First female Grand National winner Rachael Blackmore is backed to dominate the sport by fellow Aintree pioneer Jenny Pitman
- Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Grand National
- Jenny Pitman, the first female trainer to win the National, has praised Blackmore
- Charlotte Budd, the first female jockey to enter the race, is also a great admirer
- Sir Anthony McCoy has called Blackmore the strongest female rider he has ever seen
Rachael Blackmore was greeted by racing figures from past and present as her gigantic achievement of becoming the first female jockey to win the Grand National came in.
The modest 31-year-old from County Tipperary had plenty of time to reflect on her historic win at the 11-1 Minella Times when she took the ferry back to Ireland.
But it’s a fair guess that Blackmore’s feet never left the ground … or the deck.
Big names in the racing world have praised Grand National winner Rachael Blackmore
She’s the strongest female jockey I’ve seen
Sir Anthony McCoy thinks it was Rachael Blackmore’s mental strength that propelled her to the top of the jockey ranks.
Blackmore’s groundbreaking win over Minella Times in the Randox Grand National meant the result of the race’s biggest steeplechase caught global attention when 20-time champion McCoy took his Grand National victory over Don’t Push It in 2010.
McCoy said, “Rachael is so tactically aware, but also very tough physically and mentally. The strongest I’ve ever seen in a female jump jockey.
(Trainer) Henry De Bromhead said he wasn’t offering her a job, she was driving it.
She put him in a position where he couldn’t use her. That is its merit.
‘She has a good mind. Whether you are an athlete or a horse, a good mind is everything. You have to have a mindset that is a little bit different.
‘She’s very down to earth. Being like that is one of the most important things.
It’s an old saying that you should never drop any praise or criticism on you – it’s a weakness.
‘You have to be above it. That’s such a big thing in today’s social media world.
Frankie Dettori is the biggest name in the sport and he always will be because he’s brilliant in and out of the saddle.
Rachael is more in the form of Ryan Moore. He doesn’t care what anyone says or writes about him as long as he rides on the winners.
Rachael is the same – she lets her drive do the talking.
“It was great to race and brilliant for Rachael.”
In the seconds after crossing the finish line, Blackmore, who was top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival with six wins, seemed almost overwhelmed by what she had accomplished, saying, ‘I don’t feel masculine or feminine – I don’t feel that your human! ‘
But moments like that are rare with Blackmore, who was a latecomer to the upper echelons of the jockey ranks but now appears to be born to become a champion.
Jenny Pitman, the first female trainer to win the world’s most famous steeplechase with Corbiere in 1983, believes Blackmore is a special talent.
Asked if she would have been happy to have Blackmore as a jockey, she said, ‘I wouldn’t even think about it – she’s so smart and aware.
“I’d say I’m at the top of her admirers list, but there are so many people fighting for that place! She is very well balanced and just as good a jockey as you would see anywhere else.
‘I watched her closely at the Cheltenham Festival. She’s so tactically aware of what’s going on around her. I thought then, “You’re a cool cookie”.
‘She reads a race so well and sees what will happen when she is driving. She’s not crawling in the mud and trying to dig herself out – she’s making sure she doesn’t get in the mud at all. ‘
Pitman, who also won the Grand National with Royal Athlete in 1995, enjoyed the way Blackmore mapped out a path close to the inner rail, something she loved to do with jockeys on her National runners.
She said, “Brave jockeys are going in and I was delighted that she was walking the route. It is surprising how much ground it saves. ‘
Charlotte Budd was the first female jockey to ride in the Grand National in 1977 when she shot along with 200-1 Barony Fort, who declined at the 27th fence.
Budd, who was Miss Charlotte Brew when she rode the National, said, “Rachael is something else. Not only is she a leading jockey, she’s a “best” jockey.
‘I’ve always believed that girls are as good as men on a horse and that they sometimes have different qualities.
‘With Rachael Blackmore in particular, you can see how horses react to her riding. She’s only 9 – she’s not a tall, strong person. It just goes to show that being a big, strong man isn’t the best at a jockey. ‘
Eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore said, “I really think Rachael is one of the best jockeys I’ve ever seen. She kind of reminds me of John Francome in the position she takes over a fence.
“Positional riding and technique are so important and Rachael has it all. Jockeys like AP McCoy and Lester Piggott were so unique in their riding, but if you were showing young horses how to ride racehorses, you would use Rachael Blackmore as an example. ‘
Blackmore’s performance stole the headlines and eclipsed what was a stunning result for winning trainer Henry De Bromhead, who also saddled Balko Des Flos in second place.
The feat came hard on the heels of De Bromhead who trained the 1-2, Minella Indo and A Plus Tard in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, as well as winning the Champion Hurdle with Blackmore-ridden Honeysuckle and the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Put The Kettle On.
The 31-year-old jockey from County Tipperary rode to a historic triumph at the 11-1 shot Minella Times
It’s a series of results meaning De Bromhead is third in the British Trainers’ Championship.
The Grand National was another Irish-dominated affair, with sixth-seeded Blaklion the only British-trained finisher in the first eleven at home.
That followed Ireland beating Great Britain with 23 wins to five at the Cheltenham Festival.
Blackmore is currently following Paul Townend, who missed the National with a foot injury, with 10 wins in the Irish Jump Jockeys Championship. The season ends in three weeks – but is there perhaps one last turn for the new history maker of racing?