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Longsdon expects public to latch on to National hope Snow Leopardess

The prospect of a grey mare winging her way over the Grand National fences is set to capture the racing world’s attention at Aintree on April 9.

Twelve months on from Rachael Blackmore making history with Minella Times, this year’s race could be remembered for exploits of an equine nature.

Trained by Charlie Longsdon, Snow Leopardess has already enjoyed Aintree success, winning the Becher Chase in December. She has Cheltenham form, too, having been fourth to Gold Cup contender Galvin in March last year.

The 10-year-old was in action at Exeter on Sunday, and all roads now lead to Liverpool.

Snow Leopardess powers over the National fences in the Becher Chase
Snow Leopardess powers over the National fences in the Becher Chase (Tim Goode/PA)

Her story is one that could even reach Aldaniti levels, as she gave birth to a foal in a two-year absence from the track.

While not strictly guaranteed a run at this stage, it is almost certain she will be at the start line come the big day.

Longsdon said: “You certainly hope to get in being number 57 on the list as it is normally about 70-odd that gets in.

“We’ve got to keep our fingers crossed, but it is all very exciting. Running off 10st 3lb would be some weight, but it won’t be that unfortunately. She will still be under 11st though so it will still be a nice, light weight.

“Her story with her being a mum is the sort of story I can see people really latching on to over the next couple months. I can see people over the next couple of months talking about the Grand National runner with a child.

“You only have to see on Twitter the number of people who are getting excited and getting involved. You look through all the people who message you and tweet you and it is amazing how many people do get in touch. It is all positive and we are all excited.”

He added: “She has come out of her race at Exeter fine and has been out in the field.

“It is going to be a nerve-wracking couple of months. The conditions at Exeter were horrible and really hard work. She probably had a harder race than we wanted, but the conditions made that happen.

“There is no doubt she loved those fences (in the Becher Chase). She was just idling in the Becher, so the trip will be no issue.

“We can sit back now though and prepare her for the Grand National.”

Official handicapper Martin Greenwood said: “Over the last 10 years, it has averaged out that you need to be around number 67 at the time of the weights lunch to line up in the race on the day. I would think you would be looking at horses rated in the 143 to 145 range who are likely to be the lowest-rated to get a run this year.

“I think Snow Leopardess should get a run and she will be a good runner for the race, being a mare and a grey. She is sure to be popular with the public.”

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