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Awestruck Blackmore caps thrilling week with top jockey award


Rachael Blackmore is presented with the top jockey award by Sir AP McCoy

Rachael Blackmore is presented with the top jockey award by Sir AP McCoy

�INPHO/Dan Abraham

Rachael Blackmore is presented with the top jockey award by Sir AP McCoy

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.

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"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."

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