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This years Randox Grand National was one for the history books. There was not one, but two incredible firsts thanks to the fantastic team of Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead.
Queen on jump racing, Rachael Blackmore
Rachael Blackmore made history once again this season by becoming the first woman to ride a winner in the Grand National. She won by 6 1/2 lengths on Minella Times. This is on the back of her being the first woman to win the Leading Jockey at Cheltenham Festival last month. She has had an incredible season, not just winning, but winning some of the biggest races on the calendar. She has shown time and time again that the women can not only compete with the men, but they can beat the very best.
Not only has she done what so many jockeys dream of, winning a Grand National. She will have inspired thousands of young girls to get involved in racing. We are really lucky to have some fantastic female jockeys in both flat and jump racing at the moment. These jockeys are paving the way for the future generation of female jockeys and showing the doubters that female jockeys are just as good as the men.
Henry De Bromhead
Without taking away from the amazing talent Rachel has, we also have to thank Henry De Bromhead for giving her the opportunity to ride in these races. Henry is also having an incredible season. At Cheltenham he became the first trainer to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and the Gold Cup in one year. He even managed a 1, 2 in the Gold Cup. On Saturday he repeated this feat with a 1, 2 in the Grand National with Minella Times and Balko Des Flos. He is certainly one to keep an eye on next season.
Kielan Woods & Ami Desbois
We were really excited to see Kielan Woods and Ami Desbois riding in the national and were really hoping for a good ride round for them. I bought Scottie off Kielan’s partner and lot’s of the photos I have from Scottie’s sale advert are of Kielan riding him. So I always keep an eye out for him riding and have to back him.
But it wasn’t just my connection what made this combination quite exciting. The horse is owned by a fairly small syndicate and trained by part time trainer Graeme McPherson. So a really nice story as for everyone involved, and just being there is really exciting!
They started really well and looked to be really enjoying it. But unfortunately about half way round, a horse in front of them fell and bought them down, ending their race. Luckily they were both absolutely fine and I am really hoping they manage to qualify again next year as they were really unlucky.
The rest of the race
15 horses finished the race within 129 lengths of the winner, Minella Times. Ami Desbois was the only horse brought down, although it looks like the official results have now changed to say fell. Ballyoptic refused fence 21. There were 4 other fallers, 4 unseated their riders and the remaining 16, including the favourite Cloth Cap all pulled up. Unfortunately The Long Mile was put down after pulling up with a fatal injury, our thoughts go to all their connections. While every care is taken to keep the horses safe, it is always devastating when we lose one. You can view the full results here.