Grand National 2021: Rachael Blackmore makes history as first female jockey to win on Minella Times

Blackmore was top jockey at Cheltenham Festival before going on to steer Minella Times to glory at Aintree

Rachael Blackmore celebrates winning on Minella Times, the Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Getty Images)

Rachael Blackmore has become the first ever female jockey to win the Randox Grand National.

In a historic moment, the Irish rider rode Minella Times to victory at the Aintree Course on Saturday.

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Pundits described Blackmore’s win as “one of the greatest moments in the sport”.

She was the leading jockey at Cheltenham Festival three weeks ago - where she won the Champion Hurdle - before triumphing in the world’s greatest steeplechase.

Blackmore, 31, said: “I just cannot believe it… I am so lucky to be riding him and I just can’t believe we have won the Grand National!”

The writing was on the wall when she took Minella Times into the lead before the final fence, although she had to keep the Henry de Bromhead-trained eight-year-old up to his work as the famous Elbow approached.

Blackmore and Minella Times (11-1) were not for stopping, though, and galloped into racing folklore to win in the colours of JP McManus.

Balko Des Flos (100-1), ridden by Aidan Coleman, was second to give De Bromhead an incredible one-two.

Any Second Now (15-2) was third, with Burrows Saint (9-1) fourth and Farclas (16-1) fifth, as Irish-trained horses filled all those places.

‘Unbelievable’

Blackmore told ITV Racing: “I just cannot believe it. He was an absolutely sensational spin.

“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.

Blackmore added: “He was just incredible, he jumped beautifully.

“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.”

‘She was just brilliant’

A delighted De Bromhead, who also trained the first two home in last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, made clear his admiration for Blackmore.

“She’s brilliant, isn’t she?” he said.

“Aren’t we so lucky to have her? They broke the mould after her – she’s brilliant.”

So too was Minella Times, who had six and a half lengths to spare from his stablemate – with another length and three-quarters to Any Second Now and then a long gap to Burrows Saint.

The County Waterford trainer added: “It’s just brilliant. It’s down to Rachael, obviously.

“She was brilliant going into today, I’m delighted … amazing, super ride.

“She hardly left the rail, she was just brilliant on him. It was brilliant to get it for the McManuses.

“I’m over the moon – Balko was super as well. Aidan was super on him, he ran an absolute cracker as well.

“It feels amazing, it really does. It’s incredible, stuff you dream of. I’ve been watching (this race) since I was a kid.

“It’s amazing. I’m just so lucky.”