Rachael Blackmore pays tribute to racecourse spectators after historic victory

Rachael Blackmore has formed a tremendous association with A Plus Tard. (Pic: Courtesy of Cheltenham racecourse).

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RACHAEL Blackmore highlighted the buoyant atmosphere created by spectators as a highlight of the week she created history when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup on A Plus Tard.

Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, less than 12 months after she was the first woman rider to win the Grand National when successful on non Minella Times.

Records have continued to fall for Blackmore who was also the first of her sex to win the Champion Hurdle when scoring on Honeysuckle last year – a feat she repeated last week when steering the unbeaten mare to her 15th consecutive victory.

Last year, the now 32-year-old was the first female jockey to be leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival with six winners.

The 2021 Festival was held behind closed doors and Blackmore, who has formed a sublime association with trainer Henry de Bromhead, emphasised the importance of the return of spectators.

“Winning the National and the Gold Cup, they are both extremely special so I’m very lucky to be able to say I’ve won both,” Blackmore said.

“It was incredibly special to have people back at Cheltenham, the crowds make places like that what they are. Even Thurles on Saturday, having people there made it special – people bring the atmosphere so it’s fantastic to have them back, along with the owners.

“It’s an incredible feeling walking back into the enclosure and there’s a sea of people in front of you.”

“I suppose there’s one Gold Cup every year, in your career you’ll only get so many chances at riding in it. I was riding the favourite and not everyone gets that opportunity. The year before I was in a similar position but picked the wrong one (when finishing second on A Plus Tard to winning stablemate Minella Indo), so to achieve it was very special,” she told Sky Sports.

“Henry is an incredible trainer and both horses were in great shape both years. This time around I was lucky enough to be in front.

“Racing is such a revolving wheel, people always ask what’s next so you’re always looking forward but these are massive moments in my life. It will probably only sink in when I’ve finished but I can still feel the impact, it’s not passing me by.

“I’m in a privileged position at Henry’s yard. He has a lot of good horses and good owners which means I was riding a few favourites at Cheltenham, not every jockey gets that. I’m delighted to come home having had success. It’s great when you can deliver.

“A lot of it is about being in the right place at the right time in racing. When I started riding for Henry a few summers ago, his horses were on fire and I just happened to be the one riding them, then it snowballed from there.”

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