An incredible year for Rachael Blackmore continued when she was voted BBC World Sport Star on Sunday.
Blackmore, 32, made history at the Cheltenham Festival in March when becoming the first woman to win the Champion Hurdle and also to lift the leading rider award.
She then topped even that at Aintree in April when guiding Minella Times to victory in the Grand National, making her the first woman to win the world’s greatest steeplechase.
Up against a field for the BBC award that included NFL superstar Tom Brady and boxing great Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Blackmore came out on top in the public vote.
Blackmore had flown over from Ireland to attend the ceremony in person but was delayed at Manchester Airport.
She told Gabby Logan and Clare Balding in the studio: “I made it as far as Manchester Airport!”
Of her achievements in the saddle, Blackmore said: “I never even dreamt they could happen to be honest. It’s far surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. It’s just been an incredible year.
“The reaction has been brilliant, obviously for me personally they are such massive things to achieve but I think when you can bring a bit of joy to other people that makes it even more special.
“The reaction from everyone at home has been incredible and I feel very privileged to have had the year I’ve add.”
She added: “The Grand National was incredible, I felt I was exactly where I wanted to be (in the race). I visualised how I’d like things to work out and they seemed to just happen. You need a lot of things to fall into place for that to happen. It was just incredible.”
After being announced as the winner, she said: “The support has been incredible and I got such a kick out of being on that list of nominees.
“It’s kind of overwhelming. It’s unbelievable.”