Blackmore is racing’s queen of hearts after Cheltenham glory

Cheltenham, United Kingdom, (19th March, 2021, 11:37 pm) (AFP/APP):Rachael Blackmore forms her hands into a heart shape when she wins and the talented jockey has certainly won the affection of neutrals after a stunning week at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Irish rider, 31, became the first woman to secure the coveted top jockey award at the jump-racing event after six wins over the course of four days in southwest England.
Her outstanding achievements have focused attention firmly back on the turf after a difficult few weeks for the sport.
The image of racing was badly tarnished when a picture circulated of leading trainer Gordon Elliott sitting on a dead horse, resulting in a ban for the Irishman.
“She has changed the face of racing this week,” said riding great AP McCoy.
Blackmore made headlines on Tuesday when she became the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle, on Honeysuckle.
“To me, this was never even a dream,” she said. “It was so far from what I ever thought could happen in my life — to be in Cheltenham, riding a winner of a Champion Hurdle.
“It’s just so far removed from anything I ever thought could be possible, so maybe there’s a lesson in that for everyone out there.”
Her final afternoon started with her sixth win as she steered the Henry de Bromhead-trained Quilixios to victory in the Triumph Hurdle.
She nearly finished her week on a fresh high in the blue riband Gold Cup but A Plus Tard found stablemate Minella Indo too good and Blackmore had to be content with second.

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