Rachael Blackmore made history yet again on Friday when she won the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the first time as the first female jockey.
Blackmore makes History
The 32-year-old Irish rider added to his Grand National victory last year by winning the most coveted award in jump racing aboard A Plus Tard. Blackmore said: “I’m so lucky. I can’t believe it is not even 12 months since the Grand National happened.”
Blackmore is the first rider to complete the Champion Hurdle-Gold Cup double since Sir Anthony McCoy in 1997, having won the 2021 Champion Hurdle on Honeysuckle on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.
Blackmore said: “I don’t know how and why I am so lucky to be in the position I am in. What with Honeysuckle this week winning her Champion Hurdle, I wish I had better English to describe how I feel to be honest because it is overwhelming.”
When the 2021 Festival was held behind closed doors due to Covid, Blackmore was the leading jockey, riding six victories. Her third win in a row on A Plus Tard came yesterday.
Blackmore, who had brought her father, brother, and sister over from Ireland to support her, added: “Cheltenham is such a special place but it is so special because of the atmosphere and the people. To have that roar back and to get to walk back in when you can’t see space and you can just see bodies is just incredible.”
Racing’s Golden Girl
Last year’s Gold Cup saw A Plus Tard finish second behind Henry de Bromhead-trained stablemate Minella Indo after Blackmore had picked the wrong ride. She stated she was left with a dejected expression but was determined to learn tactically.
Last year’s length-and-a-quarter defeat by Minella Indo was turned into a 15-length victory by riding a more patient race and deferring her challenge.
Blackmore’s name is well-known outside of the sporting world. A Plus Tard’s victory was part of an Irish complete sweep on the last day of the tournament. Willie Mullins won five of the seven races, giving him a total of ten for the week and 88 for his career at the Festival. Another Festival record was set on the final day when 73,875 people attended.