This year, Rachael Blackmore famously etched her place into the history of horse racing by becoming the first female jockey to win the Grand National. She also claimed the prestigious Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham Festival and only narrowly missed out on winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup on A Plus Tard as Minella Indo won the race.
Unfortunately, when you become the golden girl of the sport, every horse in the paddock now wants to pair up with Blackmore for the 2021/22 season. It’s not quite Love Island, and she won’t be pulled for a horrendously cheesy chat by the fire pit, but the horses in the paddock will be doing their utmost to prove that they’re worthy of riding with Blackmore with the lure of the top prizes in the National Hunt on offer in the next campaign.
If you bet on horse racing you’ll know that Minella Times is already one of the leading contenders to repeat his success of last season, aiming to join a select company of competitors to win back-to-back Nationals. Minella Times already has a headstart on many of his rivals in attempting to lure Blackmore in the saddle for the Grand National next season, providing the jockey with a chance to accomplish what few have done in the past to secure back-to-back victories.
Minella Times cannot afford to rest on his laurels after his victory last season. He cannot get comfortable and allow his weight and performance to balloon. He has to keep himself lean and mean ahead of the National in April because Blackmore won’t be short on offers when she herself regains fitness.
One horse that can rule itself out of contention in Blackmore’s good graces is Merry Poppins. Blackmore suffered a serious injury after falling from the horse in Killarney. It’s going to take more than a spoonful of sugar to convince Blackmore to get back in the saddle on Merry Poppins, with the injury requiring surgery. Let’s just hope that the 32-year-old received a lot of flowers and grapes after going under the knife. Hopefully, she can be fit in time for the start of the new campaign.
A Plus Tard has to get himself into shape. Second is not good enough in the eyes of Blackmore after their near-miss at the Gold Cup. She will also want to become the first female jockey to win the signature prize at Cheltenham. A Plus Tard is one of the top contenders in the horse racing predictions to win the Gold Cup in 2022, but Blackmore will want to see more from the charge, especially considering that she had a great relationship with Minella Indo, who won the race last season but was placed into the hands of Jack Kennedy by trainer Henry de Bromhead.
There will be a slew of horses doing their best to impress Blackmore next time she enters De Bromhead’s yard. There will be plenty of charges demanding new shoes and their manes trimmed for her next visit. She is the dominant jockey on the scene at the moment and Blackmore will want to keep it that way next term. The 32-year-old has the pick of the paddock and few will want to disappoint her.