Rachael Blackmore may have missed out on the Gold Cup but made history at the Grand National and urged the younger generation inspired by her success to ‘dream big’
What a storming start to the year Rachael Blackmore has had, which was sealed with history at the Grand National.
Having fallen short in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, she struck gold in the biggest race of all at Aintree.
Blackmore rode Minella Times to glory to become the first female jockey to win the Grand National, a month after being named top jockey at Cheltenham and winning praise from all corners and presumably inspiring many people in the process.
“I don’t feel male or female, I don’t even feel human,” she beamed as she made her way to lift the trophy at Aintree. “This is just unbelievable, just unbelievable.”
AP McCoy talked up her champion-in-waiting status after watching her ride to victory on Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle in March.
“She’s class,” he said. “Obviously Honeysuckle’s a class mare, but we keep heaping praise on her – and rightly so. She’s bombproof, she keeps everything simple. She makes very few mistakes, she’s got it all.”
And 31-year-old Blackmore will tell you there is no limit to what can be achieved even though she is somewhat of a reluctant pioneer alongside other female jockeys, including Bryony Frost and Katie Walsh who have also been breaking down barriers.
She understands why so much emphasis is put on gender, however, after her win on Honeysuckle she reiterated that being a female jockey is not a big deal anymore.
“If you want to be a jockey you can be a jockey, drive on,” she said.
“To young people, if you want to do something go and do it. For me standing here right now, anything can happen.”
The daughter of a dairy farmer and a school teacher, Blackmore has come a long way but never dreamed of blazing a trail in her younger years at home in County Tipperary.
Speaking to ITV in the aftermath of her famous win, she thanked her parents for ferrying her around the country when she was younger, adding she is still trying to comprehend the idea that a new generation will now look to her for inspiration.
“I can’t believe I am Rachael Blackmore, genuinely,” she laughed. “I still feel like that little kid and I can’t believe I’m me, it’s unbelievable.
“I hope it does help anyone who wants to be a jockey. I never thought this would be possible for me. I didn’t dream about making a career as a jockey because I didn’t think it could happen and it did so keep your dreams big.”
With racing being dragged through the mud in recent months by Gordon Elliot, Blackmore has provided plenty of good news, culminating with Saturday’s triumph.
What a shame then there were no fans to see her win.