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Grand National-winning jockey Rachael Blackmore’s achievement was hailed as “history in the making” by retired jockey Katie Walsh, who previously held the best record in the race.
Walsh finished third on the Ted Walsh-trained Seabass in 2012 and rode in the Grand National on a total of six occasions, completing the course on all but one of those outings.
She said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable. It really was a great result for racing – it was a great result all round. It was history in the making, very few people were there to see it but I was there! I’m delighted that I was lucky enough to be there to witness it and it really was absolutely brilliant.
“It is huge. It’s the first woman to win the National. It’s history, but I suppose this has been coming over time. There’s been more women riding in the National over the last couple of years.
“There were maybe two or three women riding in it and the rest were men so they were always outnumbered really, so it all happened today – it all worked, it all clicked.
“This is the most watched race in the world, there are people who are going to hear about this in all different parts of the world and it’s just brilliant for horseracing and I’m delighted for Rachael. She’s an inspiration to male and female jockeys and she’s inspiring. The result couldn’t have been any better.
“It’s just a great day and I just look at it like the way she’s looking at it, that it’s unbelievable and that she’s the person who won the Randox Grand National this year and it’s just a great result.
“It is history without doubt, but I don’t think this needed to happen to encourage women into sport or to show people on the outside that we’re level, because that’s been shown for the last decade I’d have thought.
“She’s a star. She’s so tactically aware, she’s as hard as nails both mentally and physically, she can take the ups and the downs and she deserves this. This isn’t just pot luck or a fluke, she’s worked hard to get this and she deserves it.”
Referring to her no longer being the best-placed woman in a Grand National, Walsh added: “I wasn’t bothered in the first place! It didn’t even enter my head in a million years, not at all. It was just a great result. That thought never crossed my mind to be honest with you. It didn’t cross my mind when I crossed the line on Seabass and it hasn’t crossed my mind since. I finished third but I didn’t win it and Rachael won it – and it’s all about winning at the end of the day.”
AP McCoy, who until today had ridden JP McManus’s only Grand National winner when triumphing on Don’t Push It in 2010, also praised Blackmore.
He said: “Look it’s a brilliant thing for horseracing that she’s won. She’s an amazing rider and she proved that at Cheltenham, but to win the biggest horse race in the world is great for the sport.
“It’s great for her but it’s brilliant for the sport as well. It gives every young girl hope of winning the biggest race in the world and winning any racing for that matter – she can do it all. It’s a brilliant achievement and JP will be delighted. To win this race is very special and for her to do it on one of his horses is great.”
Paul Nicholls, the 11-times Champion Trainer, hailed Blackmore’s achievement as “great for racing”.
He said: “It’s been a fantastic day. What a brilliant ride Rachael Blackmore gave that horse in the National – it’s great for racing.
“She’s had a fantastic year, is a brilliant rider who works for a brilliant trainer, and it’s positive publicity for racing, which is what we want. She’s a credit to the sport and a credit to herself.”