Rachael Blackmore 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/jnLAHq1LWh— ODDSbible Racing (@ODDSbibleRacing) March 16, 2021
It was tipped to be another dominant display from trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. However, instead it was Rachael Blackmore who stole all the headlines. The 31-year-old rode an impressive six winners across the four days, which was more victories than the British contingent put together, and only legendary jockey Ruby Walsh, who has had seven winning rides on two occasions, has boasted more victories in one week.
Overall, it was an historic week for Blackmore. So, without further ado, let’s take a look back at her six wins at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.
Champion Hurdle – Honeysuckle
Blackmore’s first victory of the Festival was an historic one. Aboard Honeysuckle, who she had ridden to 10 previous victories over hurdles, she became the first female jockey to win the day one feature race, the Champion Hurdle. This online betting company moved Honeysuckle into the favourite’s position after her recent victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle and it was a straightforward outing for the duo as they beat Sharjah by over six lengths.
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Bob Olinger
Day two got off to a fantastic start for Blackmore. In the saddle of favourite Bob Olinger, she was once again unstoppable in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. The pair had the lead approaching the last hurdle and stretched well clear of the likes of Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame up the home straight to record a seven-and-a-half length victory.
Champion Bumper – Sir Gerhard
There was a second victory on day two for Blackmore. However, whilst the prior winning rides were for trainer Henry De Bromhead, the triumph aboard Sir Gerhard was one for Mullins. The six-year-old, who was recently moved from Gordon Elliott’s yard to Mullins’, was the second favourite for the Champion Bumper behind his new stablemate Kilcruit, but Blackmore was able to steer Sir Gerhard to victory with Paul Townend and the favourite a mere half-a-length behind.
Ryanair Chase – Allaho
Given Blackmore’s form, it’s no surprise that Allaho moved into the position of market favourite in the Ryanair Chase. Having been bashed for much of the Festival to this point, the bookies were taking no chances as they cut Allaho’s price, and as Blackmore romped over the line again, this time a huge 12 lengths clear of Fakir D’oudairies, they must have wiped the sweat from their brow. It was another victory for Mullins as the race for the Leading Trainer continued to brew between him and De Bromhead.
Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – Telmesomethinggirl
Blackmore’s fifth triumph of the Festival came in the penultimate race of day three, the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. The De Bromhead-trained Telmesomethinggirl set off as the 5/1 second favourite in the Grade 2 race, but it was yet again an extensive victory for Blackmore as she finished five-and-a-half lengths clear of 22/1 shot Magic Daze, who is also trained by De Bromhead. Favourite Royal Kahala was someway back in ninth.
Triumph Hurdle – Quilixios
The final day of the Festival got off to a flyer for Blackmore and De Bromhead as Quilixios romped home in the day’s opening race, the Triumph Hurdle. The Denise Foster-trained Zanahiyr set off as the slight favourite, but as he fell off the pace at the last, it was Quilixios who went clear up the home straight to record a victory by little more than three lengths over Adagio.
“I can’t even comprehend being leading jockey – it’s crazy stuff,” Blackmore said. “It’s phenomenal. It’s been brilliant. Henry De Bromhead is an incredible trainer. I’m just part of that team and getting on those horses.”