Grand National 2021: Rachael Blackmore Becomes 1st Female Jockey to Win RaceApril 10, 2021
Minella Times overcame a 40-horse field to win the 2021 Grand National race Saturday at Aintree Racecourse in England.
Jockey Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the race by guiding Minella Times to the victory for trainer Henry de Bromhead in the 173rd edition of the Grand National, which is often called the world's greatest steeplechase.
The winning connections take home the top prize of £375,000 from the £750,000 purse.
Long shot Jett held the lead, often by a substantial margin, for a majority of the race but couldn't hold off the chasing pack during the final furlongs. It became a wide-open race down the homestretch, with Minella Times finally pulling away to help Blackmore make history.
Although the Grand National returned to the UK sports calendar after being canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was held Saturday just outside Liverpool without fans at the track. It marked the first time in the event's storied history there were no spectators.
There was a virtual race held last year to fill the void, with Potters Corner winning the computer-generated competition.
Tiger Roll, the two-time defending champion, didn't get a chance to go for the three-peat Saturday after being withdrawn from consideration for the field in early March.
A Gigginstown House Stud spokesperson explained the race's handicapper decided to rate the champion horse based on his past reputation rather than his results since the 2019 Grand National, which made the connections opt against running him in the event, per Sky Sports.
"Despite this pretty obvious decline, the handicapper has given him a mark of 166, which is seven pounds higher than when he won his second Grand National in April 2019," the spokesperson said. "We believe this is patently unfair, unjustified and does not reflect the horse's age or his form over the past two seasons."
Tiger Roll was one of the 106 horses on the initial entry list for the race in early February before it was trimmed to 40 ahead of race day.
Without the two-time champion in the field, it was Blackmore and Minella Times who stole the spotlight at Aintree on Saturday.