The first female jockey to win the Grand National was Rachael Blackmore who, on April 10, 2021, partnered Minella Times to an historic, 6½-length victory over 100/1 outsider, and stable companion, Balko Des Flos. Owned by John ‘J.P.’ McManus and trained by Henry De Bromhead, Minella Times was sent off 11/1 fourth-favourite for the celebrated steeplechase, so there was no fluke about his performance or that of his trailblazing jockey.
In a year of ‘firsts’, Blackmore had already become the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, on Honeysuckle, and the first female jockey to win the Holland Cooper Leading Jockey Award for the Ruby Walsh Trophy, with six winners during the week. At that stage, De Bromhead paid tribute to her, saying, ‘She’s riding out of her skin’, but little did he know what Aintree had in store for the 31-year-old Irishwoman. Previously, the closest a female jockey had come to winning the Grand National was in 2012, when the now-retired Katie Walsh, sister of Ruby, finished third, beaten 5 lengths, behind Neptune Collonges.