Brennan's Brief | 

If Rachael Blackmore wins the Grand National she deserves to be Irish Sports Personality of the Year

Rachael Blackmore is almost a shoo-in to win Irish Sports Personality of the Year

John Brennan

It speaks volumes for what jockey Rachael Blackmore achieved at Cheltenham last month that she is now a seriously skimpy 1/4 to be RTE’s Irish Sports Personality of the Year 2021.

Another loud shout for her status in the game came from a representative of one big bookies firm a couple of days ago, a man not known for fearing much.

“We’re waiting to see what Rachael rides in the Grand National,” he said, “whatever it is, the price is going to be smashed.”

His words said it all. In the one race of the year where everyone has a bet, while some use a pin, others like the name of a horse or its grey colour, or the colours of the silks the jockey will wear, the bookies were running scared that the sisterhood would get behind Rachael and cause a bloodbath for bookies’ profits when it comes to the biggest betting race of the year by far.

Well, now we know what Rachael is riding. It is Minella Times from the stable of her biggest patron Henry de Bromhead. The horse is already just 10/1 with Paddy Power - expect it to be 8/1 or 7/1 come Saturday lunchtime when the euros, fivers, tenners and scores have rolled onto Rachael as much as the horse.

If it wins, Rachael has won that RTE prize, that’s that. If it loses she’s still a good bet to triumph even in a year when one of our boxers, cyclists, golfers, rowers or show jumpers, or an entire hockey team, might astonish us all in Tokyo at the delayed Olympics.

Never mind the hockey, ironically two of the athletes who might mess Rachael around are also female. Imagine an RTE Sports Personality of the Year podium where the 1-2-3, in your order of choice, are jockey Rachael Blackmore, boxer Kellie Harrington and rower Sanita Puspure. It could happen.

Rachael has never really had a go at this in public, but she does not like being called a female jockey. She’s a jockey. Rachael has ridden a horse to win the Champion Hurdle, she has been Top Jockey at Cheltenham, Paul Townend’s unfortunate injury at Fairyhouse last Sunday means she may well be crowned Ireland’s Champion Jumps Jockey when the season ends on May 1 st.

But if she pilots Minella Times to win the Grand National , the pride of Killenaule in County Tipperary moves into a whole new zone of achievement and public recognition. Don’t bet against her.

Today's Headlines

More Horse Racing

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos