Rachael Blackmore

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Rachael Blackmore
MBE
OccupationJockey
Born (1989-07-11) 11 July 1989 (age 34)
Killenaule, County Tipperary, Ireland
Major racing wins
Champion Hurdle (2021), (2022)

Grand National (2021)
Irish Champion Hurdle (2020), (2021), (2022)

Cheltenham Gold Cup (2022)
Significant horses
Honeysuckle
Minella Times
A Plus Tard

Rachael Blackmore MBE (born 11 July 1989) is an Irish jockey who competes in National Hunt racing. In 2021, she became the first female jockey to win the Grand National in the 182-year history of the race. She also became the first woman to be leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival with six victories, including the Champion Hurdle, in 2021. The following year she became the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Blackmore's achievements saw her named the 2021 RTÉ Sports Person of the Year and the BBC World Sport Star of the Year.

Early life

The daughter of a teacher and a farmer (Eimir and Charles), Blackmore grew up on a dairy farm in Killenaule, County Tipperary, Ireland, and first started riding ponies at just two years of age. Growing up she took part in pony club meetings, hunting, eventing and pony racing. She gained a degree in equine science at the University of Limerick, while riding out and competing as an amateur jockey.

Career

Blackmore rode her first winner as an amateur jockey on 10 February 2011, when Stowaway Pearl, trained by John Joseph "Shark" Hanlon, won the Tipperary Ladies’ Handicap Hurdle at Thurles. She turned professional in March 2015, having ridden eleven point-to-point winners and seven winners under the Rules of Racing as an amateur rider. Her first winner as a professional was Most Honourable, trained by Hanlon, at Clonmel on 3 September 2015. In 2017 she became the first woman to win the conditional riders' championship in Ireland.

Blackmore had her first ride in the Grand National in 2018. Her mount, Alpha des Obeaux, trained by Mouse Morris, went off at 33/1 and fell at the fifteenth fence, the Chair.

Her first Cheltenham Festival winner came in 2019 when A Plus Tard landed the Chase Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase. She then gained her first Grade 1 victory when Minella Indo won the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. Both winners were trained by Henry de Bromhead for whom Blackmore was by now riding as stable jockey. In the 2019 Grand National Blackmore finished in tenth place on the de Bromhead-trained 66/1 chance Valseur Lido.

Blackmore's first Grade 1 race victory in Ireland came in April 2019 when Honeysuckle won the Mares' Novice Hurdle Championship Final at Fairyhouse. Blackmore finished the season with 90 winners and took the runner-up spot in the Irish jump racing Champion Jockey competition behind Paul Townend. Honeysuckle provided Blackmore with another Cheltenham Festival win in the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle in 2020. Blackmore finished third in the Irish National Hunt championship during the curtailed 2019–20 season.

In 2021, she achieved two notable firsts at the Cheltenham Festival, becoming the first female jockey to partner a winner of the Champion Hurdle when she rode Honeysuckle to victory and, by finishing with six winners across the four days, became the first female jockey to win the Ruby Walsh Trophy for leading Cheltenham jockey.

On 10 April of the same year, Blackmore rode Minella Times to victory in the 2021 Grand National, becoming the first female jockey to win the race. The gelding, trained by de Bromhead, went off as fourth favourite at 11/1 and, having given Blackmore a "sensational spin", passed the post 6½ lengths in front of stablemate and runner-up Balko Des Flos. Due to COVID-19 protocols, there were no spectators on the course to witness Blackmore's historic victory. Interviewed by ITV after the race, she said: "I don't feel male or female right now. I don't even feel human.... It's unbelievable".

At the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, Blackmore secured a repeat win on Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle and then became the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, riding favourite A Plus Tard to a 15-length victory.

Personal life

As of April 2021, Blackmore is in a relationship with jockey Brian Hayes.

Cheltenham Festival winners (16)

Major wins

Republic of Ireland Ireland


United Kingdom Great Britain

Awards

On 17 December 2021, Blackmore was named The Irish Times' Ireland Sportswoman of the Year 2021. The same week she was crowned Horse Racing Ireland Irish Racing Hero and RTÉ Sports Person of the Year. On 19 December she received the BBC Sports Personality World Sport Star of the Year.

Blackmore was appointed an Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2023 Special Honours for services to sport.

References

  1. ^ "Rachael Blackmore among those celebrating on Saturday". Racing Post. 10 July 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Rachael Blackmore, the 'reluctant heroine' blazing a trail in Irish horse racing". The Irish Times. 8 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Rachael Blackmore: Historic Grand National triumph for modest trailblazer". BBC Sport. 10 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "Jockey profile: Rachael Blackmore". Horse Racing Ireland. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Grand National 2018: Full result, finishers and fallers - where did your horse finish?". BBC Sport. 14 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Grand National 2019: Full result, finishers and fallers - where did your horse finish?". BBC Sport. 6 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Unassuming Rachael Blackmore scales fresh heights to finally take centre stage". The Irish Times. 19 March 2021.
  8. ^ "Guard of honour for Cheltenham heroes as Rachael Blackmore and Jack Kennedy return to action in Thurles". Irish Independent. 20 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Rachael Blackmore wins Grand National on Minella Times". BBC Sport. 10 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Rachael Blackmore celebrates historic Gold Cup win on A Plus Tard". Guardian. 18 March 2022. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Rachael Blackmore flattens another Grade 1 field with brilliant Bob Olinger | Horse Racing News | Racing Post". www.racingpost.com.
  12. ^ "Sir Gerhard bags Willie Mullins' eleventh Champion Bumper success". Racing TV.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Hulmes, Matt (22 March 2021). "Can Britain Bounce Back In Racing Rivalry With Ireland After A Dismal Cheltenham?". The Sportsman. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Allaho rockets to Ryanair Chase glory under Rachael Blackmore at Cheltenham". Sky Sports.
  15. ^ "Rachael Blackmore". Racing Post. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  16. ^ O'Riordan, Ian (17 December 2021). "Rachael Blackmore named Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year 2021". The Irish Times. Retrieved 17 December 2021. Friday lunchtime at the Shelbourne Hotel, and such is the range and calibre of the starring cast at the 18th staging of The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year awards that in the end the overall winner comes down to the only one to go where no woman in the world has gone before. Enter Rachael Blackmore.
  17. ^ "'It's incredible' - Rachael Blackmore named RTE Sportsperson of the Year". Racing Post. 19 December 2021.
  18. ^ "Sports Personality 2021: Rachael Blackmore crowned BBC's World Sport Star of the Year". BBC Sport. 19 December 2021.
  19. ^ "Honorary awards to foreign nationals in 2023". Gov.UK. 2023.

External links

Achievements
Preceded by BBC World Sport Star of the Year
2021
Succeeded by