Michael D Higgins leads tributes to Rachael Blackmore following historic Grand National triumph

Michael D Higgins leads tributes to Rachael Blackmore following historic Grand National triumph

THE PRESIDENT of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, has led the tributes to Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore following her historic win at the Grand National.  

Blackmore became the first woman to win the world’s most famous horse race, romping to victory on Minella Time six lengths clear. 

Only the 20th woman to compete in the iconic racing event, the 31-year-old from Killenaule in Co Tipperary had already made history at Cheltenham Festival earlier this year, when she became the first female jockey to partner a winner of the Champion Hurdle. 

She also became the first to win the Ruby Walsh Trophy for leading Cheltenham jockey at that year’s festival. Her victory at the Grand National, however, represents a watershed moment in the sport. 

It was a triumph that drew reactions from across the world of politics and beyond in Ireland. 

President Higgins was among the first to show his appreciation. 

“My congratulations to Rachael Blackmore on an historic achievement at Aintree,” he tweeted.  

“Today’s win is both a personal and sporting success, and comes only a month after her groundbreaking wins at Cheltenham.” 

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin was similarly effusive in his praise. 

“A truly amazing achievement again,” he wrote on Twitter. 

“Ireland is so proud of you becoming the first woman to win the #GrandNational A historic few weeks that will live long in the memory.” 

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald wrote: “Incredible achievement by an incredible woman” while Leo Varadkar tweeted: “Incredible win from Rachael Blackmore, blazing a trail and doing Ireland proud.” 

Elsewhere, Simon Harris wrote: “Congratulations Rachael Blackmore! Making history, doing Ireland proud & inspiring the next generation. Comhghairdea." 

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu, meanwhile, reflected on a day of significance for Irish women, following Trinity College Dublin’s decision to name Professor Linda Doyle their first female Provost and a notable victory in the rugby. 

“’You can't be what you can't see.’” Linda Doyle, Rachael Blackmore and the Irish Ladies Rugby Team have shown our girls you can be anything! A historic day for Irish women,” she wrote.