Rachael Blackmore is creating a defining legacy in horse racing
Rachael Blackmore has achieved all there is to achieve in jumps horse racing after enhancing her legacy with a brilliant ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup to win the event.
Blackmore took to the saddle with A Plus Tard, who was the favourite for the race, but still put forward a dominant outing to ensure that her charge won by 15 lengths ahead of his nearest rival. The success capped an outstanding week for the Irishwoman at Cheltenham as she claimed her second Champion Hurdle crown in a row along with a victory in the Turners Novices’ Chase.
Blackmore missed out on winning top jockey of the Festival as Paul Townend bested her efforts, but she still finished with another three major victories. Blackmore will now attempt to go one further by adding a second Grand National to her list of accomplishments. The 32-year-old became the first female jockey to win the event on the back of Minella Times last season. She will likely team up with De Bromhead and Minella Times again, with the horse being backed at 16/1 in the Grand National Odds to win the National.
It is arguably the biggest challenge of Blackmore’s career to usher Minella Times to a second victory in the prestigious race at Aintree, but she has proven that she can make the difference with her skill in the saddle. Blackmore timed the surge to perfection from her charge last season to beat out a talented field even though Minella Times was not the favourite.
Her composure and skill was evident again at Cheltenham Festival when she faced off against Townend and Galopin Des Champs in the Turners Novices’ Chase with Bob Olinger. Although she and her charge were beaten for pace, Townend’s leap with Galopin Des Champs on the final fence was poor and forced the horse to fall. Whereas Bob Olinger and Blackmore sailed over to ensure the victory.
Bob Olinger wins the Galopin Turners Novices’ Chase 😲
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) March 17, 2022
Blackmore is carving out a legacy as one of the great jockeys of all-time, and has certainly pushed the claim for more female jockeys to be given rides on the premier horses out of the leading yards. De Bromhead has trusted Blackmore with his top competitors and has not been disappointed by the outcome over the last three years. The Irish tandem have swept up all the leading prizes in the National Hunt in the United Kingdom and many more on home soil.
Given the talent emerging out of De Bromhead’s yard, their success will only continue in the coming years or as long as Blackmore chooses to take to the saddle. She did suffer a serious injury last summer when she was unseated by Merry Poppins at Killarney. Blackmore sustained a fractured ankle and hip injury as a result of the fall, but she displayed the resilience and toughness to return to action just months later. Blackmore was rewarded almost immediately with a victory with A Plus Tard in the Lancashire Chase, and then further down the line at Cheltenham. Another victory at the National would put the icing on the cake.