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Rachael Blackmore believes trainer Henry de Bromhead has ironed out the problems in Minella Times

Rachael Blackmore believes trainer Henry de Bromhead ironed out Minella Times problems as she aims to make history again

  • Rachael Blackmore Makes Offer to Win Grand National in Consecutive Years
  • Minella Times has struggled this season with starting the race unplanned
  • The Irish jockey became the first woman ever to win the historic race last year

Grand National hero Rachael Blackmore believes trainer Henry de Bromhead has ironed out the ‘pinching issues’ that have held back her horse Minella Times this season to give her a real shot at winning the race for the second straight year.

The first female jockey to win the iconic marathon steeplechase returns to Aintree on a mountain that has not completed the course in its two runs since, falling in Punchestown in December and then being lifted in Leopardstown in February.

He has also made a huge jump in the weights after his six and a half height win in 2021 and has a top weight of 11th 10lb compared to 10th 3lb 12 months ago.

Rachael Blackmore wants to win the Grand National in the same year as the Gold Cup

Rachael Blackmore wants to win the Grand National in the same year as the Gold Cup

If Blackmore could lead Minella Times to another win in the £1 million race, it would be the biggest weight-bearing feat since the big three-time winner Red Rum took 12th place in 1974.

Blackmore, 32, said: ‘His runs this year have been disappointing but he seems to be in really great shape now and Henry is very happy with him.

“He found some annoying problems and he solved them. I worked with him two weeks ago and he felt great. He’s one of those horses that just loves Aintree. He really enjoyed it last year and jumped from fence to fence and that must be a big plus.

“The weight is the weight and there’s no point in worrying too much about it. We are going to do our best.’

The odds may seem great if Blackmore wins again, but the global recognition she now enjoys thanks to last year’s win means bookmakers admit that in the lead-up to the race, Snow Leopardess, would be above the horse with the best back. can jump and start. favorite by the time the 40 runners face the starter.

Minella Times, Rachael Blackmore's horse, is put to the test in Aintree

Minella Times, Rachael Blackmore’s horse, is put to the test in Aintree

Blackmore’s success has been a positive shot in the arm for a sport that can struggle to extend beyond its own parish.

She entered the race last year after becoming the first woman to be crowned a top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival and at that gathering last month broke new ground when she became the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the De Bromhead trained A Plus Tard.

Blackmore is the only female jockey in today’s race, but the hope is that her 2021 win will be inspiring and that in 10 years’ time girls who have seen a female rider blast through a sporty glass ceiling will challenge rides and greater equality of gender representation among Grand National jockeys.

For Blackmore, who seems happiest away from the limelight with her family in County Tipperary, winning the Grand National meant a changed life.

She said: ‘Growing up, this is the race that captures your imagination and it’s just really special to be able to say you won it.

“There is definitely a huge global reach that the Grand National has and I really felt that after last year. It seems to reach parts of the world that other races don’t.

“If you go into any clothing store in Dublin and you’re dressed in normal clothes and someone comes up to you – that’s crazy.

“It’s one thing that people come to you at the races because you’re dressed like a jockey and people can place you, but the odd time you’re in a situation like that is something that didn’t happen 12 months ago.

“I’ve also had a lot of fan mail since last year, from both girls and boys. It’s brilliant and it’s great that it sparks interest in children and hopefully that helps them.”

For last year’s race, Blackmore made a pact with fellow jockeys Patrick Mullins and Brian Hayes, who is her partner, that if one of them won, they would pay for the other two to fly to Las Vegas.

“They haven’t let me forget, don’t worry,” she said. “They will probably book the flights at the most expensive time to go there!”

Double down or quit might be a good idea, Rachael.

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