It was inevitable that a female jockey would one day win the Grand National, but Saturday’s stunning victory for the incomparable duo of trainer Henry De Bromhead and Rachel Blackmore aboard Minella Times was the stuff of fairy tales.
Blackmore has ice running through her veins and, looking at the race again on Sunday morning, she had her mount in the perfect position throughout the four-and-a-quarter miles. Luck will always place a part in the great race and my immediate reaction was that Any Second Now was slightly unlucky, but it seems churlish to concentrate on anything other than the brilliance of Blackmore and De Bromhead.
I suggested on Friday that it did not look a vintage National. I was completely wrong.
It was a great race which put the icing on an extraordinary couple of months for Blackmore and especially De Bromhead. The immediate thought was that Blackmore’s success would open the floodgates to a host of top-class female jockey’s in Britain and Ireland, but trainer and breeder Ted Walsh suggested on Luck On Sunday yesterday that there is no budding Rachel Blackmore on the horizon in Ireland and I cannot think of one in Britain although Bryony Frost remains a top-class jockey. On reflection, it is possible that we may have to wait some time to see her like again.
More mundane stuff today at Huntingdon but I hope to see Loughan (2.00) make a winning chase debut in a first-time tongue tie for Dan and Harry Skelton who, at the time of writing, trails Brian Hughes by two in the race for the jockey’s title. The form of his third at Taunton over hurdles has been franked by the win of the runner up Chez Hans while the winner – Copperless – fell two out at Aintree on Friday when, seemingly, going best. His ability to cope with the larger obstacles must be taken on trust but 9/2 with BetVictor looks fair.
The Skeltons’ have several excellent opportunities on the card but Go Steady (3.30) looks to have a gilt-edged opportunity in the handicap chase over 2m 3f. The selection won over C&D on soft ground from an 8lbs lower mark back in February and his third at Sandown last time is good form with the winner – Five Star Getaway – rated 30lbs higher in the weights.
Go Steady has won on good to soft ground but does have to show he can cope with conditions described as good on Sunday morning. There was Evens available on Sunday morning but he is a best price of 5/6 with William Hill at the time of posting.
There are three last time out winners in the field for the 3m Handicap Chase including Stylish Dancer (4.00) who was very impressive when scoring at Warwick from an 11lbs lower mark last time. Connections immediately nominated a Mares’ only race at Cheltenham on Thursday as her next target, but she only has 9st 8lbs for that race and it will be interesting to see if she takes up that engagement if successful this afternoon. The mare is Evens with 10Bet.
In the Mile handicap for 3-y-olds at Windsor I hope to see Komore (4.10) make a winning turf debut. Hugo Palmer’s filly wears blinkers as she can be a little keen, but she is bred to be at least as effective on turf and is well drawn in stall three. If Callum Shepherd can get her switched off, then I feel she is potentially very well treated off a mark of 69. The ew recommendation is 6/1 with MansionBet 4 places.
A draw in stall ten is less than ideal for Sycamore (4.40) but I hope to see Oisin Murphy gets his mount into a decent position before the first tun and come home strongly. The gelding attracted market support on all three starts last year and the step up to a mile should suit this son of Kingman. There was 6s available over the weekend which was wrong and the selection is a best price of 5/2 with 10Bet at the time of posting.