It’s the galloping nanny against the ex-schoolmistress. Lambourn trainer Lavinia Taylor’s Gingembre versus Chives, Maximize and Southern Star, all from the stable of Henrietta Knight.
Mrs Taylor was nanny to amateur rider Marcus Armytage before he won the 1990 Grand National on Mr Frisk. Now she can make her own piece of history with Gingembre.
She saddles her 2001 Scottish National winner from the historic Uplands stables where previous Aintree heroes Jay Trump and Anglo were prepared by the great Fred Winter.
Ms Knight was a biology teacher at a girls’public school before becoming a successful point-to-point trainer. After that it was onwards and upwards to the top of the National Hunt tree with Best Mate, who last month completed back-to-back wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Her trio is headed by Chives who ran his heart out against Best Mate before finishing seventh in the Gold Cup.
If Ms Knight brings off the fabulous Gold Cup-National double she will be the first trainer to do so in the same season since Fred Rimell with Royal Frolic and Rag Trade in 1976.
But Gingembre, which is the French word for ginger, is oozing class and, according to Mrs Taylor, has only completely come to himself for the first time since winning the Scottish National.
“Gingembre has had a copper deficiency most of the season as well as a respiratory problem. Now he is so well he is goose-stepping like a German soldier,” said the owner-trainer.
“He is such a show-off he will think everyone has come to Aintree just to see him. One of my worries is that he will be over confident at the first fence and end up flat on his face.”
Mrs Taylor is the eternal pessimist and admits she hardly dare think about winning the most famous race in the world.
But Gingembre has the fast ground in his favour as well as the right jockey, Andrew Thornton, who rides with a longer stirrup leather than most of his rivals. This will be Thornton’s eighth National mount.
Iris Bleu is the housewives’ choice after being chosen by seven-times champion Tony McCoy in preference to six others from the Martin Pipe all-conquering stable.
Teenage amateur rider sensation Jamie Moore is aboard another Pipe fancy, the Cheltenham winner Royal Predica.
But, in the final analysis, Gingembre should have too much class for the lot of them. Chives and Iris Bleu may fill the places.