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'True icon' Rachael Blackmore to be honoured with 2021 Irish Racing Hero award

‘Rachael has become more than a role model; she is a true icon of our wonderful sport and a most fitting winner of the 2021 Irish Racing Hero Award.’

Rachael Blackmore celebrates with the Randox Grand National Handicap Chase trophy after winning at Aintree.
Rachael Blackmore celebrates with the Randox Grand National Handicap Chase trophy after winning at Aintree.
Image: PA

RACHAEL BLACKMORE WILL receive a top Horse Racing Ireland [HRI] award next month.

Blackmore, 32, will be honoured with the 2021 Irish Racing Hero award at the annual HRI awards after her astonishing pioneering exploits this year.

The Killenaule native had an unforgettable Cheltenham Festival, making history as the first woman to claim the Leading Jockey award, with six winners, a tally topped only by Ruby Walsh.

Weeks later at Aintree, she became the first woman to ride the winner of the iconic Grand National with success aboard Minella Times.

Barry Geraghty won the Irish Racing Hero award last year, with Ruby Walsh and Pat Smullen joint recipients in 2019, and Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry likewise triumphant in 2018.

“Rachael’s achievements on two of jump racing’s biggest stages are truly historic,” Suzanne Eade, interim CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, said as today’s news was announced.

“Not only was she the first woman to ride the winner of a championship race at Cheltenham, but Rachael also became the first woman to win the Leading Jockey award at the festival. It is remarkable that her six winners included five at Grade 1 level.

“Her Aintree Grand National victory made headlines all over the world and that accomplishment alone will resonate with so many within the racing industry and beyond.

“Rachael has become more than a role model; she is a true icon of our wonderful sport and a most fitting winner of the 2021 Irish Racing Hero Award.”

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The HRI Awards will take place in early December, with nominations for the remaining awards categories to be announced tomorrow.

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Emma Duffy

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