Horse racing - Five and counting for Blackmore as Cheltenham charge continues

·2-min read
Cheltenham Festival

LONDON (Reuters) - Rachael Blackmore's victory charge continued at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday as the Irish jockey notched her fourth and fifth wins of a sensational week.

She steered 3-1 favourite Allaho to a romping triumph in the Ryanair Chase, her fourth Grade One win of the week, and shortly afterwards rode Telmesomethinggirl to victory in the Mares' Novice Hurdle.

The 31-year-old, who on Tuesday became the first woman jockey to win the Champion Hurdle on Honeysuckle and bagged two more victories on Wednesday, won by 12 lengths on the Willie Mullins-trained Allaho.

"It's incredible! I'm very grateful to be getting these opportunities. He put in a fair performance; he jumped and galloped everywhere. I never felt like I was out of my comfort zone anywhere. It was fantastic," Blackmore said.

It was yet another Cheltenham victory for Irish trainer Mullins who has taken his haul of wins at the Festival from 72 to 76 this week.

"Allaho did everything right. The first thing I did when Rachael come back in was lift her number cloth to see if the lead bag was in there as it looked like Allaho was just carrying Rachael around there!" he said.

Blackmore, the daughter of a dairy farmer who has a degree in equine science, is proving a trailblazer for female jockeys and she is on course to claim the prestigious Top Jockey award for most wins in the week.

She currently leads the way, two ahead of Jack Kennedy on three and Paul Townend and Nico de Boinville both on two.

Blackmore could also claim the biggest prize of all on Friday when she rides A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup.

"I'm overwhelmed by these last two days," Blackmore said. "It's all about the horses you're getting on and I feel so lucky to be riding for the people I'm riding for.

"I'm pinching myself -- it's crazy stuff."

Blackmore's day ended with a fall, however, as she came down riding Plan of Attack in the last race.

Although Blackmore remains modest about her achievements, 20-times Champion Jockey AP McCoy said she is the best jockey in the world at the moment.

"Without a doubt," he told ITV Sport. "The winners tell you that, she's riding with lots of confidence."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar, Ed Osmond and Toby Davis)