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"I'm speechless" | Rachael Blackmore on Champion Hurdle win

Rachael Blackmore has become the first ever woman to ride a winner of Cheltenham's Champion Hurdl...



Racing

"I'm speechless" | Rachael Blackmore on Champion Hurdle win

Rachael Blackmore has become the first ever woman to ride a winner of Cheltenham's Champion Hurdle, as the mare Honeysuckle stormed home.

The 31 year old Tipperary jockey rode a textbook race to guide the horse, trained by Henry de Bromhead in Waterford, to a 6 and a half length victory in one of racing's showpiece events.

Sourced by Peter Molony for owner Kenny Alexander, the mare was head and shoulders above her rivals as she retained her unbeaten record.

Blackmore rode her first race a decade ago and turned professional in March 2015. Her journey to the top has taken a long time, and she's thanked those who supported her in making a dream a reality.

"I'm speechless. I just cannot believe we have won a Champion Hurdle. Kenny Alexander, Peter Molony, they are both at home watching with their families. Honeysuckle was just incredible. This was never even a dream, it was so far from what I ever thought could happen in my life, to be in Cheltenham, riding the winner of a Champion Hurdle. It's just so far removed from anything I ever thought could be possible.

"So maybe there's a lesson in that for everyone out there, it's incredible. You can't do it without getting on the right horses. I have been extremely lucky in that sense - getting linked up a yard like Henry de Bromhead, you need to be riding those horses. That's a massive part of any jockey's career, being in the right place at the right time and getting linked up with the right yard.

Rachael Blackmore visited retired Champion Hurdle horse Istabraq when she was young, and 21 years after Charlie Swan partnered Istabraq to a third Champion Hurdle, it's Blackmore who is today in the winner's enclosure.

"We went to see Istabraq on a school tour. I'm from Tipperary so it was local. I never envisaged back then when we went to see him I would one day be riding the winner of a Champion Hurdle. When every person becomes a jockey, they dream about riding in Cheltenham and all these things, but riding a winner like this is just unbelievable."

The Killenaule native has played down talk around her gender, saying after the race that 'there's no deal about it', but she does hope this moment will inspire anyone to follow their dream.

"To young people out there, male, female, whatever - if you want to do something, go and do it, because, to me standing here right now, literally anything can happen."

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