RACHAEL Blackmore completed a record-equalling week for female riders when she won Friday’s Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle on the last day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival aboard 50-1 shot Minella Indo.
It was her second success of the week, it was the second Grade One at the fixture to be won by a woman and, added to the Thursday wins of Bryony Frost and Lizzie Kelly, a fourth for the females – equalling last year’s tally.
If British racegoers had not been fully aware of exactly what Blackmore has been doing in Ireland all season, where she is second in the jockeys’ championship behind Paul Townend, with 84 winners, they certainly do now.
She was excellent on runaway winner A Plus Tard on Tuesday but was even better on the hard-pulling Minella Indo, also trained by Henry de Bromhead, who tanked his way through the race and never gave her a break.
She struck the perfect balance between restraint and freedom and then, when he might have been feeling the effects of having travelled so keenly, she brought him over to the stands rail to help him get home up the hill.
Those who thought the retirements last year of Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh would mean a drop off in success, were conclusively mistaken.
“I thought I was doing a little too much everywhere and hadn’t planned to hit the front so soon, but it’s grand when it works out,” said Blackmore.
Nico de Boinville was the meeting’s leading jockey with three winners after 20-1 shot Pentland Hills, a fourth winner of the week for Nicky Henderson, won the JCB Triumph Hurdle. He started the process of refilling bookmakers’ empty satchels that saw the five of the first six winners returned at double-digit odds, including 50-1 and 66-1.
-from The Telegraph.