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It’s Day Four of the Cheltenham Festival, which means it’s Gold Cup day. This meeting is far from all about one race, but if there is a single race that stands alone, then it’s the Gold Cup, which is run over a gruelling three miles, two furlongs, and is a serious test of both stamina and determination.
To battle to victory in a Gold Cup, a horse must have plenty of heart, they must be gutsy, while the jockey must be patient, they must get their mount relaxed, get them settled and wait for their moment. Go too soon and you’ll run out of gas, leave it too late, and you could be left with too much to do up the hill. One jockey who knows all about getting it spot on in this race is Rachael Blackmore, who won aboard A Plus Tard last season.
A jockey for the big occasion
It’s absolutely fair to say that the 33-year-old rider from County Tipperary in Ireland is a jockey for the big occasion. Since 2017, she’d ridden 102 Grade 1 winners, winning races of the highest order such as the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, the Punchestown Gold Cup and the Irish Champion Hurdle, to name a few.
In steering A Plus Tard home in the 2022 renewal of this famous old race, Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey ever to ride a Gold Cup winner. Clearly one for firsts, her Gold Cup success arrived less than a year after she made history by becoming the first ever female jockey to ride a Grand National winner after getting the job done on Minella Times, another horse trainer by Henry de Bromhead.
She’s had the taste of glory this week too. On Day One of the festival, she produced an inch-perfect ride to get Honeysuckle home in the Mares’ Hurdle, while she proved that she’s so much more than just a steerer of favourites when winning aboard Envoi Allen in the Ryanair Chase on Thursday afternoon. That should have her fired up. Can she now landed the biggest prize of all for a second season running?
Rachael Blackmore Gold Cup Odds
Blackmore won’t be aboard the favourite on this occasion, but isn’t likely to bother her. She knows what her mount is capable of and if anybody can get this one home, it’s Rachael, who has had the privilege of riding A Plus Tard to success on no fewer than five occasions. She’s won aboard him twice at the Cheltenham Festival, in 2019 and in the Gold Cup last year.
As things stand, it looks as though Blackmore will be riding the second favourite for this race. At the time of writing, early on Friday morning, A Plus Tard is a 9/2 shot with most bookmakers, while some, including Boylesports and Unibet, have gone 4/1. Skybet and Paddy Power have already shortened the 2022 winner to 7/2 on their tissue, so it’s fair to say that the bookies think Rachael has a more than reasonable chance of coming home in front again.
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