Rachael Blackmore wants to create even more history at this year’s Cheltenham Festival aboard the A Plus Tard at the WellChild Gold Cup.
Becoming the first rider to win the Champion hurdle when she steered the brilliant Honeysuckle mare to success on Tuesday, then the duo at Cheltenham on both Wednesday and Thursday, the 31-year-old will bring even bigger titles if she can land a blue belt aboard Honeysuckle’s barn on Friday .
Plus Tard certainly has strong pretensions to coach Henry de Bromhead and Cheveley Park Stud owners, who beat Chacun Pour Soi by more than two miles at first-level level and proved their endurance over three miles with a recent success at the exciting Savills Chase in Leopardstown.
De Bromhead said: “There aren’t a lot of horses that can win class one over two miles and be in the picture of the Golden Cup – the Kauto Star would be one.
“He stayed great in Leopardstown and looked like he needed every inch, so I hope everything goes well for him.
“It’s going to be a shooting race and very competitive as you’d expect.”
Blackmore said, “He has an amazing opportunity. Al Boum Photo is a horse to be defeated, but we will do our best.”
Blackmore isn’t the only female rider in the Golden Cup field, with Bryony Frost wishing further success in the big race at Frodon.
Frost became the first woman to win class one over jumps at the festival when Frodon, coached by Paul Nicholls, landed Ryanair Chase 2019, while the partnership was recently combined and won King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, another first.
Frost and Frodon together won eight races, five of them at Cheltenham.
Frost said: “I would like it to continue to dry, because we are winning more than two and a half miles at speed, and that will help his jumping. It may not help some others either.
“The three biggest races on our calendar are King George, Gold Cup and Grand National. To say we beat King George and go to the Gold Cup – that’s huge.
“He’s huge for my career. Because of Paul and Mr. Vogt who kept me with so many runs, I’m very grateful. He’s someone extremely special who I gallop with.
“He’s probably doing better in Cheltenham than I am, and he’s probably pulling a little to the left in Kempton. He loves this track, this is his playground.”
As for Blackmore’s victory in the hurdles champion and her own efforts for history, she said: “Every year someone triumphs and makes history. We were not born knowing, we discovered how we passed.
“Rachael and Honeysuckle are great to watch, they seem created for each other, and Tuesday was a mega moment.
“It’s not just me and Rachael in the Golden Cup, however, there are 12 of us and we all know our tactics as well. That’s what makes fun, finding those inches.
“Watching old videos of Cheltenham giants, shiver. I remember when I was very young and I went to Toby Balding to pat Morley Street and I thought he was as tall as a skyscraper. Those moments when you meet giants stay with you it comes down to those horses and that’s why we love that sport. “
Nicholls said: “Frodon and Bryony are a match made in heaven – they get along especially well.
“Running suits him, but he doesn’t have to run. When he won some of those good handicaps at Cheltenham earlier, especially during the short trip, he got a little lead and that suited him.
“Jump into the race. You can ride it as you find it – and if the ground is better, some of those horses that are a little more one-way could struggle a little.
“We were very lucky to have won the Gold Cup four times with Kauto Star (twice), Denman and See More Business. It was a fantastic race for us and I would love to win it again.”