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Blackmore Makes History at Cheltenham

Rachael Blackmore has made history, becoming the first female jockey to win Cheltenham. Blackmore has been BetVictor's Brand Ambassador for horse racing since 2019, and we sat down with her at her press conference after the race to discuss how she felt.

Last year, you were frustrated coming in second place in the Gold Cup last year. Were you anxious about having a repeat of last year? Did you do anything differently?

Blackmore: I just didn't want to do the same thing as last year because it didn't work but the horses in front of me made sure I didn't get there too soon. A Plus Tard felt very happy throughout the race this year, he jumped fantastically, I was able to take him back a little bit.

He was just good over the last two and he picked up incredibly after the last, it's an incredible feeling when you do that at the back of the last at Cheltenham and they take off like he did.

I was kinda happy that if I was going to get beaten for doing something different as opposed to being in the position I was in last year. That definitely didn't work, I was taking my luck and we got a split. It was incredible.

He's a classy horse. He won at Leopardstown over two miles and he's got plenty of pace and everyones has been happy with him. He's a very talented horse and I'm very lucky to be riding him.

“You don't truly believe until you cross the line”
What were you thinking and wow were you feeling when you jumped the last? Did you know you were going to win?

Blackmore: I just knew that coming down to the last that I had more horse under me this year and that's a great feeling, but you still have to get over the last.

When I landed after that and gave him a squeeze and he picked up, I knew I was going to get up to the line but you don't truly believe until you cross the line. It probably takes Henry about 10 strides after crossing the line until he believes it. It's incredible, I'm very lucky to be getting to ride these kind of horses and Henry's an incredible trainer who just had a 1-2 in the Gold Cup, that's just incredible.

“It's the closest thing to feeling like a rock star”
How was it winning this year at Cheltenham with crowds of people back the festival compared to last year?

Blackmore: Cheltenham is such a special place, it's so special because of the atmosphere and people and to have them all back and to get to walk back in when you can't see space, you can just see bodies. It's just incredible, it really really is. It's the closest thing to feeling like a rock star I think that you'll ever feel when you aren't able to sing.

How's does winning the Gold Cup compare with winning the Grand National and all your other accomplishments?

Blackmore: I'm so lucky, I can't believe it's not even been 12 months since the Grand National happened. Honeysuckle this week, and the champion hurdle. I wish I had better English to describe how it felt. It's very overwhelming. 

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