GERALDINE REES: Since becoming the first female jockey to finish the Grand National I’ve been waiting for this day… I couldn’t be more thrilled for Rachael Blackmore
- Rachael Blackmore’s win was something everyone needed to see happen
- The first female Grand National winner is an incredibly special day for racing
- It’s a shame Blackmore did not get the roar of the crowds alongside her win
For almost 40 years since I became the first female jockey to finish the Grand National I’ve watched and waited for this day to come and I couldn’t be more thrilled for Rachael Blackmore.
This is such a special day for racing, such a special day for everyone and something that we all needed to see happen.
She’s made history for heaven’s sake and was I cheering her to the line? Absolutely I was. I couldn’t be any happier.
Rachael Blackmore’s Grand National win was something that we all needed to see happen
Rachael gave Minella Times such a brilliant ride but then we shouldn’t be surprised by that because she’s a brilliant jockey.
The quick ground was a worry because horses tend to go a bit quicker and struggle to see out the trip, and there were doubts anyway over whether Minella would get the distance.
But Rachael was relaxed, never got over-excited, and the horse was able to lob along and once they got to The Elbow it never looked in doubt.
Rachael said she didn’t feel female, she didn’t feel male, she didn’t even feel human. Well, I think she’s superhuman.
Geraldine Rees riding Cheers at the 1982 Grand National, and the first female jockey to finish
What she did at Cheltenham, what she’s done at Aintree, it’s incredible and it is a great day for women’s racing.
Was I a trailblazer all those years ago? I’m not so sure about that. I’m still so, so proud of what I did in 1982 when Cheers and I crossed the line and I became the first female jockey to finish.
It was a tremendous thrill back then and I could not get over the roars of the crowd. It’s a shame Rachael didn’t get that.
But that was a different time. These girls today are very different jockeys, thoroughly professional, not like someone like me 40 years ago.
Rachael gave Minella Times such a brilliant ride at Aintree because she’s a brilliant jockey
Jockeys have improved so much over 40 years, setting the bar higher and higher. When AP McCoy came along, he was the ultimate professional and set new standards. And those standards have kept rising; they all ride so well, including the girls.
We had good jockeys in my day but some of these, like Rachael, are exceptional. She’s in a class of her own, a brilliant rider and an inspiration for all women.
This is such an amazing moment. We all needed a lift because we’ve been in such a dark, terrible time and what Rachael did at Aintree, over those famous fences and in this wonderful old race, will have lifted the whole nation.