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If you’re a horse racing fan, then you’ve undoubtedly heard all about Rachael Blackmore in recent years. The Irish jockey has certainly been making a name for herself and her achievements paved the way for her to be named the 2021 RTÉ Sports Person of the Year and BBC World Sport Star of the Year.
But why did Rachael Blackmore’s recent win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup mean so much to racing?
To understand the significance of record-breaking jockey Rachael Blackmore, you need to consider her achievements in recent years. She is the reason for horse racing betting site Betway having to pay out on a winning female jockey in several high-profile races for the first time in history.
In 2021, Blackmore won the Grand National, becoming the first female jockey to do this in the 182-year history of the event. She then went on to be the first female leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival, winning a staggering six events. In 2022, Blackmore shocked the world once more by becoming the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
One of the most significant parts of Blackmore’s recent success story is her loyalty to horse A Plus Tard. In the previous year, Blackmore had the choice to ride either A Plus Tard or Minella Indo in the Gold Cup. She chose the former and unfortunately finished second to the latter.
Rather than changing horse in 2022, Blackmore decided to once again ride A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup and, of course, her loyalty was repaid with an incredible victory, this time finishing 15 lengths clear of previous winner, Minella Indo.
When it comes to inspiration, there are unlikely to be many greater sources in all of horse racing, never mind to young women in Ireland. Blackmore’s horse racing success story doesn’t paint a picture of a child prodigy, but rather one of humble beginnings and incredible results.
In fact, Blackmore herself admits that she didn’t even expect to be riding at Cheltenham when she took out her licence, let alone in the coveted Gold Cup. Indeed, she didn’t win her first Grade 1 race until she was 29 but has since gone one to break all kinds of records, paving the way for future female champion jockeys.
2022 has been a great year for sporting events across the world, with many of them now able to cater to spectators once again. Horse racing is no different, and Blackmore has admitted that the previous year’s event, although an honour to take part in, what somewhat blunted by the lack of a crowd due to restrictions.
However, 2022 saw a return to form with crowds able to gather once again to watch the spectacle, including Blackmore’s partner and fellow jockey, Brian Hayes. This has undoubtedly made this year’s Gold Cup win incredibly special for Blackmore and her family and will hopefully lead to other young female jockeys feeling inspired to attempt to break records in the future.