Ireland’s Rachael Blackmore becomes first female jockey to ever win the Grand National
Tipperary's own Rachael Blackmore won the Grand National over the weekend, her victory making her the first female jockey to ever win the historically tough race.
All eyes were on Tipperary native Rachael Blackmore over the weekend, who made history as the first woman to win the Grand National in its 182-year-long existence. Crossing the finish line at Aintree on Minella Times, Blackmore took the lead two out, with her victory making her the first female jockey to secure the win.
A feat she’s been working towards for several years now, Blackmore described it as an “incredible” feeling, laughing and telling Sky News, “I don’t feel male or female right now – I don’t even feel human! It’s just unbelievable.”
The pride of her hometown in Killenaule, Blackmore has had a great run so far this year. Still fresh off her success at Cheltenham, there she became the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle earlier this month – also being crowned top jockey at the festival.
Growing up with childhood ambitions to become a vet, Blackmore combined her love of horses with a degree in equine science from the University of Limerick while riding and competing as an amateur jockey. Turning professional in March 2015, she’s had an impressive career to date with pundits dubbing her Grand National win “one of the greatest moments in the sport”.
How it started how it’s going pic.twitter.com/OZkQBBUCpO
— Aintree Racecourse (@AintreeRaces) April 10, 2021
An accolade all the more impressive considering the fact that female jockeys have only been allowed to enter and race in the Grand National for less than 50 years, when the Sex Discrimination Act was passed in 1975. Admitting that it is a “massive deal” for her personally regardless of gender, Blackmore went on to say, “the thing that hit me when I crossed the line was that I’d won the National, not that I’m the first female to win the National. I’m just delighted.”
?? She’s conquered @CheltenhamRaces, and now she’s conquered @AintreeRaces! ??@rachaelblackmor makes history as the first female jockey to win the #GrandNational win Minella Times! pic.twitter.com/8hTuysit6U
— Horse Racing Ireland (@HRIRacing) April 10, 2021
Reacting to the historic achievement, the whole country got behind Blackmore’s win with both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and President Michael D Higgins amongst those to offer their congratulations.
Feature image via @AintreeRaces