Tag Archives: Rachael Blackmore

How Many Female Jockeys Have Ridden in the Grand National?

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 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.

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Five Leading Ladies in the World of Horse Racing

The world of Horse Racing is notoriously difficult for women to make breakthroughs. Despite the success of American jockey Julie Krone and two-time Grand National winning trainer Jenny Pitman, the ladies are still facing an uphill struggle. There have been notable big-race successes in recent years, and we have picked out five ladies who are aiming to break down more barriers in the coming years.

Gai Waterhouse

Gai Waterhouse is one of the leading trainers in Australia and sometimes referred to as “the first lady of Australian racing.” She trained her first Group 1 winner in 1992, her first year as a licenced trainer. In 1994 she took over the Tulloch Lodge Stable from her father, Tommy J. Smith. She has gone on to unprecedented success, including over 135 Group 1 victories and seven Sydney Trainers’ Premierships.

In 2007, Waterhouse was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. She trained Nothin’ Leica Dane to finish second in the Melbourne Cup in 1995 but had to wait until Fiorente in 2013 to taste success in the big race.

Jamie Kah

Jamie Kah is one of trio of top-flight lady jockeys in Australia. She, along with Linda Meech and Raquel Clark, finished in the top six in terms of winners last year. Kah rode her first winner in 2012 and picked up valuable experience riding work in Europe for leading Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute.

Kah did not make the big breakthrough until 2016/17 when she rode 129 winners, a new record for a lady rider in Australia. She won her third Adelaide Jockey’s Premiership the following year and made the move to Melbourne in 2019. Harlem provide her with a first Grade 1 success at the Australian Cup at Flemington.

Sophie Doyle

American rider Sophie Doyle has racing in her blood. She is the daughter of former trainer Jacqueline Doyle and sister to leading European jockey James Doyle.  She was a successful apprentice rider in the UK before making the bold move to California in 2013.

Doyle had spent two winters as a work rider in the United States and believed she had better prospects there than in the UK. After moving to the Kentucky circuit, she enjoyed Grade 2 victories aboard Fioretti and Street Band. The latter provided her with her first Grade 1 success in the Cotillion Stakes in 2019.

Doyle is very popular with punters in the US and in Europe. OLBG.com provides daily predictions for horseracing for race meetings across the globe. The Online Betting Guide has been established for 18 years and leaves no stone unturned in the search for winners. There are trainer and jockey stats, detailed racecourse information and a very lively horse racing tips forum.

Rachael Blackmore

You need to be able to take the knocks in National Hunt racing, but they don’t come much tougher than Ireland’s Rachael Blackmore. She gained her first experience in point-to-point races before turning professional in 2015.

Blackmore became the first female winner of the Conditional Jockeys’ title in Ireland in 2016/17, including victory in the £100,000 Leinster National. She quickly rode out her claim and formed a very successful partnership with trainer Henry De Bromhead.

Her first Cheltenham Festival victory came aboard A Plus Tard in 2019 and Grade 1 success followed on 50-1 outsider Minella Indo in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. She returned to the festival in 2020 for further Grade 1 glory on Honeysuckle in the Mares’ Hurdle.

Venetia Williams

Venetia Williams hit the headlines when training 100-1 outsider Mon Mome to win the Aintree Grand National in 2009. She learned her trade when working for leading trainers Martin Pipe and John Edwards before being granted a licence in 1995.

Williams also won the valuable Hennessy Gold Cup and King George VI Chase with Teeton Mill in 1998. In 2009 she landed a Cheltenham Festival double with Kayf Aramis and Something Wells. She is particularly adept at training staying chasers and is based in Herefordshire, England.

By Harvey Mayson