There were no gripes from bookmakers as they paid out on the historic success of Rachael Blackmore in the Randox Grand National.
Some layers were hit harder than others, but their consensus at Aintree was that the victory of Minella Times in the world’s greatest steeplechase was simply a tremendous result for the sport.
Blackmore was the toast of Cheltenham for punters last month, as top jockey at the Festival, and she scaled new heights with her breakthrough triumph in a race watched by millions all around the globe.
Coral spokesman David Stevens said: “Minella Times was backed for the National after Rachael Blackmore was crowned top jockey at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, with his odds halving from 20-1 to 10-1, and on the biggest betting day of the year Rachael’s mount was extremely well-backed by plenty of her fans across the country.
“In making Aintree history, she’s also sparked the biggest ever pay-out on a female rider, but we’ll be paying out with a smile because her achievement is incredible, and worth its weight in gold to the sport of horse racing.”
Ladbrokes spokesman Jon Lees said: “Congratulations to Rachael Blackmore, who realised every young girl’s dream by winning the Grand National – which until today had only been fulfilled by Elizabeth Taylor in the fictional film National Velvet.
“Her deserved success will ensure the 2021 Grand National will be remembered for years – and although she has cost Ladbrokes plenty, the attention her win will bring to the sport will be priceless.”
It had been bad enough for the layers before the National, with the first five favourites on the card being successful.
Betway PR Manager Chad Yeomans said: “After five winning favourites and Rachael Blackmore creating history in the Grand National, it’s safe to say that it’s been a bad day for us.
“Minella Times was a bad result in the book. But overall, it was a great result for racing. After a good first two days at Aintree, it’s definitely been one for the punters today.”
For William Hill, the damage could have been much worse.
“We have dodged a bullet, because we expected Rachael Blackmore to be the worst result in the race,” said spokesman Rupert Adams.
“Fortunately for us she was not – but don’t get me wrong, we will be handing over a serious amount of cash to punters.”
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “Rachael was poetry in motion in making history by becoming the first female to win the world’s most famous steeplechase, but the anticipated huge gamble and pay-out that we had really feared didn’t materialise.
“The race ended in a score-draw between punters and bookies – despite us paying six places, with best odds guaranteed, which added £1million to our pay-out.”