Liverpool — Rachael Blackmore built the history of the Grand National by piloting the Minera Times across the Eintree finish line on Saturday and becoming the first female jockey to win the race.
The Irish woman, who became the first major jockey at the Cheltenham Festival last month, timed her finish perfectly as the Minera Times soared after the 30th final fence.
The Minera Times was 11-1, with 100-1 shots of Barco de Fross in 2nd place and Any Second Now in 3rd place, with no threat to the finish.
Katie Walsh, who finished third in Seabass in 2012, was the closest female jockey to ever win the world’s most famous steeplechase race.
“I can’t believe it,” Blackmore said. “He was a sensational spin. I’m very lucky to ride. I can’t believe it.
“He jumped nicely and beautifully. I tried to wait as long as possible. He was there the last time I jumped and asked him a little.
“I don’t feel men or women right now. I don’t feel humans. This is unbelievable.”
According to the race course, Tom Skudamore’s favorite cloth cap was pulled up by the penultimate fence, and one horse, Longmile, was injured and euthanized. Only 15 out of 40 starters finished the race.
Last year’s race was canceled, but this year it was held in front of an empty stand instead of the usual 70,000 fans due to continued restrictions by COVID-19.
But Blackmore’s feat will resonate in and beyond the world of horse racing.
“A truly amazing achievement … Ireland is very proud of you,” Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin told Twitter.
“A long and memorable historic week.”
Riding the six winners at the Cheltenham Festival was extraordinary enough, but to follow up on her, by surpassing the national field, the most difficult race of all of them. Raised the year of fairy tales to a completely different level.
Her victory also continued the incredible run of trainer Henry De Bromhead, who trained the winner and runner-up at the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and is now repeating it at the National.
“That’s amazing. That’s what you’re dreaming about,” he said. “Rachel is great. I’m very lucky to have her.
“It’s a very tough game, and Rachel, like all jockeys, had to do it in a difficult way.”
The outsider jet ran four miles around a solid circuit, most of the 2.5 furlong slog, and cleared eight lengths with three fences remaining.
However, the eight-year-old Minera Times came forward with two remaining and ran through to win six lengths after making no final mistake.
“It takes luck to avoid it without disturbing anyone else. It took a lot to work and it worked today,” Blackmore said.