De Bromhead's dream continues at Grand National - and he's not waking up anytime soon


First the 'Holy Trinity' at Cheltenham and now an Aintree 1-2 for the red-hot trainer

Saturday, April 10, 2021
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De Bromhead and Blackmore: the all-star duo of 2021


Trainers dream of winning the Gold Cup and the Grand National in their career, but it is beyond their wildest to achieve both in the same year, writes Bradley West.

And that’s where Henry de Bromhead comes in.

A shrewd trainer, who took over at his father’s County Waterford yard in 1999, de Bromhead has always been respected and admired for the way he has built his stable from tiny acorns.

But nobody, perhaps not even Henry himself, could have expected to obtain the success that he now has.

A remarkable year capped by a first Grand National success, achieved with a 1-2 as Minella Times led Balko Des Flos home.

Rachael Blackmore will, rightly, get all the headlines but de Bromhead’s success befits the man – quiet, understated but ever-present. 

“It's just brilliant, a lot's down to Rachael and she was just brilliant on him today,” said De Bromhead.

“She hardly left the rail, she was just brilliant on him and it's brilliant to get it for the McManus family. I'm over the moon. And Balko Des Flos was brilliant as well.

“She rode her way into these positions and we're so lucky to have her. I just hope she doesn't become a prima donna, perhaps I'll start having to massage her ego.

“Any Second Now looked a bit unlucky with his passage and he was coming back at us. She [Blackmore] got a great passage all the way round and a lot of luck on our side. 

“We put some fairly makeshift things together [fences at home], but it seems to have helped. He’s such a brilliant jumper, he was so good all the way.”

In the space of three short weeks de Bromhead has gone from a good trainer to a great one, in the process achieving feats that may never be replicated.

At Cheltenham, he became the first trainer to win the Festival’s ‘Holy Trinity’ - the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and the Gold Cup - in the same year.

That Gold Cup was achieved with a 1-2 too, Minella Indo beating A Plus Tard, and another Minella extended his dream run.

To put today’s Grand National 1-2 into context, it is only the second time a trainer has achieved the feat and the first for 113 years since Fred Withington made history with Rubio and Mattie Macgregor.

And it was achieved in smart fashion, with Blackmore riding the perfectly patient race to outstay all her rivals amid the carnage.

Pre-race favourite Cloth Cap came and went, one of 15 contenders to pull up, while further threats Any Second Now and Burrows Saint threatened but never quite got close to the winner.

If there were any thoughts that Ireland’s dominance at Cheltenham was just a fluke those have likely been dismissed now, the top five in the National all trained on the Emerald Isle.

“It looked like Rachael had the race won at the last, but we all know how that can change,” De Bromhead added. 

“Any Second Now looked a bit unlucky with his passage and he started to come back at us and obviously Balko was staying on as well.

“Rachael got a great passage all the way round, a lot of luck on her side and he winged fences for her. It was brilliant.

“I thought I was dreaming after Cheltenham so this is amazing, it's incredible and Rachael was unbelievable. It's incredible to do it for the McManus' family and we got a clear run the whole way.

“Rachael is brilliant and we're so lucky to have her, I think they broke the mould with her, what can you say?

“It's a good partnership, you can see from when she joined us how we've gone from strength to strength. She's just a fantastic rider and a lovely person to work with.”

I thought I was dreaming after Cheltenham so this is amazing, it's incredible and Rachael was unbelievable.

- Henry de Bromhead

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