Since the 1930s, women have had a presence in horse racing. Unlike sports like football, basketball, or rugby in which male and female competitors compete separately, horse racing allows them to race on level terms. Female jockeys could take home silverware at Prestbury Park and fans can use the Cheltenham new customer offers to track all of the races. Not all female jockeys have made major names for themselves in the sport. But the few that have found success have influenced other women to take up the reins.
Rachael Blackmore is aiming to be the first female jump champion in horse racing history. The jockey has until the Punchestown Festival in May to overcome her rivals and take first prize. If she does, it could be the biggest achievement in women’s sports in quite some time.
Rachael Blackmore – Racing to history
Blackmore has already run over 500 times this season collecting more than 80 wins. Here total earnings have eclipsed that of any previous horse racing season as she has broken the £1 million barrier.
In February, Blackmore achieved the second treble of her career. The most newsworthy of those victories at Gowran Park was her win in the saddle of the De Bromhead-trained Monalee. The horse is highly rated as the season shifts toward the Cheltenham Festival.
Her performances have placed her second in this season’s Irish championship standings. Although she is just three wins behind leader Paul Townend, she has made far more runs than her rival. Regardless, Blackmore is blazing trails for female jockeys – and women as a whole.
Blackmore’s fame in Ireland has grown leaps and bounds. She will be one of several female jockeys featured in an upcoming documentary of women in the sport. The film will give viewers an insight into her life on the racetrack in the build-up to this season’s Cheltenham Festival. The film, titled “Jump Girls”, will be shown on television in Ireland and it will expose the female jockey to more people – race fans or not.
Rachael Blackmore – Cheltenham Festival
The Irish jockey plans to be at the Cheltenham Festival. Although nothing has been put in place as yet, Blackmore should be high in demand come the middle of March. And why shouldn’t she be in demand? Blackmore has performed well in the saddle this season. She has worked with the Giggstown and De Bromhead stables previously, and with so many races being run during the festival, it is likely Blackmore will pair up with one of the two groups.
Blackmore is in her fourth year of professional horse racing. She achieved her first win just months after turning professional in the saddle of Most Honourable. With the success Blackmore recently had at Gowran Park, there is every chance she could ride Monalee once more.
The Cheltenham Festival will not count towards points and earnings for the Irish jumps championship. If Blackmore wins, it will be headline grabbing, but she won’t get to make an assault on Townend’s lead until racing returns to Ireland following the festival.
Blackmore could make horse racing history this year. There are still plenty of races left in the season to overtake her rival and become the first woman to win the horse racing championship.