Rachael Blackmore continued to cement her reputation as one of the best jockeys in horse racing and made history in the process by becoming the first woman to win the prestigious Grand National race at Aintree on Saturday.
Coming in at odds of 11/1, Blackmore was third favourite with most bookmakers, largely due to their stunning success at the Cheltenham Festival last month, where she secured five wins, including two on the first day.
Maintaining a forward position for the majority of the course, Blackmore bided her time to overtake Waley-Cohen’s 80/1 Jett, which remained ahead of the rest of the runners by at least eight lengths for a significant portion of the race.
Meanwhile, 9/2 favourite Cloth Cap, ridden by Tom Scudamore of the famous horse racing Scudamore family, stayed in a strong position for much of the meeting, but was eventually pulled up.
After taking over from Jett, Blackmore and Minella Times competed fiercely with stablemate Balko Des Flos as well as Any Second Now and Burrows Saint, trained by experienced veterans T M Walsh and H P Mullins respectively, before snatching the lead and the victory.
“It doesn’t matter what you are, we’re jockeys, we win races and it’s just a privilege to be here,” she said to ITV. “I’m speechless. It’s incredible, I can’t believe we’ve just won the Champion Hurdle.”
Described by the BBC as a ‘modest trailblazer,’ she clearly couldn’t stop the excitement of the moment getting the better of her as she raised her fist in triumph after passing the final hurdle.
“I don’t feel male or female right now. I don’t even feel human,” Blackmore added. “This is just unbelievable.”
“The only sadness,” remarked the Racing TV commentators, “is that there isn’t a gutural, throaty road from the Aintree crowd here to greet her, because this is such a huge moment.
“We’ve come to Grand Nationals expecting, hoping, willing, wishing, that one of the very select handful of female riders can do it and really make that huge impact.
“In truth, she’s done this having already made the impact, having already made a massive splash in the sport, but to the wider world, this will be the result that they’ll be looking at to hopefully open the floodgates.”
The jockey’s victory was almost foreshadowed by Katie Walsh, who in a promotional video for Betway remarked that ‘one day a woman will cross the line’ at the iconic race.
Blackmore and Minella Time’s trainer, H De Bromhead, also enjoyed a successful weekend, not only claiming the Grand National but also securing second with the aforementioned Balko Des Flos, coming in at a huge 100/1.
As with Cheltenham, Irish trainers and jockeys dominated the event, with 50/1 Blacklion finishing the highest out of all the British runners in the 40 horse race in sixth place, trained and ridden by English father and son team Dan and Harry Skelton.
Source – Racing TV YouTube Channel