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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Robert Hynes

Rachael Blackmore recovered from two falls to ride in Irish Grand National

Rachael Blackmore recovered from two falls to ride in the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday.

The Tipperary jockey suffered a heavy fall when she parted company with 25/1 shot Rioga Choice on Easter Sunday and found herself on the ground again just over 24 hours later when Kapard was a faller in the McInerney Properties Fairyhouse Chase.

But Blackmore was fine to ride Amirite in the Irish Grand National some 40 minutes after parting company with Kapard for trainer Henry de Bromhead.

READ MORE: Paul Townend shines on I Am Maximus to win first Boylesports Irish Grand National

The seven-year-old was heavily backed ahead of the 3m5f race and ended up going off the 11/2 favourite having been available at odds of 14/1 on Easter Monday morning.

But Amirite struggled in the big race and dropped to the rear of the 27-runner field before eventually being pulled up before the 15th fence, with only six horses going on to finish the €500,000 contest, which was won by the Willie Mullins-trained I Am Maximus under a brilliant ride by Paul Townend.

Ridden patiently in among the field of 27, the JP McManus-owned gelding looked set to finish out of the placings – but came to the fore as contenders dropped away and he was ridden to get into contention over the penultimate fence.

Over the last he jumped his way into third place and then battled past long-time leader Defi Bleu and Gevrey to prevail by a length.

Townend said: “It was looking unlikely for a long way. I just tried to get him back popping.

“He was too slow jumping down the inside. I wanted to keep horses outside of me but it cut me out of the race so I had to let him go left and bank on one at the last.

“You never write off one of Willie’s, but it was certainly a lot harder work than it normally is riding for him!

“This is a very special race. It’s huge to win this. You need so much luck. I finished second here a few years back (on Away We Go in 2013) and my record besides that wasn’t great.

“I thought Gaillard Du Mesnil was my best chance in it last year and he ran well to finish third. I’m very fortunate that this lad popped up and that it worked out in the end.”

David Casey, assistant to to Mullins, added: “It was absolutely unbelievable. I don’t have the words, I thought it was absolutely brilliant.

“We know how good a rider Paul is anyway, I didn’t think he could better Galopin Des Champs from Cheltenham but I thought that was amazing.

“He wasn’t travelling, he didn’t seem to be enjoying it down the inside in the crowd. Paul just kept persevering, kept galvanising and kept saving and kept him jumping.

“He has his quirks and I thought it was an unbelievable ride.

“He does idle a little bit when he gets to the front and he does jump a little bit left. Paul was brilliant and the horse obviously had the ability to go and do it as well.”


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