Rachael Blackmore becomes first woman to win Cheltenham Gold Cup

Rachael Blackmore

Rachael Blackmore became the first female rider to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup as she created more horse racing history. 

The 32-year-old rode the Henry de Bromhead trained A Plus Tard to victory –– bettering her second-place finish with the same horse last year. 

Stable-mate Minella Indo, who won last year’s race, finished second, while Protektorat came third. 

While Blackmore already has an array of achievements, the Gold Cup remained a race she desperately wanted to tick off. 

In a closely contested race, it was Minella Indo and Robbie Power who made the first move and galloped into the lead. 

But as usual, Blackmore bided her time and waited patiently for the leaders to tire. With just one to jump, A Plus Tard and Minella Indo were side-by-side, but it was the former who showed a turn of speed, and Blackmore went on to win by about 15 lengths. 

Speaking to ITV Racing afterwards, Blackmore said: “I just can’t believe it. I’m so lucky to be getting to ride all these kinds of horses. 

“You can’t do this without the horses and being attached to Henry’s yard is just absolutely phenomenal. To give me this horse is unbelievable. I don’t know what to say.

“I’ve had so many special days. I wouldn’t swap the Grand National for anything but this is the Gold Cup. I wish I had something better to say right now. I just can’t.

“You have all these plans about how things are going to work out. Racing doesn’t let that happen all the time and for some reason it’s happened to me today. I just can’t explain how lucky I feel.”

Blackmore’s Gold Cup win follows her second triumph in the Champion Hurdle earlier this week. 

The jockey rode the unbeaten mare Honeysuckle to victory once again and was able to celebrate in front of fans this time, unlike last year where no crowds were permitted due to Covid-19. 

The Irish jockey is also the first woman to win the Grand National in its 182-year history and the first female rider to be leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival. 

Blackmore’s groundbreaking achievements saw her named the 2021 BBC World Sport Star of the year, ahead of renowned athletes such as American Football quarterback Tom Brady and Dutch Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen.

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