The name of Rachael Blackmore will forever be intrinsically linked to the Grand National at Aintree after she became the first female rider to win the race on Minella Times in 2021.
Already a record-breaker at the Cheltenham Festival that same spring, Blackmore continued to etch her name in the fabric and folklore of National Hunt racing with an unforgettable success at Aintree.
Ahead of the 2023 Grand National on 15th April we're taking a closer look at Rachael Blackmore and her outstanding career to date.
|What||Grand National 2024|
|Where||Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool|
|When||5.15, Saturday 13th April, 2024|
|How to watch||bet365 live Sports Streaming Service, ITV & Racing TV|
|Odds||Corach Rambler 20/1, Gaillard Du Mesnil 25/1, I Am Maxiums 25/1, Noble Yeats 25/1, Vanilier 25/1, Fastorslow 25/1|
Rachael Blackmore is, without any doubt, the most famous female jockey that has ever graced the National Hunt game. Her exploits are ground-breaking and have helped ensure her a place in racing folklore.
Blackmore grew up on a dairy farm in Killenaule, Co Tipperary and first started riding ponies at just two years of age. She achieved her first winner as an amateur rider in 2011 but didn't turn professional until 2015.
Trainer Shark Hanlon was a key figure in her decision to go pro and, fittingly, put her on to her first winner, Most Honourable, at Clonmel in September of that year.
It is her alliance with Waterford-based handler Henry De Bromhead however that has seen Blackmore achieve superstardom.
Major wins at the Cheltenham Festival – including a Gold Cup and two Champion Hurdles – came before she landed the Grand National at Aintree in 2021. She is a pioneering figure for women in racing and, indeed, in sport.
The horse most commonly associated with Blackmore's career is Honeysuckle, the outstanding mare on which she won the Champion Hurdle in 2021 and 2022. Their partnership was enduring and yielded major successes in Britain and Ireland across a long unbeaten spell.
At the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, they won a second Mares' Hurdle on what was Honeysuckle's final appearance, ensuring she was 4-4 at the Cotswolds showpiece in her career.
A Plus Tard was the horse on which Blackmore won the Gold Cup in 2021, while Envoi Allen was her partner for Ryanair Chase glory in 2023, and, of course, Minella Times carried her to that famous Grand National win at Aintree.
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With the National Hunt season set to come to a close at the end of April, Blackmore will soon get the chance to take a short break.
The Irish jockey will then look to link back up with the likes of Envoi Allen, Telmesomethinggirl, Journey with Me, Bob Olinger and A Plus Tard in the near future.
Rachael Blackmore made headlines around the world when she steered Minella Times to Grand National glory in 2021. She became the first female rider to win the world's most iconic jumps race, giving the JP McManus-owned star a perfect spin around Merseyside.
That success propelled Blackmore's star high, as she ended the year being crowned the BBC Sports Personality World Sport Star of the Year and, in her homeland, the RTÉ Sports Person of the Year.
Sadly in 2023, Blackmore and Ain't That A Shame were the last of 17 runners to complete the race at Aintree, but connections will hope for better luck in 2024.
Following the 2023 Festival, where she won on Honeysuckle and Envoi Allen, the running tally of Cheltenham winners for Blackmore stands at 14.
Her first came in 2019 when A Plus Tard won the Novices' Handicap Chase, while she'd win the Albert Bartlett that same season on rank outsider (and future Gold Cup winner) Minella Indo.
In 2021, Blackmore's six Festival winners ensured another historic achievement as she was crowned leading rider at the meeting – another first for a female jockey.
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