Rachael Blackmore has made history as the first ever female winner of the Grand National.
The queen of the Cheltenham Festival surged clear on $11-shot Minella Times to win the world’s most famous racing contest convincingly at the iconic Aintree racecourse.
Not since February 1839, when the Grand National was first run, had a woman crossed the line in first.
But Irish rider Blackmore, 31, looked in total control over the four-mile course, never once seriously troubled as horses all around struggled over the famous fences, The Sun reports.
Just as Michelle Payne famously ended 155 years without a female jockey winning the Melbourne Cup when she rode Prince of Penzance to win in 2015, Blackmore has toppled one of sport’s biggest gender divides.
And she said afterwards: “I don’t feel male or female right now. I don’t even feel human”.
Katie Walsh previously held the best record for a woman, when she finished third on Seabass in 2012.
But if anyone was to do it, it was Blackmore — who has been described as the “reluctant” superstar of her sport.
Rachael Blackmore celebrates after making history.Source:Getty Images
She made history just last month when becoming the first woman to be crowned top jockey at the prestigious Cheltenham Festival.
It’s why bookmakers admitted this month they feared a £15 million ($27m) payout if she saluted on Sunday morning (AEST).
Now her name will be etched in the history books for blazing a trail all over the Merseyside course.
Henry de Bromhead, who trained the JP McManus-owned horse, said of the inspirational Blackmore: “I’m so lucky to have her. She’s brilliant.”
Blackmore said: “I just cannot believe it. He [the horse] was an absolutely sensational spin.
“What Henry de Bromhead does with these horses I don’t know but it’s – I’m so lucky to be riding him.
“I just cannot believe I have won the Grand National.
Jockey Rachael Blackmore receives the Grand National Handicap Chase trophy.Source:Getty Images
“It’s unbelievable. It’s just incredible. I just got such an unbelievable passage through the race. Minella Times just jumped fantastic and brought me from fence to fence.”
Speaking of the punter payout after racing fans poured their support onto Minella Times, Ladbroke’s Alex Apati said: “We may well be paying out plenty of punters today, but this will go down as a momentous year thanks to Rachael Blackmore’s history-making victory and in a tough year for all racing fans, this Grand National really has been a fantastic showcase for the sport.”
Balko Des Flos was a shock runner-up at monster odds of 100-1.
Any Second Now came third at 15-2, while Burrows Saint was fourth at odds of 9-1 and 16-1 shot Farclas finished fifth.
Horse Racing: Cascadian wins the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on Day 1 of the Championships with Nature Strip also taking out the TJ Smith Stakes….
Horse Racing: Cascadian wins the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on Day 1 of the Championships with Nature Strip also taking out the TJ Smith Stakes.
Unfortunately, Bryony Frost had to be rushed to hospital after suffering a heavy fall.
She was the second jockey of the day to need treatment after Harry Cobden – who was due to ride Sir Alex Ferguson’s Give Me A Copper in the big race – earlier fell and suffered ‘fractures to the face’.
But this day, this year, belongs to Blackmore.
And it was a particularly poignant victory for Irish billionaire McManus, a former Manchester United shareholder, who tragically lost his daughter-in-law on December 30 last year.
The £375,000 first-place prize will mean little financially to the racing tycoon – the joy of victory in the biggest place there is no doubt proving much more valuable.
— This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk and has been republished with permission
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