Rachael Blackmore becomes first female Grand National winner on Minella Times

By Sports Desk April 10, 2021

Rachael Blackmore hailed "sensational" horse Minella Times after she became the first female jockey to win the Grand National.

Blackmore was the first woman to collect the Ruby Walsh Trophy at Cheltenham last month and claimed another piece of history at an empty Aintree on Saturday.

Jett had been well clear with six fences remaining, but Blackmore and Minella Times surged into the lead on the run back towards the grandstands.

A good jump at the last then helped secure victory by six and a half lengths over 100-1 shot Balko Des Flos.

As ITV Sport highlighted the historic nature of Blackmore's triumph, she replied: "I don't feel male or female at the moment, I don't even feel human. This is just unbelievable."

Trainer Henry de Bromhead remarkably had both Minella Times and Balko Des Flos.

He won the Champion Hurdle, the Champion Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, and Blackmore was in awe of the work he has done with Minella Times.

"I just cannot believe it. [Minella Times] was absolutely sensational today," she said. "What Henry de Bromhead does with these horses, I don't know.

"I'm so lucky to be riding him and I just can't believe we've won the Grand National. It's unbelievable.

"He was just incredible. Jumped beautifully, I was trying to wait as long as I could. When we jumped the last and I asked him for a bit, he was there. It's just incredible."

Related items

  • Robson sets sights on Sandown success with Cannock Park Robson sets sights on Sandown success with Cannock Park

    Premier Novices’ Hurdle third Cannock Park will skip high-profile options at both the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree’s Grand National meeting in favour of teeing-up a shot at a valuable event on Sandown’s end-of-season card.

    Paul Robson’s six-year-old was third in Grade One company at Aintree on Boxing Day, having won at Cheltenham on his hurdling debut, and again picked up a bronze medal at Kelso in further graded action on Saturday.

    He finished just two lengths adrift of the winner Personal Ambition and his handler was delighted to see him also bridge the gap with Formby Hurdle conqueror Jango Baie, who filled the runner-up spot in the Scottish Borders.

    Cannock Park holds an entry in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, while a return to Grade One action at Liverpool in the spring was also mooted as an option moving forward.

    However, Robson intends to send his charge to Bangor before finishing the season in the £100,000 bet365 Novices’ Championship Final Handicap Hurdle at Sandown on April 27.

    Robson said: “He made up 14 lengths on Jango Baie at Kelso, which I was absolutely thrilled about, and it was over a trip I thought might be a little bit far for him, but he looked like he stayed it out fine.

    “He’s come out of his race absolutely fine, but I’m not going to take him to Cheltenham or Aintree. I’m going to take him to Bangor on March 23 – there is a £30,000 class two race there – and then it will be straight to Sandown for the £100,000 final on the last day of the year (season).

    “We’ll take him to Bangor in three weeks and then he’ll have five weeks between those two races.”

    Cannock Park has excelled for Robson this season, flying the flag for the former jockey, who now combines training a small string with duties in his undertaking business in the Scottish Borders.

    However, the gelding’s future lies over fences, with the handler already eyeing next season’s novice chase campaign.

    “He’s definitely next season’s chaser and he jumped absolutely faultless at Kelso,” continued Robson.

    “If anything, he maybe just gave them a little bit too much height, but I’m thrilled with him and the horse has run another absolute blinder. I’ve ridden him myself this morning and he was bouncing.”

  • How the Constitution Hill heartbreak unfolded How the Constitution Hill heartbreak unfolded

    Nicky Henderson finally admitted defeat in his race to get Constitution Hill to the Cheltenham Festival on Monday after further blood tests indicated his star performer had not recovered sufficiently from the respiratory infection discovered last week.

    Here, we look at a timeline of how the events unfolded:

    February 27: Reports of Constitution Hill being eased down during a racecourse gallop at Kempton began to surface and bookmakers were quick to suspend betting on the Champion Hurdle.

    February 27: Henderson quickly admitted the poor workout came “as a bit of a shock” and that Constitution Hill had subsequently scoped badly, but insisted he would not give up hope of making it to Cheltenham.

    “Unfortunately, in a routine gallop this morning, Constitution Hill was very disappointing and it transpires, after the vet has scoped him, that there is evidence of mucus,” said the Seven Barrows handler.

    “We’re taking a sample of it to a laboratory to analyse it, which will tell us about the significance of it and we should know more after that.”

    February 27: Henderson then elaborated on the dramatic morning of events and initial medical tests.

    He posted on X: “The sample from his tracheal wash has shown a small increase in the number of neutrophils which indicates a respiratory infection, which is significant but far from drastic.

    “He will start a course of antibiotics immediately and we plan to rescope him on Friday in order to monitor which way this is going. He would only be having light exercise this week following this morning’s racecourse gallop.

    “Both our own vet and the racecourse veterinary surgeon who scoped him feel we definitely have a chance of correcting this in time and we will be doing everything possible to do so. We have a fortnight to work him and it is possible, so we will keep everybody notified accordingly.

    “He is absolutely fine within himself and we have simply got to get on top of this issue as quickly as possible.”

    February 28: Henderson issued an upbeat bulletin, stating on X: “I am pleased to say that Constitution Hill appears perfectly normal this morning. He is bright and well and ate everything last night. His temperature has remained normal both last night and this morning.

    “As with all the other horses that galloped at Kempton yesterday, they are having an easy day today. They have had a lead out and all appear to be sound and well and are having a good pick of grass.”

    He added: “Fresh air is as important as anything for a horse’s lungs. The intention is to rescope on Friday to monitor which way this is going.”

    February 29: In a morning interview at Seven Barrows, Henderson described his superstar as “alert and bright”, as he walked a line between giving the gelding adequate recovery time, while trying not to lose too much of his fitness edge.

    “He can’t stay in his box, if we’ve got any pretentions of running in the Champion Hurdle, you can’t just knock it off and tuck him in bed,” Henderson told Sky Sports Racing.

    “We’ve got to find the right balance between keeping him moving but not stressing him in any way at all.”

    February 29: Henderson later received the results of a blood test on Constitution Hill and admitted they were “probably not what we were hoping for”.

    In an update posted on X, he said: “The result of the blood test taken this morning goes quite a long way to explaining his disappointing performance at Kempton on Tuesday and confirms that he has a significant degree of inflammation.

    “The figures themselves suggest he is definitely under the weather and we will need to repeat the test again on Monday in the hope that the situation improves.

    “This is probably not what we were hoping for, but at least it tells us exactly where we are.”

    March 1: Some positive news among the gloom, as Henderson says: “On what was about as foul and filthy morning as you can imagine at Seven Barrows, Constitution Hill had a light exercise and was rescoped afterwards as planned. This showed the neutrophil percentage, indicative of infection, was back to normal parameters with no mucus evident.

    “This is obviously positive news but we cannot hide behind yesterday’s blood test which basically reveals that, in simple terms, our horse is ‘unwell’.”

    March 2: Henderson was on a rare visit to Kelso, where speaking about Constitution Hill he affirmed: “The blood test on Monday will tell us everything and we will know where we are after that.

    “If we don’t get the results we want on Monday, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it will be the end of the season. Let’s just cross each bridge when we come across it.

    “When you train horses, you are going to walk into these situations and you’ve got to face up to it.”

    March 4: The eagerly-awaited blood test results confirmed Henderson’s worst fears, with a title defence ruled out for Constitution Hill.

    Henderson posted on X: “Very sadly we are going to have to admit defeat in the battle to get Constitution Hill ready for the Champion Hurdle and therefore have to declare that he will not be running there this year.

    “He has undoubtedly improved over the weekend and seems noticeably brighter than he was at the end of last week and I really did think he was much perkier when ridden this morning.

    “Unfortunately, the all-important blood test shows that although the figures have also improved, they are quite a way from being satisfactory for a horse to commence serious training and to race in a week’s time.

    “This is very sad for all of us and particularly Michael (Buckley, owner) but it is in everybody’s best interests that we ensure we have a fit and healthy Constitution Hill to win back his crown next year.”

  • Constitution Hill Champion Hurdle KO confirmed Constitution Hill Champion Hurdle KO confirmed

    Constitution Hill will not run at the Cheltenham Festival, trainer Nicky Henderson has announced.

    The unbeaten and defending Champion Hurdle hero worked poorly at Kempton Park last Tuesday, putting his participation at the showpiece meeting in major doubt.

    A scope showed mucus in his lungs and despite slightly more positive news in the following days, results of a blood test on Thursday proved to be another blow.

    He was scoped again on Friday morning, with Henderson saying that “showed the Neutrophil percentage, indicative of infection, was back to normal parameters with no mucus evident”.

    However, he stressed another blood test on Monday would probably prove to be the “acid test”, and on receiving the results he posted on his official X account: “Very sadly we are going to have to admit defeat in the battle to get Constitution Hill ready for the Champion Hurdle and therefore have to declare that he will not be running there this year.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.