Pitman praise for Auroras Encore trainer Smith
Jenny Pitman has praised Sue Smith for her achievement in becoming only the third female in history to train a Grand National winner.
Smith trained the unfancied Auroras Encore, ridden by Scottish-born rider Ryan Mania, to the Aintree showpiece on Saturday.
Pitman became the first woman to train a National winner when Corbiere won the race in 1983, following up the achievement with Royal Athlete in 1995, while Venetia Williams trained outsider Mon Mome to the crown in 2009.
Pitman told BBC Radio Five Live: “We’ve known Sue and Harvey (her husband, former world famous showjumper Harvey Smith) for donkeys years and if ever justice was done, yesterday it was, as they so deserved this winner.
“There would not be one person in the horse industry as a whole that wouldn’t have been chuffed about the result.
“They put their heart and soul into everything they do, they’re horse people through and through.”
Harvey Smith and owner Jim Beaumont suggested that Auroras Encore could race in the Scottish National on April 20, having been beaten by just a head in last year’s race at Ayr.
However, Sue Smith feels that the two-week gap between the races may mean the outing comes too soon.
“He pulled up a relatively fresh horse. One of the owners did mention the Scottish National yesterday and Harvey might agree with them, but I’m in the middle,” she said.
“It’s very close this year.”