Photo: Scott Heppell/Reuters.
On April 9, 2022, the Aintree Grand National returns to racing in its full format. At Aintree Racecourse in Merseyside, England, the “National” has been broadcast live on free-to-air terrestrial television since 1960. An estimated 500 to 600 million people watch the Grand National in over 140 countries. The race has also been broadcast on radio since 1927.
Looks like we may have a female jockey again: Rachael Blackmore, riding the #1 favorite, Minella Times, who made history winning the 2021 edition with Blackmore in the stirrups. Minella Times will be running with his rating having risen to 161 – up 15lb from his mark of 146 last year. Grab this list of the Grand National runners and their jockeys for 2022.
In 2012, the first female jockey to finish in the top three was Katie Walsh on Seabass. Walsh and Nina Carberry both started six Grand Nationals, a joint record for a woman. In 2021, Rachael Blackmore, riding Minella Times, became the first female jockey to win the race. Will she do it again in 2022?
Blackmore’s Grand National win comes three weeks after she was the first woman to be leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival.
The 173rd running of the world’s most famous steeplechase provided a story for the ages as Blackmore won in the colours of owner J. P. McManus.
As Blackmore and Minella Times safely jumped the last, it became clear a piece of racing folklore was being created and the pair passed the winning line clear of their rivals.
Forty-four years after Charlotte Brew was the first woman to ride in the race on 200-1 outsider Barony Fort, who refused at the 27th fence, Blackmore had bettered Walsh’s third-placed finish with an historic victory.
Since 1977, female jockeys have been allowed in the Grand National horse race following the passing of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. A total of 19 female jockeys have entered the Grand National since then. Charlotte Brew on her horse, Barony Fort, was the first woman to compete in the race, in 1977. In 1982, Geraldine Rees became the first woman to complete the course. She rode Cheers to eighth place. That time, Brew returned with her horse Martinstown; this was the first Grand National with two female jockeys entering.
The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. First run in 1839, it is a handicap steeplechase over an official distance of about 4 miles and 2½ furlongs (4 miles 514 yards (6.907 km)), with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps. It is the most valuable jump race in Europe.