Who is Rachael Blackmore?

Who is Rachael Blackmore?  Nowadays, Rachael Blackmore is stable jockey to Henry De Bromhead and her rise to prominence has gone hand-in-hand with that of the Co. Waterford trainer in recent years. Born in Killenaule, Co. Tipperary in July, 1989, Blackmore was, by her own admission, an ‘extremely average’ amateur jockey, but nevertheless turned professional in March, 2015, because she ‘just needed the practice’.

She rode her first winner as a professional, Most Honourable, trained by John ‘Shark’ Hanlon, in a handicap hurdle at Clonmel in September, 2015. The following season, 2016/17, Blackmore rode 32 winners and became the first female jockey to be crowned Irish Champion Conditional Jockey. Subsequent seasons yielded 34, 90 and 61 winners, respectively and in 2020/21, so far, she has ridden 82 winners and trails only reigning champion Paul Townend, by just four, in the race for the Irish National Hunt jockeys’ title.

Blackmore rode her first winner at the Cheltenham Festival, A Plus Tard, in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase in 2019 and her first Grade One winner, Minella Indo, in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the same Festival three days later. She has since added eleven more victories at the highest level, including Honeysuckle in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.

Which three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby?

Which three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby?  The Kentucky Derby has been run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky since 1875, although the distance was shortened from a mile and a half to a mile and a quarter in 1896. Traditionally staged on the first Saturday in May, ‘The Run for the Roses’, as the race is known, is open to three-year-old colts, gelding and fillies, with the latter receiving a 5lb allowance from their male counterparts. Along with the Preakness Stakes, run at Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland two weeks later and the Belmont Stakes run at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York three weeks after that, the Kentucky Derby constitutes the American Triple Crown.

Nevertheless, in the better part of a century and a half, just three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby. The first of them was the unbeaten Regret, trained by the legendary James Rowe Sr., in 1915. Unfortunately, owner Harry Payne Whitney neglected to enter her in the Preakness Stakes, so there was no Triple Crown attempt for her. The second was Genuine Risk, trained by LeRoy Jolley, in 1980 and the third was Winning Colors, trained by Darrell Wayne Lukas, in 1988. Both fillies went on to contest both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, with Genuine Risk finishing second in both and Winning Colors finishing third in the former, but unplaced in the latter.

How many times has Ryan Moore completed the 1,000 Guineas – Oaks double?

How many times has Ryan Moore completed the 1,000 Guineas – Oaks double?  Although he British Champion Jockey in 2006, 2008 and 2009, Ryan Moore has, since 2015, been first choice jockey to Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle Stables, Co. Tipperary. Indeed, it was in that capacity that he completed the 1,000 Guineas – Oaks double for the first time in 2016 and did so again in 2020. Moore had won the 1,000 Guineas twice before, on Homecoming Queen, trained by O’Brien, in 2012 and Legatissimo, trained by David Wachman, in 2015, and the Oaks once before, on Snow Fairy, trained by Ed Dunlop

In 2016, Minding – later described by O’Brien as ‘one of the best fillies I have ever trained’ – justified favouritism in the 1,000 Guineas, leading home an O’Brien 1-2-3 in the process. The Galileo filly suffered a facial injury leaving the stalls when narrowly beaten, at long odds-on, in the Irish equivalent, but justified favouritism, again, in the Oaks. In fact, had she been trained by anyone but O’Brien, she may well have contested the Derby, rather than the Oaks.

Four years later, Ryan Moore won both fillies’ Classics in the same season for a second time, aboard another Galileo filly, Love. She won the 1,000 Guineas by 4¼ lengths and the Oaks impressively, by 9 lengths. Like Minding in 2016, Love was named Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly in 2020.

Why is the Rowley Mile at Newmarket so-called?

Why is the Rowley Mile at Newmarket so-called?  Compared to other countries and sports like NFL in the US, there is so much history to our sport. Newmarket has two racecourses, the Rowley Mile, which is the older of the two, and the July Course. ‘Old Rowley’ was a stallion belonging to King Charles II, who was a passionate horse racing enthusiast and spent much of his time – too much, in the eyes of Parliament – in Newmarket. Indeed, the ‘Merry Monarch’, as he was popularly known, was largely responsible for the development of the town as a national centre for horse racing.

Away from the racecourse, Charles II was a notorious womaniser, with a string of mistresses, of which Eleanor ‘Nell’ Gwyn was probably the most famous. All told, he fathered 14 illegitimate children and his scandalous liaisons were seized upon by wits of the day, who ridiculed the King by nicknaming him ‘Old Rowley’ or simply ‘Rowley’, in reference to the aforementioned stallion. Old Rowley, the stallion, was ‘renowned for the number and beauty of its offspring’, so the joke was that, in terms of his own prowess, the King was not unlike his nicknamesake. Nevertheless, Charles II was a popular monarch in his day and, in 2017, a statue of him was unveiled at Newmarket Racecourse to celebrate 350 years of racing at his favourite venue.

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