‘I can’t believe we just won a Champion Hurdle’: history made on day one of Cheltenham Festival

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  • Today Rachael Blackmore made history when becoming the first lady jockey to win the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham Festival (16 March). She was aboard the mare Honeysuckle, who is trained by Irishman Henry De Bromhead and owned by Kenneth Alexander.

    “It’s absolutely incredible to win — I can’t believe we just won a Champion Hurdle,” said a virtually speechless Rachael after the race. “It’s unbelievable for everyone in the yard at home — they all work so hard.

    “Henry produces her every day in that form and I get to steer her around — it’s just incredible. She’s so straightforward to ride and when you know you have an engine under you, it’s very easy to do things in a race.”

    Henry De Bromhead, trainer of the seven year-old said after the race: “I never thought this would happen — you dream about it. She’s an amazing mare and what a partnership her and Rachael have. I thought Rachael was so cool in the race.”

    The Willie Mullins-trained Sharjah was second under Paul Townend and the Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante, who won this race last year was third under Aidan Coleman.

    Who were the 2021 Champion Hurdle runners?

    Honeysuckle | Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
    Trainer: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
    Owner: Mr K. Alexander

    Epatante | Jockey: Aidan Coleman
    Nicky Henderson
    Mr John P. McManus

    Goshen | Jockey: J E Moore
    Gary Moore
    Mr Steven Packham

    Sharjah | Jockey: P Townend
    W. P. Mullins, Ireland
    Mrs S. Ricci

    Horse: Abacadabras | Jockey: J W Kennedy
    Mrs D Foster, Ireland
    Gigginstown House Stud

    Silver Streak | Jockey: T J O’Brien
    Evan Williams
    Mr L. Fell

    James du Berlais | Jockey: D A Jacob
    W. P. Mullins, Ireland
    Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede

    Aspire Tower | Jockey: R M Power
    Henry de Bromhead, Ireland

    Not So Sleepy | Jockey: J J Burke
    Hughie Morrison
    Lady Blyth

    Saldier | Jockey: D E Mullins
    W. P. Mullins, Ireland
    Mrs S. Ricci

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