Jockey Rachael Blackmore with the 'Ruby Walsh Trophy' after being confirmed as the
leading jockey at the Cheltenham Racing Festival. Photo by: Hugh Routledge/Sportsfile
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Two years after her first Cheltenham Festival win, Rachael Blackmore is now the second most successful jockey, after Ruby Walsh, at the world-famous jumps racing meeting. Plaudits soon amassed after her Champion Hurdle win aboard the 7-year-old mare, Honeysuckle, on day one and Rachael was on the front page of every newspaper the following morning. She became the most welcome breath of fresh air jumps racing has seen in decades – a feel good story born from the heart of determination and integrity. Rachael top and tailed the second day with winners Bob Olinger and Sir Gerhard, the third day aboard Allaho and Telmesomethinggirl and the final day with Quilixios. She was a close second on A Plus Tard in the ultimate stayers race, The Gold Cup.
Twenty times champion jumps jockey, AP McCoy, has stated that she has single handily changed the face of racing. Her success was the lift needed, and while Rachael would prefer to be recognised as a good jockey rather than a good female jockey, it would be remiss to denounce the impact she has potentially made for women in the sport. She has broken new ground being the first woman to secure the coveted top jockeys’ award. She has smashed the glass ceiling and the future will tell us of the true extent of the Rachael effect.
Rachael is once again second on the Irish jockeys leaderboard, with 5 wins separating her from her old rival Paul Townend with the Irish National Hunt season culminating at the end of April. The 2015 equine science graduate has already filled us with more pride than we could ever have imagined. A consummate professional, unassuming and with the sharpest of judgement we wish her the very best for what will be no doubt a brilliant future.
Department of Biological Sciences
School of Natural Sciences