Four years ago, my Dad and I visited my Tipperary relations which is always a treat in my social calendar. Hopefully I will get to do it before year end once this pandemic is kicked into touch for good but onto the post!
The topic always during these visits quickly turns to sport and given my allegiance with Limerick GAA, the banter would flow but we do love the horseracing and on this particular day, there was a race meet from Thurles.
About a hour into the visit, my Uncle Pat arrived in. Pat’s true love are the horses and cue ATR TV channel was on. We watched a masterclass performance from an up and coming Tipperary jockey named Rachael Blackmore.
Uncle Pat looked over to me once Blackmore had won the race and said ‘Rachael is class, Rachael will win big at Cheltenham and Aintree’.
Those words have stuck in my head in the last few weeks. Those words even more poignant given the success Rachael Blackmore has achieved in the sport in recent weeks. Blackmore is front and center the ambassador, the standout personality for horse racing in Ireland and UK right now.
These last few weeks have shown the class and poise of Blackmore in the saddle. She has won races from the back, controlled races in front and led her foes on a merry dance. Her composure and clear decision making to make her move, spot the gap for her horses to have a chance of victory to the forefront.
Yesterday was absolutely no different. Blackmore evaded trouble in the Randox Grand National. Minella Times stuck to the rail throughout saving ground, evading trouble as Blackmore showed her confidence in not engaging with Sam Whalley-Cohen’s mount throughout.
Minella Times was positioned for victory as the race entered the final bend. The Randox Grand National effectively ended in 50 yards after the thirty and last fence. Blackmore asked Minella Times for one more push and the horse responded drawing clear from the rest.
A magnificent training achievement from Henry De Bromhead as well given the first and second places in this race. Ireland saddled ten out of the first eleven horses in the race, more outstanding exploits!
Blackmore’s exploits in recent weeks should not be a surprise. The lady is gifted and with the current roster of lady jockeys outstanding, this first female jockey win is marquee for the race but will not be the last.
Uncle Pat passed away last year, a man who loved his horses and one who was a good judge of a trainer, horse, jockey or stable.
The words from Pat after that Thurles maiden hurdle triumph four years ago have come to fruition. I imagine he was looking down and enthralled by the performances from the Killenaule native!
Congratulations Rachael Blackmore, Henry De Bromhead and Minella Times who was sheer class throughout. Enjoy the celebrations. Exceptional performances, soak it in!