Rachael Blackmore is vying to become the first woman top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival.
The trailblazing jockey already has five wins to her name from the week’s horse racing so far ahead of the final day of the festival (Friday 19 March).
The Irish rider could seal the honour in style by becoming the first female rider to win the festival’s crown jewel race - the Gold Cup - on the final day.
Who is Rachael Blackmore?
The 31-year-old is on the cusp of making history at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival by becoming the first female Gold Cup winner and the first female top jockey.
The double scoop would be a memorable occasion for the rider 10 years on from her first win as an amateur jockey on Stowaway Pearl at Thurles in February 2011.
Born in County Tipperary, Ireland, she turned professional in March 2015 and rode her first professional winner just six months later when Most Honourable won at Clonmel.
Since then Blackmore has established herself as one of the sport’s top jockeys, with notable major successes in Ireland and Cheltenham Festival winners in recent years.
How many winners has Rachael Blackmore had?
In 2019, Blackmore really came to the fore with her first Grade 1 race victory in Ireland - one of five major horse racing wins in the calendar year.
She had 90 winners overall in the 2018/19 season which saw her take the runner-up spot in the Irish Jockey’s Championship behind Paul Townend.
She finished third in the 2019/20 season which was curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic and has hit the ground running in 2021 having won the Irish Champion Hurdle.
How many Cheltenham Festival winners has Rachael Blackmore had?
The five wins claimed so far at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival add to three from previous years - Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (2019), Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase (2019), and David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle (2020).
This week Blackmore has rode to wins in the Champion Hurdle (with Honeysuckle), Baring Bingham Novices' Hurdle (Bob Olinger), Champion Bumper (Sir Gerhard), Ryanair Chase (Allaho), Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Telmesomethinggirl).
Blackmore rides A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup race.
What has Rachael Blackmore said of her Cheltenham success?
“I’m genuinely just so overwhelmed by these last few days. It’s all about the horses you’re getting on and I just feel so lucky to be riding for the people I’m riding for,” said Blackmore following her fifth win.
“I’m pinching myself, it’s crazy stuff. I was told I’d ridden more winners than Great Britain have had – it’s mad. Everyone is getting a great kick out of it at home and I’m very grateful to those who got the Festival on and got us Irish over here.
“I can’t comprehend that I’m the leading rider, it’s a bit surreal.”
Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Honeysuckle, Bob Olinger and Telmesomethinggirl, said of Blackmore: “I’m delighted for her. She’s such a good rider, the ultimate professional and great to work with. She deserves everything she gets.”
What are the odds of Rachael Blackmore winning top jockey?
Blackmore is the favourite to take the title with odds of 1/6 on with BetFair and 1/7 with BetVictor, BetFred and BoyleSports ahead of Jack Kenney (5/1) and Paul Townsend (14/1).
Though it's Townsend, riding Al Boum Photo, who is favourite for the Gold Cup race at 5/2 with many of the leading online bookies, according to oddschecker.com.
Blackmore, riding A Plus Tard, is at 7/2 though UniBet is offering 4/1 at the time of writing.