News and STORIES
Rachael Blackmore Makes Grand National History On Board Minella Times
Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Monday April 12, 2021
Back at the beginning of March, the reputation of British and Irish racing had taken a hit following the Gordon Elliott scandal. It was in dire need of a positive news story to turn the tide, and that is exactly what transpired at the Cheltenham Festival. Rachael Blackmore made history by becoming the first female jockey to finish the meeting as a top jockey and making history now comes as second nature.
However, it’s unlikely that she will ever have a bigger moment than the one that she savored on Saturday afternoon, as Blackmore rode Minella Times to Grand National glory, and in doing so, became the first female jockey to win the world’s most famous race.
History For Blackmore
Minella Times was set off for the National at a price of 11/1 with many of the leading sportsbooks and was looking to finally show that women are not just equal to their male counterparts on the saddle but superior. Blackmore’s last couple of months have done wonders for the sport, but her success on Saturday afternoon was just what racing needed. All eyes of the world were on Aintree on Saturday, and Blackmore delivered a masterclass to navigate the field before making the charge for home and never looking back.
Blackmore’s success is an achievable one for any little girl tuning in to watch the racing. She wasn’t born into the industry and needed to work harder than more to get to where she is right now- at the top of the mountain. She was born in Killenaule, County Tipperary, and rode ponies after becoming influenced by the 1944 film National Velvet.
She later turned professional in 2015. The success that she has achieved over the past couple of months would be no surprise to the Irish, where she has been a growing presence in the Irish Jockeys’ Championship over the past couple of seasons. This time she could be on course to win the championship for the first time.
Training Dominance By De Bromhead
While Blackmore rightly gets all the plaudits for breaking new ground, it’s also worth noting that Grand National success was yet another winner for Henry De Bromhead. The Irish trainer made history at the Cheltenham Festival in March by winning the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, and Cheltenham Gold Cup. He got the first two past the post in the blue riband event, and that was the case once again in the Grand National.
As well as Minella Times, De Bromhead also trained 100/1 shot Balko Des Flos to second in the National on Saturday. It has been an unprecedented season of success for the trainer, and the same can be said for the Irish trainers. The first five home in the National were all trained in Ireland, which carried on from the success that was achieved at Cheltenham. At the Festival last month, 82% of the winners were trained in Ireland, but further dominance at the National will lead to an inquest for British trainers.
Any Second Now finished in third at 15/2, while fourth was claimed by 9/1 shot Burrows Saint and 16/1 shot Farlcas claimed fifth. Sub Lieutenant was another heartwarming story, as Tabitha Worsey completed her first National. Half of the field finished the race, with the remainder either falling, pulled up, or unseating the rider. Ante-post favorite Cloth Cap looked to be traveling well before a poor jump over the fourth from last. He lost his place in the race and was quickly pulled up.
However, this weekend was all about Blackmore. Her journey will continue to make mainstream headlines, and the sport, as a whole, is lucky to have her.