Nina Carberry rode her first winner over the Grand National fences – following two previous placed finishes – in the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase on Wednesday 9th April 2015.
The Fox Hunters’ Chase was first run back in 1923 and used to be over the full Grand National course but was reduced in distance in 1949 to encourage more runners to take part – however the jumps are the same size in both races!
This, along with the Cheltenham Fox Hunters race, is the highlight of the amateur riders’ season.
In addition to her personal success, her mount, On The Fringe, became the first horse to complete the Cheltenham and Aintree Fox Hunters’ double since Double Silk in 1993, skilfully guided by Nina Carberry to a three-and-three-quarter-length victory.
Nina Carberry, who became the second lady jockey to win the Irish Grand National in 2011, said: “He really enjoyed the fences. I was a little bit on the outside so I missed the chaos at the start. I was happy all the way and I was just hoping I could jump the last two.
“He just seems to come to himself now and Enda [Bolger, trainer] has done a fabulous job to get him here in as good form as he did at Cheltenham, if not better, because he was up against better horses today. It was a very good performance.”
On The Fringe has been a leading hunter chaser in Ireland since he won Punchestown’s Champion Hunters’ Chase as a five-year-old in 2010, but until this season he had not recorded a win in Britain. He has come off the fringe and onto centre stage in 2015, and Bolger believes jockey Nina Carberry has been a factor.
Bolger said: “The ride Nina gave the horse was perfect – copybook style. She had him out of trouble, he had a nice clear path all the way round and just kicked at the elbow [on the run-in]. That was the plan last night and while they don’t always work it came off today.
“I’ve run horses here before [he won the race with Elegant Lord in 1999] and know you have to be up there out of trouble. Nina was smart at the gate and from there it was a case of hoping he stayed on his feet – it was a great bit of riding.“
The only female jockey to ride in the 2015 Grand National, Nina Carberry rode First Lieutenant for Mouse Morris and Gigginstown House Stud in the 2015 Grand National itself to come 16th.
She is the most experienced Grand National female rider, having finished the course on four of her five starts, doing best when seventh on Character Building in 2010, as well as her experiences in the Fox Hunters Chase.
Nina Carberry’s father Tommy rode the 1975 winner L’Escargot and saddled the 1999 hero Bobbyjo, ridden by her brother Paul. Their brother Philip has also twice taken part in the Crabbie’s Grand National.
Amateur rider Nina Carberry is married to Ruby Walsh’s brother Ted junior. Nina and Paul Carberry became the first brother and sister to ride in the same Grand National in 2012 and Katie and Ruby Walsh did the same in 2013.
Nina Carberry commenting on First Lieutentant’s run in the 2015 Grand National said: “The first two fences he made mistakes and that got him out of the race, which gave him no chance after that, but he jumped around grand.”
With Nina Carberry’s Fox Hunters’ success less than 24 hours old, Rose Paterson, Chairman of Aintree Racecourse announced her aim to further the opportunities for female jockeys and horseracing during the first Grand Women’s Summit held on Ladies’ Day of the Grand National Festival – Wednesday 10th April 2015 – and organised by Women in Racing.
“Aintree would like to see a female only race here in the future in order to help showcase the talent in the weighing room in the women’s ranks,” Paterson stated.