Who is Rachael Blackmore? Meet the first female winner of the Grand National

The jockey stormed to victory at Aintree to continue a historic year after dominating Cheltenham Festival

Jamie Braidwood
Saturday 10 April 2021 18:00
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Rachael Blackmore celebrates winning the Grand National
Rachael Blackmore celebrates winning the Grand National

Rachael Blackmore created history by becoming the first woman to win the Grand National with Minella Times.

The 31-year-old took her sensational form in 2021 into Aintree with six wins at the Cheltenham Festival last month, which ensured she became the first woman to land the leading jockey prize.

She also became the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle and finished second in the Gold Cup.

It was also a one-two for Henry De Bromhead, who continued his prolific partnership with Blackmore, who praised Minella Times for a superb ride: “I cannot believe it. He was a sensational spin. I’m so lucky to be riding. It is unbelievable. He was just incredible and jumped beautifully. I tried to wait as long as I could. When I jumped the last and asked him for a bit, he was there.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the queen of racing right now.

Who is Rachael Blackmore?

She has been described as the “reluctant heroine” of horse racing and was recently hailed as the “Queen of Cheltenham”, but Blackmore’s journey to the top of the sport has been unexpected.

The daughter of a dairy farmer and a school teacher, Blackmore hails from County Tipperary in the south of Ireland.

Her father, Charles, bred horses and she grew up riding horses on a farm in Mortlestown Castle. She got her first horse, Bubbles, at the age of seven.

Blackmore started racing by competing in pony racing competitions but was truly “bitten by the racing bug” at the age of 13.

After graduating from the University of Limerick with a degree in equine science, she turned professional in 2015. She got her big breakthrough in 2019 when she finished the season with 90 winners, including her first win at the Cheltenham Festival.

What horse did she ride?

Blackmore rode Minella Times in the Grand National.

The horse is trained by Henry de Bromhead, the Irishman who trained the winner of the Gold Cup, Minella Indo, back in March.

Blackmore rode De Bromhead’s Honeysuckle and A Plus Tard during the Cheltenham Festival. She had the option of riding Minella Indo in the Gold Cup, but opted for runner-up A Plus Tard.

What were the odds?

Minella Times was 10-1 ahead of the Grand National and was among the favourites ahead of the big race.

What did Blackmore have to say?

“I just cannot believe it. He was an absolutely sensational spin,” she said afterwards.

“What Henry de Bromhead does with these horses, I don’t know! I’m so lucky to be riding them, I just cannot believe I’m after winning the Grand National. This is unbelievable.”

Blackmore was full of praise for Minella Times, one of seven horses in the race owned by JP McManus - among them Any Second Now.

“He was just incredible, he jumped beautifully,” she added. “I was trying to wait for as long as I could - when we jumped the last and I asked him for a bit, he was there. It’s just incredible.

“I don’t feel male or female right now - I don’t even feel human. This is just unbelievable.”

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