CHESHIRE'S bookmakers must be cursing the Grand National.
Last April they suffered financially when Cheshire-trained Amberleigh House won the race. Now two of the favourites for this year - Amberleigh House and Forest Gunner - are from the county!
Forest Gunner proved last weekend that he has stamina to burn. Carrie Ford, the amateur rider and trainer Richard's wife, is set to come out of retirement to ride him at Aintree.
It's one of the biggest Grand National stories of the last 30 years. It will be THE biggest if the team from Tarporley win it!
As I wrote last week, only 12 women have ridden in the race since the first, Charlotte Brew, in 1977; and none for 11 years.
Forest Gunner, who has won over Liverpool's spruce fences before but over shorter distances than the four and a half miles of the Grand National, led a strong field of steeplechasers a merry dance at Haydock Park, on Saturday, in a race one mile shorter.
He's got a nice weight to carry on Saturday, April 9, and it was no surprise that several bookmakers immediately halved his price for the National to 12-1 after his latest victory, before easing it out again.
He's generally available this week at 16-1, but some bookmakers are still offering 20-1. If you want to back Forest Gunner and Carrie Ford, 20-1 could be a price worth snapping up now though of course there is always the risk that the horse might not run.
However, come the week of the Grand National, there will be not only be a Chester and Cheshire gamble on Forest Gunner but also a national one, because of Carrie Ford being in the saddle.
The next meeting at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse is on Wednesday, March 9. For more information visit www.BangorOnDeeRaces.co.uk or call 01978 780323.
The next racing at The Roodee is the May Festival. Tickets are on sale. Visit www.chester-races.co.uk or call 01244 304600 for information.