The stunning grey Snow Leopardess (4-1 fav) made history at Aintree at the weekend by becoming the first mare to win the Grade Three Becher Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences, but unless her doting breeder has a major change of heart, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see her line up in the 2022 Grand National next April.
Snow Leopardess was bred by the late Oliver Fox-Pitt and his wife Marietta, who recently transferred ownership to her son Andrew.
Speaking to raceday presenter Gordon Brown immediately after the race in the paddock, Mrs Fox-Pitt indicated that her trainer – Charlie Longsdon, would probably want to go for the National but it would be against her own better judgement.
It was quite evident from the post-race interviews that Snow Leopardess is a firm family favourite with the Fox-Pitt’s and that her breeding legacy is more important to them than another potentially risky run over the National fences.
That’s how I read the room anyway and I’d be surprised if things change, but one never knows in racing.
Snow Leopardess has already given birth to a filly by Sir Percy, who is now a two-year-old, and Longsdon said that the filly may go into training next year.
Trainer Post Win Reaction
Charlie Longsdon told the assembled reporters post-race: “She jumped beautifully and this has been the plan for a long time.
“I’m just lost for words. She’s been a very special mare for us and has won in England, Ireland and France.
“She’s had setbacks – you name it she’s had it – but there she is again, back competing with the best.
“They pulled well clear of the rest and she got lonely in front. Aidan (Coleman) said he’d have kicked himself if they’d have got beat.
“She’s a dude and a one in a lifetime for a middle-sized yard like ours.
“She was very clever all the way round – she got in a little close at Valentine’s, but she’s so quick on her feet.
“I have no idea what now – I know the owners are not sure whether to go for the Grand National but she doesn’t have to go there. Watch this space.”
How The Becher Chase Played Out
Ask for an opinion in regards to a possible Grand National challenge, her jockey Aidan Coleman deliberated: “She probably does like that softer ground but you never know how it will be in the National with the way the weather is.”
Betfair have installed the grey mare as a 25/1 shot for next year’s Aintree showpiece.
Of course, a special mention has to be given to the other runners that made the race.
Although Snow Leopardess stretched them all from the front in the 3m2f contest, it was the Sandy Thomson-trained Hill Sixteen, under Craig Nichol, who was closing her down over the final two fences.
Snow Leopardess led at the Elbow but there were only nostrils in it as they approached the line, but thankfully for connections she just held on by a diminishing nose.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Checkitout (12-1) stayed on late, but was a massive 16 lengths adrift in third with Domaine De L’Isle (66-1) coming home a further six lengths back in fourth place.