride in the Grand National, it was in 1976 when the equal opportunities legislation came into force and there was to be no discrimination in the jockeys for the Grand National. The horse she rode Barony Fort qualified to run in the National by running Fourth ( last ) in the foxhunters.

Although not many people took her entry seriously Charlotte obviously did and was in training herself to get ultra fit for the race. She had a personal trainer to help her. To be fair her horse had no chance of winning the race but just to get in a clear round would have been good enough as this is a feat that many male riders don't achieve.

To both their credits they managed to avoid a pile up at the first fence and did well to get around up to the fourth last fence ( the last open ditch ) when the horse fell, especially if you consider that the remaining fences had big holes in them, however that year at least she did not have to suffer too much in the after race interviews as the winner that year was Red Rum who had won for the third time.

Geraldine Rees

Although Charlotte Brew holds the title of first woman to ride in the Grand National, the title of the first woman to complete the race goes to Geraldine Rees who landed this feat five years later in 1982. Geraldine was an eventer before she became interested in the racing game and she got her first ride in a race when she went to Carlisle on Easter Sunday with her trainer father, The jockey who was due to ride the horse could not get to the course and, as she had an amateur riders permit she got the ride on an unfancied outsider called Twidale, However she got to the front at the start and led from start to finish to win the race.

Geraldine was to get her chance in 1982 to ride in the greatest of all steeplechases when she was given the ride on Gordon's Lad , However disaster struck when the horse went lame soon before the race . Not to be outdone now, she tried to buy an entered horse at auction but she was outbid by another who wanted to have a runner in the race when a previous finisher (all be it a last placed horse ) went up for sale. Just when Geraldine thought all was lost the owners who outbid her, heard of the story and did not have a jockey booked decided to book her and so the race was on again.

So Geraldine and Cheers were all set to run in the National. She did and put up a good performance and her only jumping problem came at the third where she had to hang on tight but she did so and when coming to the last well behind the rest of the field her horse jumped the last well and then having used up all his stamina faltered on the run in but kept up his work and finished a very tiered 8th and last .



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15/12/17 02:10:01