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Minella Times, National hero, retired after setback.

Minella Times, the horse with which Rachael Blackmore became the first woman to ride the Grand National winner, has been retired due to a setback.

The 10-year-old horse, who was being trained by Henry de Bromhead, was getting ready for the Aintree show once more. However, a problem got so bad that he couldn’t make the April date, so connections decided to end his career.

In the 2020-21 season, the gelding owned by JP McManus made rapid progress. He finished second in two of the biggest handicaps at Leopardstown before winning on Merseyside.

He gained 13 pounds in preparation for that victory, but he continued to struggle and was disqualified from the Valentine’s Day race last year on the first circuit.

Not surprising, Blackmore will always remember that famous Liverpool afternoon.

She told Betfair: “It’s a day I will never forget.

“He is such a special horse to a lot of people, now he will get to enjoy a wonderful well deserved retirement in Martinstown (McManus’ stud in Ireland).

“Henry and all the team in Knockeen did such an incredible job with him and I will always be grateful for that.”

McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry said: “We were looking forward to going to the cross-country at Cheltenham with him and back to the National, but he had a mishap – he hurt his shoulder.

“He might need an operation on it to make him comfortable in retirement. It’s just disappointing.

“He gave us a great day. It’s a real shame because Henry was very happy with him and we were looking forward to getting him back for the cross-country and the National again.

“The handicapper hit him very hard for winning the National and he struggled last year, but he had dropped back down a bit so it’s just unfortunate he’s had the accident. Hopefully he’ll be fine to have a good retirement.

“The season he won the National Henry had him in great form, he put up two great performances at Leopardstown before Aintree and everything went smoothly there.

“He got a great ride from Rachael on the day and it was a day none of us will every forget.”

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