AP McCoy perfectly sums up scale of Rachael Blackmore's ground-breaking achievement
Rachael Blackmore has gone where no female jockey has ever gone before in winning the Champion Hurdle, after she teamed up with Honeysuckle for yet another ground-breaking victory.
The deadliest duo in horse-racing made it 11 wins from 11 runs but Tuesday's scintillating triumph was their finest, most breath-taking performance yet.
That it came on the biggest stage of all is a testament to jockey, trainer Henry De Bromhead and Honeysuckle, who is now the undisputed best mare in the game.
It's incredible to think that, even after all these wins and scalps taken, Honeysuckle still had her doubters coming here but Kenny Alexander's mare has silenced them all now.
Central to the triumph was Tipperary 30-year-old Blackmore, who bided her time before going for glory when the moment arrived. When asked the question, her partner in crime went like the wind to leave Sharjah and last year's champion Epatante in her wake. It was the perfect ride from Blackmore, who yet again demonstrated her coolness under pressure, as well as her telepathic relationship with this special horse.
Honeysuckle - she's special
🏇 11 races
🥇 11 wins
🏆 G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle
🏆 G1 Mares' Hurdle
🏆🏆 G1 Irish Champion Hurdle
🏆🏆 G1 Hatton's Grace
Honeysuckle remains unbeaten with glory in the Champion Hurdle for @rachaelblackmor & @HenrydeBromhead @CheltenhamRaces pic.twitter.com/UNUrZpJUVw
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 16, 2021
The Killenuale native was typically modest and deflecting in her post-race interview, praising everyone except for herself but the adulation and admiration was on its way. AP McCoy summed up her talents by claiming that she has all the attributes to go on and become a champion jockey - she is currently just six winners behind Paul Townend in the Irish standings.
"She walks the walk more than she talks the talk," said former champion AP McCoy matter-of-factly.
"I thought it would be really hard for a girl to be champion jockey, but she could easily be. She's got it all. She's as good as any girl I've ever seen on a horse," said former champion AP McCoy matter of factly.
"She walks the walk more than she talks the talk.
"I often said I thought it be really hard for a girl to be Champion Jockey, but she could easily be."
AP McCoy on the brilliant Rachael Blackmore.#CheltenhamFestival #VMTVRacing pic.twitter.com/MLo3sEMmeT
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 16, 2021
Wexford's Mick Fitzgerald says Blackmore's feat will inspire young girls all over.
"There's girls up and down the country looking at this and thinking 'I can win a Champion Hurdle.'"
Trainer Henry De Bromhead praised the jockey's composure in the pressure-cooker.
"What a partnership she and Rachael have. She was so cool throughout the race."
We'll leave the last word to the history-maker herself.
"I'm speechless to be honest. I can't believe we've just won a Champion Hurdle. Henry just produces her every day, and I get to steer her around. It's just incredible.
"It doesn't matter what you are (male or female), we're jockeys, we're winning races and it's just a privilege to be here."