Rachel Blackmore Chats About Her Grand National Win

Rachel Blackmore won the Grand National On Minella Times in 2021

Betfair ambassador Rachael Blackmore reflects on her Grand National win on Minella Times as Serial Winners Fund hits £170,000

Betfair ambassador Rachael Blackmore won the Grand National in 2021 on board Minella Times to become the first female jockey to win the world’s most famous race

Ahead of the Grand National weights reveal on Tuesday, Blacmkore has relived her incredible victory at Aintree in 2021.

She has also been speaking about the changes to this year’s race, which includes less runners, a standing start and a shorter distance to the first fence

It is hard to believe that winning the Grand National actually happened.

RB: It was just incredible, it really was. It’s hard to describe it and sometimes, when you see some of the footage back, it’s hard to believe that it actually happened as well.

It was just an unbelievable day. It’s a race with so much history, and when you see replays of when the likes of Red Rum winning it back in the day, you realise that you’re part of the history of that race now.

It’s such a special thing to have achieved.

Rachel Blackmore nudges Ingenious Stroke ahead in the the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Steeplechase at Downpatrick in September 2022. (Photo by Jim Masson/Down News).

Minella Times wouldn’t actually have made the cut this year so I’m very happy 2021 happened when it did.

RB: I’m happy that Minella Times and I won in 2021, because he actually wouldn’t make the cut this year for the race. 34 runners is the field size this year and he was horse number 35. 

But I think all the changes that are being made are being made in the best interest of the race, its future and its longevity.

There’s a lot of thought that has gone into these changes to make it better for everyone and for the future of the race. It will be a fantastic race and will remain an incredible spectacle. There will just be six less horses taking part. 

The standing start will hopefully mean a good, fair start for everyone

RB: I think that the standing start will be very much dependent on the horse you’re riding. Some horses will be completely unfazed by a standing start and some horses, it might take them a bit longer to get going. 

Rachel Blackmore, who is a regular jockey at the Downpatrick races, was the first lady rider to win the Grand National at Aintree.

Every jockey will know their horse, and know it very well before the Grand National. So hopefully it is a good, fair start for everyone.

I don’t think it would have bothered Minella Times at all – he was very chilled out and I think he would have been fine with whatever he was faced with. 

I don’t think the start time changing makes a whole lot of difference from a jockey’s perspective. It’s an hour earlier so you get to crack on with it a bit sooner, I suppose.

I’ve had some incredible moments in front of big crowds – that’s the joys of top level sport.

RB: I think different horses can respond differently to each race and the atmosphere on the day.

I think everyone’s just excited for the race to get going and get started. As I said earlier, all these changes are in the best interest of the race and protecting its future. 

Going to the start, you are zoned in on the race as well, you’re looking to see who’s going to get down to start in front of you and where they’re going to line up and how you’re going to get to the position that you want. 

You’re very much tuned in at that stage when you’re cantering down to start. Your mind is working on what’s going to happen in the race.

Betfair launched its one-of-a-kind charity initiative, the ‘Rachael Blackmore – Serial Winners Fund’, to benefit both the ‘Injured Jockey Fund’ and the ‘Irish Injured Jockeys’ on Betfair Chase Day last November.

They kicked-off the fund with an initial £100,000 donation and add a further £5,000 every time Rachael Blackmore rides a winner.

Following today’s winner the fund stands at £170,000 and is expected to reach £250,000 by Grand National Day, Saturday 13th April, when the fund will draw to a close.

(Courtesy of Betfair: https://www.betfair.com/betting/horse-racing/s-7).