Rachael Blackmore has revealed that she’s still receiving letters in the post from admirers after her historic victory in last year’s Randox Grand National on Minella Times.
The 32 year old created history when becoming the first female jockey to win the world’s greatest chase on Henry de Bromhead’s charge, an achievement which created headlines around the world and brought her plenty of recognition since – including the BBC’s Overseas Sports Personality of the Year Award.
And she revealed that she is still receiving letters to this day from admirers around the world. She said: “You kind of still do pinch yourself to be honest. It’s sunk in to a certain extent but as a jockey you’re always looking forward.
“We were at Ballinrobe a couple of days later so we’re constantly moving – it may only be in 50 years’ time in a nursing home that I take it on board!
“The goodwill from people has been so nice. The postman has been busy and it’s fantastic to be that person young people can look up to.
“I’m still getting the odd letter now! I think sometimes they do these kinds of things at school where the kids write to people I admire, as they come through like that every so often. It’s all so positive and it’s all so nice.
“I’ve done a few talks in schools and it’s really strange to have a kid look up to you, their eyes just light up and it’s just phenomenal.”
Blackmore added that she received a fantastic response in her home town of Killenaule in County Tipperary, Ireland in the days and weeks after her world famous success.
She said: “I suppose I’d never really thought about what the reaction would be (upon winning the Grand National) and the goodwill was amazing to be honest.
“My home town of Killenaule were so supportive when I was driving back through the town afterwards and random people had posters in their houses and things like that – so it was incredible. I’d say people are sick of looking at them by this stage!”
Blackmore was speaking at the reveal of this year’s Grand National at The Rum Warehouse in Liverpool, at which Minella Times was allocated a weight of 11st 4lb by the handicapper Martin Greenwood.
Minella Times will be aiming to emulate the great Tiger Roll in becoming the second horse to successfully defend his Grand National crown this century and while the nine year old has struggled on both of his starts so far this season, Blackmore is confident that he will arrive on Merseyside in good heart.
She said: “He’s been a little bit disappointing so far this season but I know Henry will get him there in tip top shape and he’s in very capable hands. The rise is what it is I suppose, but he’ll be there in great shape.”
When asked to reflect on last year’s race, she added: “If I had to visualise how I’d want the race to pan out, that was it. I seemed to have space in front of me and after I jumped two or three I was just happy. He was really enjoying them and the ball bounced for me, I was able to avoid fallers and that’s what you need in the Grand National.
“I remember crossing the Melling Road and I was looking at Burrows Saint and I started to think ‘I’m going to win the National’ and then I passed Jett.
“You don’t truly believe until you’ve crossed the line, but I head the commentator say I was six lengths clear so I kind of knew and believe then – but the feeling when you cross the line is phenomenal.
“It’s going to be unbelievable to have the crowds back, we had them at the Dublin Racing Festival the other week and I forgot how special it was to have people there. I don’t think last year could have been any better but having crowds back is going to be massive.”
This year’s race will be the 174th renewal of the world’s most famous steeplechase and when asked to reflect on her thoughts of the race, she said: “I suppose the excitement for the race starts building now and it’s just a fantastic event to be a part of and to be able to say I’m a part of.
“Every time I see a replay or even a picture of last year’s win I still find it hard to believe that it happened. It’ll probably only be down the line that I can actually start to believe it.
“I definitely felt like things had gone to a different level after the race, it just has global appeal. Cheltenham was incredible and I got so much support and media attention after that, but Aintree stepped it up again – the Grand National seems to reach parts of the world that no other race does.
“It’s a massive event for Liverpool. I was getting my make-up done earlier by a make-up artist and she said she wouldn’t have much of an interest in race but the Grand National has been such a massive race for her and her friends back from when she was a kid – it’s that kind of race.
“It’s the first race that captures the imagination of every child with an interest in ponies I think and any child in general – everybody knows about the Grand National. It’s definitely the race you’re thinking of when you’re galloping around a field as a child.”
The Jockey Club Press Release