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Saratoga Opening Day
Horse racing is such a popular sport world-wide and one of the most followed races in the calendar is the Grand National, which recently took place at Aintree, as much of the world watched on. It is such a key sporting event and even more so in racing, with the Grand National Favourites 2021 being the likes of Cloth Cap and a long list of Irish runners, which as expected came in for a lot of support, following their remarkable success just a few weeks previous at the Cheltenham Festival.
Cloth Cap was the overwhelming favourite heading into the contest, which also saw him made one of the shortest priced favourites in the history of the race. He appeared to be in the perfect spot throughout the race and was travelling and jumping with ease but suddenly flattened and was ultimately pulled up at the 28th fence.
The race however was developing to be all about the Irish, who are currently dominating the National Hunt season, which they showed at the Cheltenham Festival. They then continued this moving into the Grand National, as they saddled the first five runners home and virtually every runner that finished this race was also trained in Ireland.
The winner was eight-year-old Minella Times. He entered the race following two second place finishes early this season at much shorter trips. Minella Times was also trained by Henry DeBromhead and also ridden by Rachael Blackmore, who could not have been in better form and also came in for a lot of support heading into the contest. It turned out to be another record breaking race for Blackmore, who timed it perfectly, as the horse cleared away to win by 6 1/2 lengths, with stablemate Balko Des Flos chasing them home at huge odds. This victory also meant that Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the race and it also followed on from her winning the top jockey title at the Cheltenham Festival just a few weeks before. It will now be fascinating to see if she can continue this remarkable form for the coming years and it has certainly been the shining light for the sport this year.
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