Rachael Blackmore will be on a mission to become the first woman to win the Grand National this Saturday.
Having been cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s most famous race will return this weekend for the 2021 edition.
Blackmore will ride 10-1 shot Minella Times in the big race following their superb performance at the Cheltenham Festival.
Minella Times was being heavily backed before news of Blackmore’s slot in the saddle but now, the horse will be among the favourites.
Trainer Henry de Bromhead told the Racing Post: “Minella Times runs in the Grand National and Rachael rides him.
“He’s progressed really nicely this season and I thought his run in the Paddy Power over Christmas was a really good one, as was his last one at Leopardstown.
“But you know me – the glass is always half-empty rather than half-full, so I would point out he was beaten in both of them, so he can’t be unexposed.
“The trip is an unknown with Minella Times. You’d like to think he will stay and improve for it, but you never know until you try it.
“He has to go out there and do it and prove it.
“Touch wood, he jumps really well and he seems to be in very good form at home.”
Blackmore notched a remarkable six wins at Cheltenham last month and narrowly missed out on claiming glory in the Gold Cup.
She’ll be looking to make more history this weekend but insists being a female jockey is not a big deal anymore.
“If you want to be a jockey you can be a jockey, drive on,” she said.
“To young people, if you want to do something go and do it. For me standing here right now, anything can happen.”
The daughter of a dairy farmer and a school teacher, Blackmore has come a long way and never dreamed of blazing a trail in her younger years at home in County Tipperary.
“We went to see Istabraq on a school tour,” she revealed in March, recalling her own inspiration. “I never envisaged when we went to see him back then that I’d be riding the winner of a Champion Hurdle.
“When every person becomes a jockey they dream about riding at Cheltenham and all these things, but riding a winner like this is unbelievable.”