Mother and daughter double act fit for the movies…Georgie Howell trained Sub Lieutenant will take part in the Grand National at Aintree ridden by her daughter Tabitha Worsley
- The Georgie Howell trained Sub Lieutenant will take part in the Grand National
- Should Sub Lieutenant win it will be Howell’s first success as a permit holder
- Sub Lieutenant will be ridden by Howell’s 26-year-old daughter Tabitha Worsley
Georgie Howell sums up the Randox Grand National challenge of Sub Lieutenant perfectly when she says, ‘It’s very National Velvet! You never believe these things are going to happen.’
Howell references the 1944 MGM movie when schoolgirl Velvet Brown, played by Elizabeth Taylor, prepares a wild but talented horse for the world’s best-known steeplechase aided by Mickey Rooney’s washed-up former jockey.
The script Howell is working to is less outlandish but still unlikely.
Georgie Howell will hope that her horse Sub Lieutenant can impress during the Grand National
For one if Sub Lieutenant could win it would be Howell’s first ever success as a Permit Holder meaning she can only train her own horses, something she does alongside running an engineering business.
The 12-year-old is the stand-out talent at Howell’s Worcestershire stable with six moderate stablemates in training.
To complete the story, Sub Lieutenant will be ridden by Howell’s 26-year-old jockey daughter Tabitha Worsley.
Facing them are the most successful trainers and jockeys in Britain and Ireland but outsider Sub Lieutenant cannot be written off.
When he was previously trained by Gordon Elliott, Sub Lieutenant mixed it with some of the best, twice winning at grade two level and finishing second to Un de Sceaux in the Ryanair Chase at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.
He also finished a staying-on second in the 2019 Topham Trophy, the shorter race over the famous fences at the Grand National meeting.
Howell, who paid £50,000 for the gelding in September last year, said: ‘We normally buy very ordinary, cheap horses we can have fun with that I can ride. I said we need to buy ourselves a better horse so Tabitha gets to ride in some better races.
‘We were never thinking of the National in a million years.’
Since joining his new stable Sub Lieutenant has run twice at Ascot, finishing fourth both times most recently behind Captain Chaos in February.
Sub Lieutenant will be ridden by Howell’s daughter Tabitha Worsley on Saturday afternoon
Worsley added: ‘We were delighted with both runs. In the second one he stayed on after being was flat out all the way. The 4m 2f of the Grand National looks tailor-made for him.
Sub Lieutenant has shown good form over the Aintree fences but Worsley can boast a 100 per cent record. When still an amateur jockey she won the 2019 Foxhunters’ Chase on Kelly Morgan-trained Top Wood.
The focus afterwards was on her recovery from injury having suffered displaced fractures to her T11 and T12 vertebrae, requiring surgeons to insert six pins and three metal rods to put her back together again.’
Her mother said: ‘I am proud of what she has done but I absolutely hate it. You support your children doing what they love but it can be pretty horrific watching. Broken collar bones, her broken back and she likes to knock herself out as well. It is pretty awful.’