Horse racing-Ireland’s Blackmore staying grounded amid Grand National hype

Horse racing-Ireland's Blackmore staying grounded amid Grand National hype

Rachael Blackmore is relishing the opportunity to become the first female jockey to win the Grand National, but the Irish rider is not getting carried away by the hype generated by her record-breaking effort at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Blackmore had six wins at Cheltenham and was the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle, with Honeysuckle, before finishing second at the Gold Cup behind Minella Indo, ridden by Jack Kennedy.

Her dominant displays have caused bookmakers to slash the odds of her triumphing at Britain’s most iconic steeplechase this week, although the 31-year-old remains firmly grounded.

“I just try not to get too wrapped up in it,” Blackmore told the Jockey Club. “It’s a great three days and I’m looking forward to going there.

“Things are different this year, but Cheltenham was a success for the Irish so hopefully we can do the same in Aintree.

“When you’re riding in the National, I think you allow yourself to picture yourself winning. I feel like the feeling of it actually happening is completely different to what you can imagine, so I try not to think about it too much.”

Blackmore has attributed her recent success to her partnership with Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead.

“Getting into Henry’s yard brought me to a whole new level,” said Blackmore, who is set to ride De Bromhead’s Minella Times at the annual festival at Aintree.

“He’s established a very strong team of horses and I’m a part of it, which is an unbelievable position to be in.”

Blackmore has already rewritten the history books, but she still feels she has plenty to offer.

“I think you’re always getting better,” she added. “I was a bit late to the party so I’ve got some more tuning to do yet.”

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge/ Reuters

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