If, encouraged by the bookies, you’re thinking of jumping on the Rachael bandwagon by backing her to win the Randox Health Grand National in the Minella Times on Saturday, then unfortunately you’re a year too late. You had better donate the money to charity or spend it on a lottery ticket.
Last year, Rachael Blackmore made sporting history when she became the first jockey to win the race, a result previously only achieved in Enid Bagnold’s rather far-fetched novel National Velvet, in whose Hollywood film Elizabeth Taylor was cast as Velvet Brown. the winning jockey.
But while Tiger Roll, who won in 2018 and 2019, and before him Red Rum in 1973 and 1974, are the rare exceptions that prove the rule, the best chance for a jockey to be back-to-back National Champion is not by riding the winning horse of the previous year.
That’s what happened to Leighton Aspell when he won it in 2014 with Pineau De Re and a year later with Many Clouds. That year Pineau De Re finished the field in 12th place and it was fortunate for Aspell that he was claimed by Oliver Sherwood to drive Many Clouds. Likewise Bryan Marshall, who won in 1953 with Early Mist and in 1954 with Royal Tan.
While national winners often come back and do well – think West Tip, Corbiere, Party Politics, Don’t Push It and Hedgehunter – they generally either carry too much weight, don’t enjoy quite the same fortune, aren’t quite on the same page or meet a younger, more handicapped competitor. Loyalty to anything might be a bit of an old-fashioned concept these days, but it would be very difficult for Blackmore to get off Minella Times, the horse that delivered her biggest day, and she wouldn’t want to either.
But even if she does run on water like she is currently doing, she would likely have a better chance of winning this year’s National riding Henry de Bromhead’s other runner, Poker Party, or one of JP McManus’ other five runners .
In reality, Minella Times is ridiculously underrated for a second National, having failed to complete the course in two games this season, including a crashing crash the first time.
Going into the race he wasn’t in the same shape he was a year ago when he didn’t fail in the first two of three starts. It looks like even De Bromhead, the man who coached Honeysuckle to win 15 straight races, is struggling to get him back on track.
Additionally, he would have thought he was loose with 10.3lbs on his back last year compared to now that he’s being banged at a peak of 11.10lbs. That will require him to pull off the best weight-carrying performance since Red Rum carried 12th place in 1974. Even Tiger Roll, in his second National, carried only 11.5lbs.
When I won the National with Mr. Frisk in 1990, I was on solid ground. A year later he wasn’t quite in the same shape despite winning a few small races and as the rain continued we discussed pulling him out.
About five days before the race the Sporty life published a spoof article on April Fool’s Day stating that Tracey Bailey, trainer Kim Bailey’s then-wife who rode Mr. Frisk for all his homework, would be riding him at the National.
John Webber, not noticing the date and offended on my behalf that I had been “hounded up,” called to see if I could ride Aunt Dot in the race.
Of course I could never have failed Mr. Frisk, but there’s a little mercenary in everyone and that says I should have; she finished third while I pulled up at Becher’s second time.
If a bitch is going to win this year’s National, it will be one of the two mares – that’s the train to ride this time. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)
Telegraph Media Group Limited 
https://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/national-history-not-on-side-of-blackmore-and-minella-times-41532041.html National history not on side of Blackmore and Minella Times