2021 Grand National: Rachael Blackmore and others to star in this year's race

Rachael Blackmore

Saturday will see this year’s Grand National get underway in never before seen circumstances. The usual high capacity crowds will be replaced by empty paddocks as the riders compete for the much anticipated prizes.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the 2020 Grand National was postponed indefinitely, meaning this year’s winner will knock back-to-back reigning champion Tiger Roll and jockey Davy Russell off their pedestal.

Out of the 40 riders and horses registered to compete this year, only three of those are female. But who are these women who are racing alongside the sport’s best hoping to become the first female jockey to win the title?

Rachael Blackmore

Rachael Blackmore

A lot of eyes will be on Rachael Blackmore this weekend as she vies for her chance to lift the prestigious trophy.

Since turning professional in March 2015, it took the Irish jockey just six months before she partnered her first winning horse. After that, Blackmore became a trailblazer for female riders, emerging into the spotlight at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival with two wins in the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase and the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. 

Fast forward to this year’s Cheltenham competition and Blackmore carved her name in the history books. Her Champion Hurdle win made her the first ever female jockey to earn the title and she was the first female to scoop the Ruby Walsh Trophy for leading Cheltenham jockey after her groundbreaking six wins across the four days.

Blackmore partnered the likes of Honeysuckle, Telmesomethinggirl and Allaho to victory back in March. She will be riding Minella Times on Saturday, who is just one of seven horses owned by JP McManus to take to the starting line in Liverpool. His trainer is Henry de Bromhead, who enjoyed watching six of his horses ride to victory at Cheltenham.

With her incredible run of form last month at Cheltenham, Blackmore hopes she will be riding to victory on the “very solid” Minella Times.

Bryony Frost

Bryony Frost

Bryony Frost is one of two English female jockeys to be featuring in the Grand National this weekend. Like Blackmore, she also boasts a history-making accolade after becoming the first woman to win a Grade One race over obstacles at Cheltenham Festival in 2019. 

Frost turned professional in 2017 after winning the Foxhunter Chase as an amateur at Cheltenham. The following year, she placed fifth in the 2018 Grand National aboard Milansbar, later becoming just the fifth woman in history to notch 75 wins under rules. 

The 25-year-old is the youngest of the three female jockeys in contention for this year’s title. She will be partnered up with Paul Nicholls’ Yala Enki, but will have her work cut out based on the gelding’s form last time at Aintree. He fell at the first hurdle last year but placed third in the last three Welsh Nationals in the mud. 

Tabitha Worsley

Tabitha Worsley

Up and coming Tabitha Worsley is one of Saturday’s outsiders. She will be on board Sub Lieutenant, who is owned and trained by Worsley’s mother Georgie Howell.

It would be a true fairytale story if the 26-year-old was first over the finish line at Aintree on Saturday. Not only would she become the first female to win the Grand National, but she would be able to boast a 100% winning record, after emerging victorious from her only previous ride in the Foxhunters Chase two years ago.

Her emphatic win came 18 months after Worsley suffered a broken back in a fall. Her appearance on the big stage on Saturday will be a first for both her and Howell, but Worsley is already familiar with the track of Aintree after her 2019 win on Top Wood.

Will one of these women earmark the 2021 Grand National as the year the glass ceiling is well and truly shattered? Could Aintree finally see its first ever female jockey ride to victory? 

News Now - Sport News