‘When I started I didn’t think I’d be riding at Cheltenham, let alone the Gold Cup’: Rachael Blackmore wins Cheltenham Gold Cup

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  • Rachael Blackmore wrote another page in the history books today (18 March) when becoming the first female jockey to win the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. She was riding A Plus Tard, aboard who she was second in this race last year, and who is trained by Henry de Bromhead and owned by Cheveley Park Stud.

    “I can’t believe it – I’m so lucky to be getting to ride all these amazing horses,” said Rachael, who also won the Champion Hurdle earlier this week. “Being attached to Henry’s yard is phenomenal and this horse in unbelievable. I don’t know what to say. These are such special days – I wish I had something better to say, but I can’t. I can’t explain how fricking lucky I feel.

    “I was where I wanted to be during the race – I maybe had more horses in front of me than I had planned, but I had the three horses around me that I wanted and with that wall of horses in front of me, it helped prevent me from going too soon like I did last year, when I got beaten.”

    CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Rachael Blackmore on A Plus Tard clear the last ahead of Robbie Power on Minella Indo to win The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase race during day four of the Cheltenham Festival 2022 at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 18, 2022 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

    When asked what advice Rachael would give budding young jockeys hoping to follow in her footsteps, she said: “When I took out my licence, I didn’t think I would be riding at Cheltenham, let alone a favourite in the Gold Cup. It’s proof that anything can happen.”

    Henry de Bromhead trained the winner and runner-up in the Gold Cup in 2021, and he repeated that again this year, with last year’s winner, Minella Indo, finishing second this time around.

    “I can’t believe it – it’s just incredible and fair play to everyone involved,” Henry said. “I thought Rachael was so brave, sitting and sitting, and the pace A Plus Tard showed at the end of the three miles was incredible.”

    CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Rachael Blackmore kisses the Gold Cup after riding A Plus Tard to win The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase on day four of The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 18, 2022 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

    Richard Thompson, a representative of Cheveley Park Stud and son of the late David Johnson, who founded the stud, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic, winning the Gold Cup. My father would be loving this. He was behind the project and this horse was one of the last he saw win before he died. He watched the Gold Cup obviously for many years, and to win it is incredible. I can’t even speak. It’s a fantastic day for the family. We know he’s got so much quality and Rachael rode the perfect race. It’s the Gold Cup, anything can happen, but it looked so smooth.”

    British runner Protektorat was third under Harry Skelton for his brother Dan who trains the seven-year-old and owners Sir Alex Ferguson, Ged Mason and John and Lisa Hales.

    The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a Grade One National Hunt steeplechase, run over 3 miles 2.5 furlongs with 22 fences, that is held on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival in March. It is the most prestigious race at the Festival, which runs from Tuesday-Friday, and a massive highlight of the National Hunt season.

    When is the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup?

    The race got underway at 3.30pm on Friday 18 March.

    How to watch the race

    If you’re looking forward to settling down the watch the race from home at 3.30pm on Friday 18 March, then don’t miss our armchair viewing guide, which includes how to watch the Cheltenham Gold Cup on TV and much more.

    What is the prize money for winning?

    The winner of the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase will take home £351,687.50 making it the most valuable jumps race in Britain and Ireland after the Grand National.

    Who were the runners in the 2022 race?

    Horse: A Plus Tard | Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
    Trainer: Henry De Bromhead

    Glavin | Jockey: Davy Russell
    Gordon Elliott

    Minella Indo |Jockey: Robbie Power
    Henry De Bromhead

    Protektorat | Jockey: Harry Skelton
    Dan Skelton

    Al Boum Photo | Jockey: Paul Townend
    Willie Mullins

    Tornado Flyer | Jockey: Danny Mullins
    Willie Mullins

    Chantry House | Jockey: Nico de Boinville
    Nicky Henderson

    Royale Pagaille | Jockey: Charlie Deutsch
    Venetia Williams

    Asteroid Forlonge | Jockey: B J Cooper
    Willie Mullins

    Santini | Jockey: Nick Scholfield
    Polly Gundry

    Aye Right | Jockey: Callum Bewley
    Harriet Graham & Gary Rutherford

    Recent winners

    2022: A Plus Tard
    2021: Minella Indo – read the race report
    2020: Al Boum Photo – read the race report
    2019: Al Boum Photo – read the race report
    2018: Native River – read the race report
    2017: Sizing John – read the race report
    2016: Don Cossack – read the race report
    2015: Coneygree – read the race report
    2014: Lord Windermere – read the race report
    2013: Bobs Worth – read the race report
    2012: Synchronised – read the race report
    2011: Long Run – read the race report

    Winning-most trainer, horse, jockey and owner

    The all-time leading Cheltenham Gold Cup trainer is Tom Dreaper, who won it a total of five times, thanks to Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964-66) and Fort Leney (1968). The all-time most successful horse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup is Golden Miller, who won it a total of five times across five consecutive years – 1932 to 1936. The top all-time Cheltenham Gold Cup jockey is Pat Taaffe, who won a total of four times – three times on Arkle (1964-66) and one on Fort Leney (1968). And the leading Cheltenham Gold Cup owner, Dorothy Paget won it seven times – five times with Golden Miller (1932-36), as well as with Roman Hackle (1940) and Mont Tremblant (1952).

    Most successful previous winners

    Golden Miller: won five consecutive Gold Cups from 1932 to 1936 and in 1934 became the only horse ever to win the Aintree Grand National and the Gold Cup in the same season.

    Cottage Rake: won three consecutive Gold Cups from 1948-1950.

    Arkle: won three consecutive Gold Cups in 1963-1965.

    L’Escargot: won the Gold Cup twice in 1970 and 1971.

    Best Mate: won the Gold Cup three times in 2002-2004, the first three-timer since Arkle.

    About the Gold Cup trophy

    A new Gold Cup is cast every year for the winner of this race each year. The trophy is worth approximately £10,000 and made of 10 ounces of gold. In 2010, a Gold Cup won in 1988 was stolen by thieves from racehorse owner Raymond Mould. Mr Mould won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Charter Party, ridden by Richard Dunwoody and trained by David Nicholson.

    The history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup

    The first horse race known as the Cheltenham Gold Cup was a flat race run over three miles during a three-day meeting in 1819 and won by a horse called Spectre. The race was run on a course on Cleeve Hill, which overlooks the current Cheltenham racecourse site. The races on Cleeve Hill became popular over the next decade and then interest diminished as steeplechasing became popular.

    On 12 March 1924 the Gold Cup was first run as a chase race at Prestbury Park. The winner was a horse called Splash and he took home prize money of £685.

    It was not until some years later that the Cheltenham Festival and the Gold Cup became the prestigious events that they are today.

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