Ice-cool Lizzie Kelly relishing Grand National trip on Tea For Two
Lizzie Kelly knows it is just a matter of time before a female jockey achieves the holy grail of winning a Grand National, but it is not playing on her mind as she prepares for Aintree on Saturday.
Lizzie will partner Tea For Two in the big one, a horse with whom she has shared success before, and the 25-year-old could not sound more relaxed about her chances.
‘This is just another race and I’m going to go out and do what I am good at,’ she said. ‘If I make a mistake, who cares? And if I don’t, I could win.’
Jockey Lizzie Kelly will partner Tea For Two in the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday
Lizzie will become the 18th female jockey to ride in the race since Charlotte Brew in 1977.
Of the previous 17 only five have got round with Katie Walsh’s third place on Seabass in 2012 the best finish.
Tea For Two is owned and trained by Lizzie’s mother, Jane Williams. ‘If we just get round that would be magic. My main goal is to stay on board and finish together. It is dream land to think I could win but what is fantastic is that I am riding in my mum’s colours on a horse I adore.’
Five years ago, Lizzie was at university with the plan of pursuing a corporate job in the racing. Female jockeys riding in big races were scarce but now they are winning big races and Lizzie is central to that success.
She made history in the Kauto Star Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in 2015, becoming the first female jockey to win a Grade One over jumps in Britain. That was aboard Tea For Two.
‘I don’t feel any different as a girl and you’re not treated differently in the weighing room,’ she said.
‘I didn’t want to go down the ‘girl clan’ thing at the beginning, but it’s a radical difference from when I began 10 years ago. Women are becoming regular winners.
‘We are winning Grade Ones and to have a champion trainer in Paul Nicholls using a girl regularly (Bryony Frost) that makes a massive difference.
‘The girls have now proved enough for it to be normal for a female jockey to be taking part in big races.’
It means Lizzie will feel at home going to the start line on Saturday and even though she is a National rookie she is confident enough not to go scrabbling around for advice.
‘You can never let yourself think that you need advice from other people,’ she said.
‘You can’t ask another jockey 10 minutes before the Grand National, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ You have to be confident and I have probably got that from riding in big races.’
Lizzie Kelly is an ambassador for GB Racing’s #JockeyFit programme. Watch The Randox Health Grand National Festival live on ITV from April 4-6. For more visit www.gbraci.ng/jockeyfit