Rachael Blackmore: Jockey reflects on Cheltenham’s historic victory with Honeysuckle


Rachael Blackmore
Honeysuckle was the fourth Cheltenham Festival win in Rachael Blackmore’s career
Dates: 16.-19. Martha Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse Races: 13: 20-16: 50 GMT Main race: 15:05
Coverage: Comments BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, significant Radio 5 live races. Racing maps, live text, results and reports on the BBC Sport website and app

Jockey Rachael Blackmore said she hopes her historic triumph could inspire others after winning the championship hurdle at Cheltenham at Honeysuckle.

She is the first woman to drive away the winner of the championship race since Tuesday.

“There is no longer an agreement to be a female jockey. If you want to be a jockey, you can be a jockey, drive on,” said Irish rider Blackmore (31).

“Young people, if you want to do something, do it. For me who’s standing right now, anything can happen.”

Honeyuckle trainer Henry de Bromhead welcomed the combination of rider and horse – the undefeated mare nailed his 11th consecutive victory.

“Rachael is a great rider on any horse, and Eagle’s Claws are just brilliant horses. The combination is deadly – it’s the perfect storm,” he said.

The rise of Rachael Blackmore

The daughter of a dairy farmer and school teacher, she traveled a long way as a child from her Tipperary ponies, and herself inspired her by visiting the three-time obstacle course winner Istabraqu.

“We went to visit Istabraq on a school tour. I never assumed when we went to see him that I would ride the winner of the Champion Obstacle,” she said.

“When every person becomes a jockey, he dreams of riding in Cheltenham and all that stuff, but riding a winner like this is amazing.”

Blackmore once considered becoming a veterinarian, earning a degree in horse science, and combining her studies with riding and competition as an amateur before becoming a professional in 2015.

She has continued to be a silent pioneer – in the last two seasons she has finished among the top three in the Irish Jockey Championship, and is currently second this season, with just six winners behind Paul Townend.

Honeysuckle is owned by Kenny Alexander, who as CEO took over the parent company Ladbrokes and Coral from £ 26 billion to £ 4.5 billion, until he retired last year.

The only shame for him was that he could not personally cheer for the victory – the meeting is being held behind closed doors due to the restrictions of the coronavirus.

“People are what make Cheltenham,” Blackmore added. “Fair play for everyone here, they cheered when we got back, it’s still very special, but it’s definitely not the usual Cheltenham from long ago. We hope to see them here next year.”

Tiger Roll finale? – The most important events on Wednesday

Tiger reel
Tiger Roll, who has won four Cheltenham festivals, will not run for Grand National next month

The focus shifts to the rising star and some old favorites on the second day of the festival on Wednesday.

Chacun Pour Soi, who was pulled late last year by coach Willie Mullins, is a favorite in the Chase of Queen Mother Champion.

Rivals are last year’s winner Politologue, coached by Paul Nicholls, and Nube Negra, who will be saddled by Nicholls ’former assistant Dan Skelton.

Double Grand National winner Tiger Roll is running at Cross Country Chase for Denise ‘Sneezy’ Foster, who has taken the reins while Gordon Elliott is serving a six-month ban.

Owner Michael O’Leary has suggested that the horse could be withdrawn after this year’s race in which it seeks its fifth festival triumph.

He hopes to narrow the gap on last year’s winner Easysland, a French challenger who beat Tiger Roll by 17 lengths in 2020.

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