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Top rider beats Formula 1 world champion and tennis ace to claim prestigious award


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  • Record-breaking jockey Rachael Blackmore has been crowned world sport star of the year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) awards.

    The 32-year-old Irish jockey was up against Formula 1’s newly crowned world champion Max Verstappen, tennis legend Novac Djokovic, Jamaican Olympic sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah, super-middleweight boxing champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, and American NFL quarterback Tom Brady, in the category. Russian UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov won the award in 2020. All the BBC SPOTY awards are voted for by the public.

    This year Rachael became the first female rider to win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the first to finish as top jockey at the Festival, with six winners. She then rode the Henry de Bromhead-trained Minella Times to victory at Aintree to become the first female jockey to win the Grand National.

    Rachael was crowned world sport star during a televised ceremony yesterday (9 December) hosted by Gabby Logan, Claire Balding, Gary Lineker and Alex Scott.

    Rachael said to win was “unbelievable”, and described the support from those that had voted as “incredible”.

    “I got such a kick out of being on that list of nominees. It’s overwhelming to think I’ve been given an award,” she said.

    “[As a little girl] I think my dreams were so big that I never dreamt they could happen. It [this year] far surpassed anything I could ever have imagined. It was just an incredible year.”

    Rachael said the response from the general public following her record-breaking achievements had been “brilliant”.

    “For me personally they are such massive things to achieve, but when you can bring a bit of joy to other people that makes them even more special,” she said. “The reaction from everyone at home has been incredible and I feel very privileged to have had the year I’ve had.”

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