"She's so professional. She'll know everything about every horse and every jockey riding in that race" 2 weeks ago

"She's so professional. She'll know everything about every horse and every jockey riding in that race"

Henry De Bromhead was only coming to terms with a barnstorming Cheltenham when he went and won the Aintree Grand National.

It really has been a sensational season for the Waterford trainer, who having been the subject of more victory interviews than he could ever have imagined, says that his well of superlatives has by this stage run dry.

On the list of bug-bears for elite sportspeople, that's not a bad complaint to have.

For De Bromhead, it all kicked off when Honeysuckle, the apple of his eye, stormed up the Cheltenham hill to obliterate her Champion Hurdle rivals. The wins kept on coming with Put The Kettle On, Bob Olinger, Quillixios and Tellmesomethingirl passing the post in front but when Minella Indo led home A Plus Tard for a De Bromhead 1-2 in the Gold Cup, that's when things became really ridiculous.

And ridiculous things would remain. That De Bromhead-Blackmore partnership was only getting going with Minella Times and Balko De Flos first and second home in the most iconic steeplechase of all just a fortnight ago. This is a season for that will go down in the books.

"The whole thing is surreal," says the Knockeen based handler, as he looks ahead to potentially more success at the Punchestown festival which begins next Tuesday.

"I was just getting my head around Cheltenham, and then to go and win the national, even just to say it seems ridiculous. We've been flat out since, so we've only watched the National back once or twice and the time that we're in too, it means there's not much celebrating which is better for my liver anyhow! If it was a normal Cheltenham, I'm not sure if I'd have even seen Aintree," the man of the moment says with a laugh.

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"Everyone gets a run, it's incredible that ours has happened like this. We've been building for years, surrounded by a brilliant team at home, years of experience between them all and a great work ethic in each and every one. Our owners have been brilliant backing us, and brilliant jockeys too. So it's a combination of a lot of different things..."

But the most telling factor of all, apart from De Bromhead himself, is the Rachael Blackmore factor. The Killenuale woman has had the midas touch all year long and according to her partner in crime, that's down to a work-ethic that never, ever rests.

"In the national it was like she was seeing around corners. She was seeing problems before they even came. She's brilliant to work with, just has a brilliant work-ethic. She knows how hard you have to work to succeed. She gets on great with everyone and she rides winners. We feel so very lucky to have her..."

It will be at the end of May when Blackmore takes to France, to ride in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, the country's most iconic race, and De Bromhead uses the occasion and her preparation for it as an example of how she has made it to where she is.

"She's so professional, she'll have all her homework done. She'll know everything about every horse, and every jockey riding in that race. Have no doubt. She's probably one of the best around now too so it can only be positive."

Rachael Blackmore, an overnight success that has only come around because of a lifetime's work.