Success did not come quickly to Rachael Blackmore but she now heads into the 2020 Cheltenham Festival with the potential to be top jockey.
The Tipperary jockey was speaking to Off The Ball ahead of Cheltenham and admitted that she overestimated her abilities at the start of her career.
“Firstly, I’d be absolutely cringing watching a video of myself in 2011. I thought I was maybe better than I was.
"I really needed a lot of racing to improve and a lot of rides to improve. I was no quick success I can tell you.
“It took me a long time to get better. Thankfully, things are going really well at the moment. I just hope they can stay going like that into next week.
“I think the fact that my weight is very good meant that when I turned professional I was riding a lot more.
"Mainly due to the fact that I was able to ride at the lower weights in jumps racing.
“It just opened up more doors for me. So I was riding more which meant I was getting more practice and that just helped me to improve,” Blackmore said.
Blackmore has been called a trailblazer for women in sport but the jockey is happy that horse racing does not differentiate between men and women.
“I’m extremely lucky in racing, in that inside the racing circles, there’s no deal made about the male/female thing.
“Predominantly due to Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh’s success. They got rid of any lingering bits of stigma that were still there. They firmly abolished those. I’m very lucky in that sense.
“I can fully see now in the wider media that it is a talking point. That’s great too. I’m delighted to help in the progression of women in sport.
“The 20x20 campaign is just fantastic. I’m an ambassador for that and a Kildare Village ambassador as well.
“It’s just brilliant in trying to get a culture shift in how women’s sport is viewed. That’s a massive help.
“If everyone can just do something to help that it’s going to massively benefit the next generation,” Blackmore said.