“I don't feel male or female right now. I don't even feel human."
Those were Rachael Blackmore’s immortal words as she became the first ever female winner of the Grand National and asserted herself as the very best jockey in Britain at the moment, as she won on board Minella Times for Henry De Bromhead.
Blackmore, who conquered Cheltenham last month has now conquered Aintree and won the biggest race in British racing with another superb display. The pair of jockey and trainer are having a 2021 to remember as Blackmore added to her ‘top jockey’ award at Cheltenham with a very first Grand National win.
"It's amazing - it's what you dream of," Henry De Bromhead told ITV after winning his very first Grand National.
"Rachael is brilliant. I am so lucky to have her. She's just brilliant."
Minella Times didn’t miss a beat over the 30 fence race as Blackmore guided this brilliant horse home in the most famous race in the world. Jett led the way for the majority of the race and even pulled out to a ten length lead at one point but Blackmore kept her cool and tracked the runaway leader.
Pre-race favourite Cloth Cap looked to be running well the entire way round, in second for the majority of the race, but was pulled up with just two fences to go. Minella Times stayed close to the rail while there was an incredible performance from second placed Balko Des Flos, ridden by the impressive Aidan Coleman. Balko Des Flos, also trained by De Bromhead, was 100/1 as the race began but charged home behind the eventual 11/1 winner, as Blackmore timed her push to perfection. That means De Bromhead secured a one-two in both the Grand National and the Gold Cup this year.
"I cannot believe it. He was a sensational spin. I'm so lucky to be riding. It is unbelievable," Blackmore told ITV. "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.”
Any Second Now came from nowhere to finish third after seemingly struggling for the majority of the race while Willie Mullins’ Burrows Saint battled home in fourth. Anabele Fly disappointed and pulled up before the 13th jump but in truth this was all about Blackmore, the superstar we wrote about so many times during Cheltenham week.
The closest any woman had come previously to winning this famous race was Katie Walsh's third-place finish on board Seabass in 2012. The impact Blackmore’s win will have on young aspiring riders up and down the country is going to be huge, and surely, even in an Olympic year, she is an early contender for Sports Personality of the Year.
Rachael Blackmore has etched her name into the history books.
1 Minella Times (Rachael Blackmore) 11-1
2 Balko Des Flos (Aidan Coleman) 100-1
3 Any Second Now (M P Walsh) 15-2
4 Burrows Saint (Mr P W Mullins) 9-1