A stunning week for Rachael Blackmore at the Cheltenham Festival was completed yesterday as she became the first woman to secure the coveted top jockeys' award.
Six wins - including a history-making victory aboard Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday - have seen the 31-year-old rocket to the summit of the sport, earning plaudits from the likes of Sir Anthony McCoy and Ruby Walsh. Her final afternoon started in a similar vein to the previous three days, as she steered the Henry de Bromhead-trained Quilixios to victory in the JCB Triumph Hurdle - and it so nearly climaxed with glory in the Gold Cup through A Plus Tard, who found only stablemate Minella Indo too good.
Blackmore was presented with her trophy by McCoy.
She said: "It's unbelievable (to be leading rider).
"I share a house with Patrick Mullins and he's got a McCoy trophy, so we're now going to have both AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh on the mantlepiece!
"It's phenomenal. I can't even comprehend being leading rider in Cheltenham. Getting an award from AP McCoy in the shape of Ruby Walsh - that's crazy!
"It's been a brilliant week. Henry de Bromhead is just an incredible trainer and I'm just part of that team and getting on those horses.
"Honeysuckle is definitely the stand-out moment of the week for me. She's extremely special and was phenomenal in the Champion Hurdle - and I got a great thrill off Allaho (in the Ryanair Chase).
"I just walked into the weighing room there and saw my mother on ITV - I don't know how that happened!
"I was hoping I'd get one winner - every jockey thinks like that. When you get one, it's some weight off your shoulders and everything is a bonus then after that."
Asked if it will change her life, she said: "I'm still in the bubble of it now. I don't know what's going to happen."
On the Gold Cup, she added: "My mask was up after the race, so you couldn't see my expression!
"I'm delighted for Henry and the team - they've had some week.
"I rode the wrong one, (but) I can't complain too much."