‘I can’t believe it’: Rachael Blackmore becomes first female to win 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.

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