Parents win £500 after toddler picks Grand National winner

Steve Rudkin with his daughter Valentina, 20 months
Steve Rudkin with his daughter Valentina, 20 months
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A TODDLER has proved herself to be a hot racing tipster after helping her parents win more than £500 on the Grand National.

Steve and Clare Rudkin called on their daughter Valentina to choose a horse for them to back during Saturday’s high-profile race at Aintree.

They laid a newspaper out in front of the 20-month-old who pointed to Neptune Collonges three times shouting out “pick, pick, pick”.

Despite her dad’s reservations, the family went with Valentina’s choice and were stunned when the horse stormed to victory, beating Sunnyhillboy by a nose.

Steve, 42, of Forest Gardens. Stamford, said: “I think we scared Valentine half to death by cheering so much when the horse came in, but she knows she did something right.

“I don’t usually follow horse racing but I always have a bet on the Grand National. I usually have a look at the horses’ form and their odds, but this year we decided to let Valentina choose.”

In last week’s Mercury, racing tipster Kevan Minter, of Stamford, gave his predictions for the race. At the time Neptune Collonges had odds of 25-1 and Kevan, known as The Colonel, said: “It’s 51 years since a grey horse won the National. Likely to be 52 soon.”

Steve said: “When we read about the horse’s history, I wanted to change it, but Clare said we would regret it if we did so we stuck with Valentina’s choice.”

The couple placed a £10 bet on the horse each way at odds of 40-1 and settled into a pub on a day out in Oxford to watch the race.

The family won £520 and enjoyed a meal at Pizza Express to celebrate. Valentina will also be getting a new chest of drawers for her bedroom.

Hoping to cash in even more on his daughter’s fortune, Steve got her to kiss his syndicate’s National Lottery ticket for good luck on Saturday evening before she went to bed.

He said: “When her first number came up I thought great, no work on Monday. Unfortunately none of the other numbers came out.”

But despite Valentina having no luck on the lottery, Clare, 33, and Steve are planning to call on her expertise for horse racing tips in the future.