Saturday, 10 April 2010


I put a bet on the Grand National today for the first time in my life. I put a fiver on Nina Carberry and Character Building to win this most famous of horse races. I'd love to tell you it's because I'm such a feminist that I like to support my fellow women in their endeavours, but it was really because it was a childhood dream of mine to be the first woman to win the Grand National.

In fact I think I still harbour a slight belief that this will happen despite not having ridden a horse for nigh on 20 years and not being a jockey. I blame it on an over-active imagination and a childhood obsession with the movie (and to a lesser extent the book) National Velvet. Seeing Elizabeth Taylor and The Pie romp home in glorious movie star Technicolor definitely put such a notion firmly in my head. The fact that I must have watched that film about twenty times in childhood simply cemented this slightly bizarre ambition.

Fast forward a few years and other things overtook my childhood obsession with horses and Channel 4 stopped showing this movie every other week. In fact, the last time I saw it was under a pre-med just before having my gallbladder removed and it made absolutely no sense in my doped up stupor and spoiled it slightly for me. But when the National rolls round each year and a female jockey is due to ride, I am always mentally backing her to win even if she's riding the 3 legged Shetland Pony at the back.

Nina Carberry came in a most respectable seventh today. My short lived career as a gambler is over and I'm secretly pleased that someone else hasn't fulfilled my childhood ambition before me yet...

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