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Is there more Grand National success on the cards for Rachael Blackmore?
The Irish jockey is hoping for more success in the months ahead following her historic win aboard Minella Times in the 2021 Grand National.
Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the famous steeplechase earlier this year and she is pencilled in to once again partner Henry De Bromhead’s Minella Times in the 2022 renewal of the contest. A month prior to her famous win at Aintree, Blackmore had clinched an impressive number of female firsts at Prestbury Park with success in the Champion Hurdle aboard Honeysuckle and ending the Cheltenham festival as leading jockey with no less than six wins.
Since then she has experienced many ups and downs, her biggest disappointment coming when sidelined following a fall at Killarney in July when aboard Merry Poppins, this resulting in an injury to her hip and a fractured ankle.
Now that she has returned to the saddle, she is simply looking forward to more success in the coming months, especially at the big festivals in the spring.
Regarding her Grand National win earlier this year, the Tipperary-born history-making jockey said: “It is definitely a replay I love watching. It is still hard to comprehend it really – I know it might be silly to say that a couple of months on. But it was such an incredible day.
“It would have been a incredible day either way (even after her Cheltenham victories). That was unbelievable as well. Honeysuckle winning the Champion Hurdle was massive and then the week seemed to fall right for me. We had a fantastic week.”
Nevertheless she isn’t just looking back on past successes. She plans to continue riding winners now that she has returned to the saddle.
She continued: “I had a bit of time on the sidelines in the summer. But we are back now and looking forward to the season ahead.
“I don’t set myself targets. Things in racing can change very quickly. I just take things day by day. I am heading to Thurles today (where she finished sixth on Withallduerespect and ninth aboard Ingenious Stroke – both trained by De Bromhead) and we are trying our best to get winners – that’s the way I look at it.
“Right now the (Irish jockeys’) championship isn’t something I am thinking about.”
She may not be setting any targets but Minella Times has once again been aimed at the Grand National for 2022 and Blackmore believes that her 2021 winning partner has the ability to emulate two-time winner Tiger Roll and land a second successive victory in the famous steeplechase.
Regarding Minella Times’ chances of winning a second time, she said: “I don’t see why not.
“He was phenomenal to be honest. I knew after I jumped two or three fences on him he was going to take to them. It was really enjoyable. He was really enjoyable to ride around there.
“He is such a genuine horse, he is fantastic to jump. He has been trained to perfection and he will always be extremely special to me.
“He loved it around there, which it a big help. I am sure Henry, JP (McManus) and Frank (Berry, McManus’ racing manager) will discuss where and when he runs before Aintree. But he is special horse and he was fantastic to me.”
Minella Times is an ante-post best price of 16/1 to win the 2022 Grand National.