Rachael Blackmore revels in more glory at home as the Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey receives a hero’s welcome before claiming yet another winner at her local Irish track
- Rachael Blackmore returned to her local Irish track Thurles on Saturday
- The Cheltenham Gold Cup winner was mobbed by fans and autograph hunters
- Jockey received a special presentation before the race to mark Friday’s triumph
Twenty four hours after becoming the first female jockey to win the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, Rachael Blackmore returned to a hero’s welcome and secured yet another winner at her local Irish track Thurles on Saturday.
Appropriately, the success was back to where it all began for Blackmore. Thurles was where she rode her first winner as an amateur jockey on Stowaway Pearl in February 2011.
But given that her Gold Cup win followed back-to-back successes in the Champion Hurdle on Honeysuckle and last year’s momentous victory in the Grand National on Minella Times, there was a touch of irony that Blackmore’s winning mount in the Carey Glass Hurdle was Mouse Morris-trained Gentlemansgame.
Rachael Blackmore followed her Gold Cup success with another winner at Thurles on Saturday
Blackmore, who was mobbed by fans and autograph hunters, had received a special presentation before the race to mark Friday’s Gold Cup win on Henry de Bromhead-trained A Plus Tard.
She said: ‘Having people congratulate you from your home county is very special — it’s lovely to be back after such a special day yesterday.
‘My first winner came here a good few years ago. Thurles is always a special place for me as it’s always good to get your first winner on the board. Things have escalated a bit since! I could never have imagined after my first winner that day what I would go on to achieve.
Blackmore made history by becoming the first woman to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup
‘I don’t think anyone watching the race that day could have either. Hopefully, I’ve improved a bit since that day.’
Reliving Friday’s achievements, Blackmore said: ‘A Plus Tard was just incredible. The way that he quickened after the last showed you he just a phenomenal horse.’
The 32-year-old rode six winners at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival but had finished second in the Gold Cup on A Plus Tard.
Blackmore raced clear of the field on the Henry de Bromhead-trained horse to win comfortably
Reflecting on landing the last of jump racing’s crown jewels to elude her, Blackmore added: ‘I had a fantastic week there last year but the Gold Cup didn’t go my way. You need to get everything to go right and thankfully it all lined up for me this year.’
Among the words spoken by Blackmore on Friday, the most significant were the ones outlining her approach aboard A Plus Tard.
‘I didn’t want to do the same thing as last year as it didn’t work,’ she said. ‘I was happy if I was going to get beaten for doing something different as opposed to being in the position I was in last year as that definitely didn’t work.’
Blackmore and A Plus Tard streaked clear of Minella Indo (centre) to win by 15 to 20 lengths
Blackmore’s solution of a more patient ride paid off with a reversal of form with stablemate and 2021 winner Minella Indo.
Blackmore is arguably the most tactically astute jump jockey riding on either side of the Irish Sea. She marries a natural ability in the saddle to an intellect which saw her graduate from University of Limerick with a degree in equine science before her riding career caught fire in her mid-20s.
Given her success, it is amazing to think this is a young woman whose initial dream was to be a vet rather than a jockey. When she started riding, the ambition was just to ride a few winners as an amateur jockey and she did not turn professional until 2015.
Her amazing run may not be over. She will be back in Liverpool next month trying to win the Grand National again on Minella Times.