Who is Rachael Blackmore?
For the benefit of anyone without access to public access broadcasting, Rachael Blackmore is an Irish National Hunt jockey who has climbed to the pinnacle of her profession and achieved a series of notable ‘firsts’ along the way. Tipperary-born Blackmore, 32, rode her first winner as a professional, Most Honourable, trained by John Joseph ‘Shark’ Hanlon, at Clonmel in September, 2015. The following season, 2016/17, she was Irish champion conditional jockey with 32 winners.
However, it was when she joined Waterford trainer Henry de Bromhead as stable jockey that her career really took off. Blackmore rode her first Cheltenham winners, A Plus Tard in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase and Minella Indo in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, in 2019 and the rest, as they say, is history.
At the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, Blackmore won the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle on Honeysuckle, but would win the Champion Hurdle on the same horse in 2021 – making her the first female jockey to do so – and again in 2022. At the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, she rode a total a six winners, thereby becoming the first female jockey to win the Ruby Walsh Trophy, which is presented to the leading jockey during the week.
Three weeks later, Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Grand National, on Minella Times and, at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, also became the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, on A Plus Tard. Blackmore has yet to win the Irish Jump Jockeys’ Championship, but has finished runner-up twice, in 2018/2019 and 2020/2021, with 90 winners and 92 winners, respectively, so another ‘first’ is probably only a matter of time.