Last weekend was an historic period for sportswomen everywhere. The Grand National – the most prestigious race in horse racing – crowned itself a new winner. Rachael Blackmore was the jockey to topple Tiger Roll’s back-to-back pedigree with her sensational run on board Minella Times.
As the gelding thundered across the finish line, Blackmore’s ecstasy was felt across the nation as the realisation of her achievement finally hit home.
This isn’t the first time the humble 31-year-old has carved her name in racing history, either. Last month, Blackmore dominated Cheltenham Festival as her name generated a massive buzz after her flurry of wins. She partnered Honeysuckle to her Champions Hurdle victory, becoming the first female to win that particular race.
Blackmore then became the first woman to be awarded the Ruby Walsh Trophy, after being crowned the best overall jockey at Cheltenham. Her form only spurred her on as the days ticked down towards the long-awaited race in Aintree.
Since making huge waves in her trade, there has been a lot of calls for Blackmore to be honoured by the queen. Her Grand National win has been described as a “fairytale” by pioneers within the sport, and a former honours committee member said her performance was “OBE-worthy”.
These grand statements aren’t just compliments to the trailblazing jockey, they’re fully supported opinions. Blackmore has changed the landscape for sportswomen forever after what she has achieved these last couple of months. To scoop the win on the biggest stage in horse racing after it being dominated for so long by males is an unbelievable achievement that should be decorated as such.
Blackmore was joined by just two other female riders during the Grand National, Bryony Frost and Tabitha Worsley, but with her achievement, she could may well have encouraged a whole new generation of girls and women to chase their racing dreams.
“I don’t even feel human right now,” she told reporters after her win. Her modest nature only adds to how endearing Blackmore is as both an athlete and a person. The most beautiful thing is that she probably isn’t even aware of how many people she has spoken up for and inspired.