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Rachael Blackmore becomes the first ever woman to win the Grand National

"I don’t even feel human right now" says Tipp-born Blackmore

Rachael Blackmore wins the Grand National aboard Minella Times

Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore has become the first woman ever to win the Grand National at Aintree, aboard Minella Times.

Minella Times pulled clear on the final straight.

“I don’t even feel human right now,” Tipperary-born Blackmore said after her victory.

Blackmore told ITV Racing: "I just cannot believe it. He was an absolutely sensational spin.

"What [trainer] Henry de Bromhead does with these horses, I don't know! I'm so lucky to be riding them, I just cannot believe I'm after winning the Grand National. This is unbelievable."

Blackmore was full of praise for Minella Times, one of seven horses in the race owned by JP McManus - among them Any Second Now.

Blackmore added: "He was just incredible, he jumped beautifully.

"I was trying to wait for as long as I could - when we jumped the last and I asked him for a bit, he was there. It's just incredible.

"I don't feel male or female right now - I don't even feel human. This is just unbelievable."

Blackmore has broken down one of the biggest gender barriers in sports by becoming the first female jockey to win the gruelling Grand National horse race.

Blackmore, 31, rode Minella Times to victory at odds of 11-1 at Aintree on Saturday in the 173rd running of the famous race.

Female jockeys have only been allowed to enter and race in the National since 1975, when the Sex Discrimination Act was passed.

Blackmore has become the new face of British and Irish horse racing. Three weeks ago, she became the first woman to finish as the leading jockey at the prestigious Cheltenham Festival.

Blackmore led home a one-two for trainer Henry de Bromhead, winning at 11-1 from 100-1 runner-up Balko Des Flos.

The Irish jockey bided her time before challenging and leading two out en route to even greater glory at Aintree.

Aidan Coleman partnered Balko Des Flos - and Any Second Now was third for trainer Ted Walsh, with Willie Mullins' Burrows Saint finishing fourth to complete a clean sweep for Irish horses.

Blackmore previously encouraged young riders to follow their dreams, as she never imagined making it as far as she has.

The 31-year-old was dubbed the ‘Queen of Cheltenham’ after winning six races, becoming the first female jockey to claim a Champion Hurdle and being named the leading jockey at the festival.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland last month, the Tipperary jockey said: “When I was in pony club I never thought I could be a Rachael Blackmore.

“So, I think for all of them [young riders] they should just dream however they want to, it can be achieved.

“If you work hard and you get the opportunities anything can happen.”

Blackmore has previously said she believes gender is irrelevant when it comes to racing, but said she is lucky to be in a sport where “gender isn’t an issue”.

"I suppose when I came into racing Katie and Nina [Walsh and Carberry] had already broken that barrier for me and they never made a big deal out of it, so I just continued on with their ethos,” she said.

"I feel inside racing it's not a big deal, maybe in the outside world it is but we are very lucky to be involved in a sport where gender isn’t an issue or made any deal about, so I’m very grateful for racing in that sense.”

The Tipperary native grew up on a dairy farm and her love of horses began here at a very young age.

"I grew up on a farm surrounded by ponies and my parents trucked me and my brother and sister around the country to pony club events and hunting,” she said.

“I always loved horses and ponies, they have given me some of the best days of my life.”

When asked if she is ever fearful while riding horses that are racing at incredible speeds, Ms Blackmore said “no”, and if a jockey does think this way, it probably shouldn’t be their job.

"I think if you’re a jockey and you’re thinking about what could go wrong it's probably time to not be a jockey as your profession,” she said.

"Being fearful is not something you can have on your brain when you are doing our job.”

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