By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
This year’s Grand National horse racing event, held on 10 April, has been won for the first time by a woman jockey, namely, Rachael Blackmore, riding ‘Minella Times’.
Blackmore, who is Irish and 31 years’ old, made history at the famous Raintree Racecourse on 10 April 2021.
After winning the event, she remarked that her horse “was just incredible, he jumped beautifully.”
The Grand National, which was first held in 1839, is a National Hunt Handicap Steeplechase, which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, and run over an official distance of about 4 miles, with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps.
It is the most valuable jump race in Europe with a prize fund of £1 million.
This year’s Grand National was the first to be run for two years, last year’s being cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, the event was held without spectators.
Blackmore is not, however, the first woman to compete in the Grand National; that honour going to twenty-one years’ old, Charlotte Brew, who rode her own horse in the 1977 event, following the passing of the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act in the UK.
Rachael Blackmore’s triumph in this year’s Grand National is yet another example of women making their mark in a male-dominated sport!