Champion Hurdle history made

17 March 2021 03:38:44 GMTPlus11

Rachael Blackmore has become the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after guiding Honeysuckle to glory in Tuesday's feature race.

Honeysuckle was the heavy favourite heading into the Grade 1 contest and she lived up to that billing, moving into the lead ahead of the final flight before eventually winning by six and a half lengths for trainer Henry de Bromhead.

The unbeaten seven-year-old has now won 11 successive races, while Blackmore becomes the first female jockey to triumph in the Champion Hurdle, just three months after Bryony Frost achieved a similar feat when steering Frodon to victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Despite the lack of crowds in attendance at this year's Festival, Blackmore still received a rousing reception when entering the winner's circle and she was almost lost for words when asked about her success.

"Absolutely incredible. I am speechless to be honest. I really am," the 31-year-old told reporters. "I can't believe we just won the Champion Hurdle. Incredible. Unbelievable for everyone in the yard, they all work so hard.

"It doesn't matter what you are. We are jockeys. It is just a privilege to be here."

The week could get even better for Blackmore, who has a number of high-profile rides still to come, including when she saddles Honeysuckle's stablemate A Plus Tard in Friday's Gold Cup.

A female jockey has never won the Gold Cup, but Blackmore is priced at 4.33 to guide A Plus Tard to glory on Friday and, if she does, then she will make even more history.

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