Rachael Blackmore’s Cheltenham Festival Super Six 2021

Rachael Blackmore, the classy jockey from County Tipperary, brought the feel-good factor to Cheltenham 2021 with a sextet of sensational winners.

Showing superb skill in the saddle along with tenacious race riding tactics, it's no surprise that heavyweight Irish trainer Henry De Bromhead entrusted Blackmore with his big guns.

Planet Sport goes through Blackmore's super six winners that made her Leading Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival 2021.

Honeysuckle (Unibet Champion Hurdle)

They say you should save the best for last but Blackmore arguably led with the most talented horse of the festival on day one, riding the wonder-mare Honeysuckle for De Bromhead.

Blackmore had the bookies running for cover on the 11/10 favourite, settling her mount in midfield, knowing full well that Honeysuckle had the class and the gears to kick-on from two out.

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Honeysuckle's six and a half length win over Sharjah was sweet for Blackmore and started her ascent up the leading jockey's leaderboard.

Bob Olinger (Ballymore Novices' Hurdle)

Bob Ollinger is only a few letters away from the name of a famous champagne brand and the horse certainly had plenty of pop.

Blackmore's ride was a patient one, trying to settle the De Bromhead trained hurdler over the two mile, five furlong course in order to unleash at the right time.

At four out, it looked like Matt Griffiths on Bear Ghylls had boxed in Bob Olinger but Blackmore knew her horse had the grit and the gallop to bustle into position over the final flight and then skip on in the straight.

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The seven and a half-length victory over the Willie Mullins trained Gaillard Du Mesnil made shrewd judges stand up and take note of Blackmore as a serious contender for Leading Jockey.

Sir Gerhard (Weatherbys Champion Bumper)

Although there were no jumps to navigate in this hot bumper, Blackmore again showed her superior tactical brain with a half-length victory.

Blackmore was riding for Willie Mullins this time but stablemate Kilcruit was 10/11 favourite under long-term adversary Paul Townend.

However, it was Blackmore claiming the spoils with a front running ride in the Cheveley Park Stud colours, as Sir Gerhard burned out the field.

Blackmore had skewered a classy lineup to show her skill in settling a horse and producing a grandstand finish. More was to come.

Allaho (Ryanair Chase)

The bookmakers must have been shuddering as Blackmore again combined with Cheveley Park Stud and Willie Mullins with Allaho.

Blackmore went for the jugular with a front-running showing on Allaho, dispensing with reigning champ Min at three out and surging on to a blistering 12 length win from Fakir D'oudairies in second.

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Again it was Blackmore, flashing home in the red, white and blue Cheveley Park silks as the TV producers widened their camera angles to include Allaho and the spreadeagled also-rans.

It was a gutsy performance, one that fellow female jockey Bryony Frost would be proud of, showing that Blackmore has no fear of making all the running and tackling obstacles at speed.

Telmesomethinggirl (Parnell Properties Mares' Novices' Hurdle)

With the same name as a line from the Bradley Cooper/ Lady Gaga song "Shallow", Blackmore had to dig deep to win this hotly contested mares' hurdle.

Held up for most of the race, Blackmore began to weave between runners from three out as her red cap bobbed its way to the front.

Looking for gaps and slaloming through, Blackmore utilised Tellmesomethinggirl's strong finishing speed to strike for the front at the final hurdle, sprinting on for a five and a half length win over stalemate Magic Daze in second.

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"The tactical genius on display this week has been Rachael Blackmore," said ITV Racing commentator Richard Hoiles as she surged past the winning post, hitting the nail on the head.

Quilixios (JCB Triumph Hurdle)

It was foolhardy in hindsight that Blackmore's Quilixios went off 2/1 second favourite to 11/8 shot Zanahiyr.

Not only did she shut the door on Jack Kennedy aboard Zanahiyr but Blackmore then got into the serious job of riding a finish, emboldening Quilixios for three and a quarter length win over the David Pipe trained Adagio.

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In doing so she had become the first female jockey to win the Leading Jockey crown at the Cheltenham Festival. She had picked up six wins, more than the entire British contingent.

"I thought given how physically demanding it is, it would be difficult for a female jockey to make that breakthrough. You need to be physically and mentally tough, but she is. She's the first female professional in Ireland for 30 years but has given every young girl a dream that they can compete," said legendary former jockey AP McCoy to bbc.co.uk.

Afterwards, Blackmore continued the tradition of writing the names of her winners on the wall of her seat in the weighing room. Cheltenham may need a bigger wall if the diminutive but dominant jockey continues in such rich form.

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