By Simon Jackson.
Kerry Lee bids to become the fourth female trainer to win the Grand National when she saddles Bishops Road in the £1million steeplechase at Aintree on April 9.
The first-season trainer has had an outstanding debut campaign after taking over the licence at her father Richard Lee’s Herefordshire yard following his retirement last year.
The rookie handler bagged her first Grade 1 victory last weekend in Ireland when Kylemore Lough won the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.
The three women to have trained a Grand National winner are Sue Smith (Auroras Encore 2013), Venetia Williams (Mon Mome 2009) and Jenny Pitman (Corbiere 1983) and (Royal Athlete 1995).
“It is all systems go towards Aintree with Bishops Road,” Lee said of the eight-year-old who is unbeaten in two starts since moving to Lee’s yard after he was bought for £32,000 at Goffs in September.
The brace of victories – a Class 3 at Sandown and the Grade 3 Betfred Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Haydock – have been on heavy ground but Lee is unperturbed by the likelihood of drier ground at Aintree.
“I have been very happy with him since Haydock Park. He has schooled over Grand National-style fences and everything is going to plan.
“I am not at all worried about ground conditions. Aintree always produces beautiful ground and I am very happy to be going there. We just need nine horses to come out.
“Jamie Moore is working his socks off to get back [from injury] in time for Aintree and I am quite confident that he will be.”
Bishops Road has been allotted 10st 3lb for the four miles, two furlongs and 74 yards contest where he is best-priced at 33-1.
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