Cathedral dean prays for Grand National win

A SENIOR churchman has placed a £100 bet on the Grand National – on a horse called Godsmejudge.The Dean of Wakefield Cathedral, West Yorks, will earn £1,350 towards the roof fund if the horse’s performance is as divine as its name.

The Very Reverend Jonathan Greener walked into a betting shop opposite the cathedral on Wednesday and personally placed the £50 each way bet.

Although the big race favourite is Shutthefrontdoor with 7/1, Godsmejudge remains a strong contender at 20/1 and is a previous winner of the Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

Godsmejudge is reported by top trainer Alan King to be in great form heading into the race.

Dean Greener admitted that it was his first ever bet, and said that the furthest his luck had run in the past was to winning a bottle of wine at a local raffle.

The Cathedral Dean has placed the charity bet in aid of the restoration project
The Cathedral Dean has placed the charity bet in aid of the restoration project


He also noted that gambling has been a contentious issue in his congregation for some time, as two betting shops had opened up opposite the cathedral.

But he said it would be hypocritical for him to condemn the bookies, as the cathedral accepted restoration grants from the National Lottery Funds.

He said he had “never been a betting man before” and that this wager had “raised a few eyebrows.”

But he explained: “Of course we want people to bet in moderation and for fun, as we’ve seen the damage of addiction.”

He said he was praying for “a safe outcome for all horses and riders” but that he was “hoping that ours comes in first” and admitted that his holy duties on Saturday would not stop him from keeping tabs on the race on his phone.

Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said: “We had to check it wasn’t an April Fools when the Cathedral approached us with the suggestion.

“A bit of divine intervention might be required at Aintree but the horse has a solid chance. Godsmejudge will be a popular local bet in Wakefield so if he does win we’ll have to borrow some vergers and sidespeople from the Cathedral to help us pay out the happy congregation.”

The Very Rev Greener appeared in a BBC 4 documentary called Cathedrals in November 2013 which focused on renovations to cathedrals.

Wakefield Cathedral was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

The current building dates from 1329 and at 247ft has the tallest spire in Yorkshire.