In an industry long dominated by males, few females make it to the top in the horse racing world. However, Rachael Blackmore has shown the world just what female jockeys are capable of achieving.
Rachael Blackmore was born on July 11, 1989, in Killenaule, County Tipperary, Ireland. Blackmore grew up on a dairy farm and began riding horses at a young age. During college, she competed as an amateur jockey, before turning professional after graduating.
In our list of the most famous female jockeys, Blackmore is a trailblazer in the horse racing industry, as she rewrites the history books. She has set multiple records as a jockey and continues to shine in her career, despite facing setbacks.
Blackmore won her first race as an amateur in 2011 before going professional in 2015. She captured her first professional win on September 3, 2015, aboard Most Honourable.
Only two years into her professional career, Blackmore became the first woman to win the conditional riders’ championship in Ireland. This was just the beginning of her success, as she has only gotten better.
Here are some of Rachael Blackmore’s stats:
|Born:||11 July 1989|
Here are Eight Facts About Rachael Blackmore
1. She is the First Female Jockey to Ever Win the Grand National
On April 10, 2021, Rachel Blackmore made history by becoming the first female jockey to win the coveted Grand National. Her historic victory took place on the Irish-bred Minella Times.
Minella Times is an eight-year-old bay Thoroughbred gelding owned by J.P. McManus. Henry de Bromhead trained the winning duo, which was also his first Grand National victory. In addition, he was also the trainer of the second-place horse.
In a competitive field of 40 horses, Blackmore expertly guided Minella Times through the challenging course. The pair soared across the finish line, securing their historic win. Blackmore’s win took over the title of the best female jockey finish, beating Katie Walsh who came in third in 2012.
After the race, Blackmore was over the moon. In a post-race interview, she said “I don’t feel male or female. I don’t even feel human, I feel unbelievable.”
2. She is the First Female Jockey to Be Crowned Leading Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival
Just prior to the 2021 Grand National, Blackmore was already making history at the Cheltenham Festival. Across the five days of competition, she won six races, earning her the title of Leading Jockey at the festival.
Since its inception, Blackmore is the first female to take home the award. On Tuesday, she won the renowned Champion Hurdle with Honeysuckle, becoming the first female jockey to do so. Wednesday she won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle with Bob Olinger and the Champion Bumper with Sir Gerhard. Thursday she won the Ryanair Chase with Allaho, as well as Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle with Telmesomethinggirl. On Friday, the last day of the festival, she won the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Quilixios.
Blackmore came in just shy of a seventh victory, as she came in second with A Plus Tard in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. However, she still managed to hoist the Ruby Walsh Trophy thanks to her historic week.
3. She Has Won the Irish Champion Hurdle Twice
Blackmore has also found success in her home country. She has won the Irish Champion Hurdle two times to date.
Aboard the incredible Honeysuckle, Blackmore won the Irish Champion Hurdle back-to-back in 2020 and 2021. Honeysuckle is a seven-year-old British-bred bay Thoroughbred mare. She has won all 12 of her starts to date, many of which have been with Blackmore.
4. She Has Ridden a Total of Nine Cheltenham Festival Winners
Since making her debut at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019, Blackmore has won nine races at this elite event in the horse racing calendar. In addition to her six wins in 2021, she won twice in 2019 and once in 2020.
Her 2019 victories were with Minella Indo in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and with A Plus Tard in the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase. In 2020, she captured the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle win with Honeysuckle.
5. She Graduated From the University of Limerick With a Degree in Equine Science
Blackmore attended college at the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland. While there, she gained a degree in Equine Science.
Throughout her time at college, Blackmore raced as an amateur jockey. Originally, she was set on becoming a veterinarian after school. Despite her passion for horses and talent as a jockey, she never thought she would become a professional.
“I always wanted to be an amateur jockey and ride in races, but I never envisaged the professional jockey route. It was not a career I thought would work out for me,” said the Killenaule native.
6. She Grew Up Riding
Horses have long been an important part of Blackmore’s life as she grew up riding. Growing up on a farm, her family always had a lot of ponies.
From a young age, Blackmore participated in pony clubs, races and hunts. She learned to ride from her father, who worked as a dairy farmer. Her first pony race win came at age 13 when she beat fellow jockey Paul Townend.
7. She Had a Serious Fall at Killarney
While at Killarney in July, 2021, Blackmore had a serious fall. The nasty tumble gave her a fractured ankle and an injured hip.
In the preceding race, Blackmore guided Baltinglass Hill to an exciting win in a nose-to-nose finish. Her fall occurred during the Download The BoyleSports App Handicap Hurdle with favorite Merry Poppins. Medics attended to her after her fall before taking her to the hospital in an ambulance.
Blackmore underwent surgery for her injuries in July. Despite the setback, she plans to return to racing this October as has been having a smooth recovery.
8. She Enjoys Baking in Her Free Time
When not in the saddle, Blackmore enjoys baking at her house. Her favorite thing to bake is chocolate Coca-Cola cake.
Also read, 8 Facts & FAQs About Michelle Payne.
Rachael Blackmore works with trainer Henry De Bromhead. De Bromhead, who followed in his father’s footsteps, operates his training facility in Knockeen, Ireland.
Prior to owning his own operation, De Bromhead worked at the world-famous Coolmore Stud. He has trained numerous winners, including 15 Cheltenham Festival winners. He has trained four Irish Champion Hurdle winners and one Grand National winner.
Rachael Blackmore is dating fellow jockey Brian Hayes. Hayes is from Rosscarbery and is a talented jockey himself.
Hayes began as an amateur rider, with his first win in March 2008. He then became a professional, taking home his first win in September 2011. He competed against his girlfriend in the 2021 Grand National, coming in at 15th place aboard Class Conti.
Rachael Blackmore lives in County Carlow, Ireland along with her boyfriend Brian Hayes and fellow jockey, Patrick Mullins. Mullins is the son of the renowned horse trainer Willie Mullins.
“It is a great house to live in and it is in a really good location in Leighlinbridge. It is close to all the race tracks in Ireland,” said Blackmore on The Laughs of Your Life podcast.