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Michael Taylor 2nd Apr 2009 - 13:00

Racing Reverend has the bookies praying for mercy

The Racing Reverend Fiona Sample has swapped the good book for the form book this week and is hoping for divine inspiration in order to back the winner of the 40-runner Grand National on Saturday.

53-year-old Reverend Sample has ridden horses all of her life, and is keen to revive the celebrated tradition of the sporting vicar. A dedicated follower of Racing, her love of the sport was cemented when she married ex-jockey Charlie, who presented her with her own racehorse The Reverend to celebrate her ordination last June.

Her faith in the chaser was repaid on Sunday when the nine-year-old soared home at Kelso racecourse making it a grand start to National week for the Cleric from Scots Leap, Northumberland.

Determined to stay loyal to her faith Reverend Sample has hit bookies William Hill with a rousing £250 each-way bet on 12/1 second-favourite Rambling Minster - trained locally by Keith Reveley and ridden by son James Reveley in his first mount in the National.

Reverend Sample, proclaimed, ‘’A safe bet is an irresistible opportunity, and particularly when I can give the proceed's to such a worthwhile organisation like Christian Aid. The Church of England is a wide establishment involved in many walks of life, and I feel my pursuits reflect that tolerant attitude.’’

David Hood, from William Hill, said "Religion and racing go back a long way, indeed the basis of Steeplechasing originates from farmers and landed gentry racing between two Parish Steeples. We'll be looking to the heavens for a merciful result on Saturday, but, if the Reverend’s horse doesn't oblige, we will donate her stakes to the charity in the hope that it buys us some forgiveness."

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