Emotional Rachael Blackmore almost in tears after Grand National win on Minella Times and beams 'I don't feel human'
BREATHLESS Rachael Blackmore rode into Grand National history and admitted: It’s so amazing I don’t even feel human.
Rachael became the first female to win the world’s most famous race when Minella Times galloped to Aintree glory on an unforgettable and astonishing day on Merseyside.
And as she gulped back tears at the emotion of it all she beamed: “I don’t feel female or male right now…I don’t feel human. It’s just incredible.
“I can’t believe I am Rachael Blackmore! I still feel I am that little kid. I hope that it helps everyone who wants to be a jockey – just keep your dreams big.”
It caps a jaw-dropping month for Blackmore and trainer Henry De Bromhead, who were the king and queen of the Cheltenham just three weeks before.
She was the first woman to finish top jockey at the Festival, while Minella’s magic meant De Bromhead has now trained the winner of the National, Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle AND the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
And just to cap it off he also saddled the second yesterday, when 100-1 shot Balko Des Flos finished runner-up to the Golden Girl.
Yet there was only one person this race was about…the woman who has broken down more barriers in a month than the last half a century.
Blackmore added: “It’s a big deal for me personally. It’s not something that hit me but when I crossed the line…well I just don’t know how to put such a big deal into words. I’m just delighted.”
At 11-1, Minella Times was one of the best backed horses in the race, and after touching down over the last ahead of his stablemate, pulled clear for a six-and-a-half length win.
It was a win made all the more emotional for owner JP McManus, after the tragic sudden death of his daughter-in-law Emma in Barbados over Christmas.
Rachael said: “It’s been a tough year for the McManus family so I hope this can make it a bit easier for them all.”
Irish horses – who had dominated last months’ Festival – filled the first FIVE places again yesterday, with Dan Skelton’s Blaklion the best of the home-based hopes.
The trainer joked: “We won the English National! But that (she) was amazing wasn’t she. Different class!”
Most definitely so…and Blackmore was still struggling to take in the enormity of all she had achieved.
She said: “This is Aintree, the Grand National, I can’t believe what we have done. I got a fantastic passage all the way round.
“Minella Times was brilliant, didn’t miss a beat anywhere. He was able to travel into a gap, I felt I had a lot of space everywhere. It just couldn’t have gone any better.
“His jumping was second to none. For me I just think I’m so lucky. And a one-two for Henry is even more incredible. That can’t be forgotten either."
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De Bromhead was more intent on paying tribute to wonder woman, who has become the most famous jump jockey on the planet after her never-to-be forgotten month.
He insisted: “The Grand National was always a dream…but it was a distant dream. I just feel so fortunate to have Rachael riding for us. She’s brilliant and they broke the mould after her.
“You can see that when she joined us we went from strength to strength. Now it’s back on the old ferry again tonight and there will be a party, whether we have to postpone it for a while or not.”
Hot favourite Cloth Cap had been in the front rank throughout, but jockey Tom Scudamore pulled him up suddenly after the third last.
Trainer Jonjo O’Neill revealed: “Tom said he was going away grand but he just started gurgling a little bit and he did the right thing and took the decision to pull him up. He was going grand.”
One horse – The Long Mile – was put down after injuring himself on the flat between fences, while Bryony Frost was taken to hospital for a precautionary assessment after being unseated from Yala Enki.
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