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Cheltenham stewards offer Blackmore advice following dramatic novice chase

Rachael Blackmore was offered advice by the Cheltenham stewards as to what action she might take in the future should there be a repeat of the circumstances surrounding the dramatic match race for the SSS Super Alloys Novices’ Chase.

Blackmore’s mount had been headed by My Drogo, after setting the pace, when the odds-on favourite came down at the second-last fence.

Gin On Lime made a mistake and sprawled on landing, but Blackmore managed to keep the partnership intact, pick the Henry de Bromhead-trained mare up and get her to jump the final obstacle safely to claim the prize.

Gin On Lime and Rachael Blackmore jump the last at Cheltenham
Gin On Lime and Rachael Blackmore jump the last at Cheltenham (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Had Blackmore parted company with Gin On Lime the two-horse race would have been declared void. In November 2009, the British Horseracing Authority introduced new safety rules with jockeys no longer being allowed to remount horses after the start of a race.

A report from the stewards following the race read: “An enquiry was held to consider the circumstances surrounding Rachael Blackmore, the rider of the winner, Gin On Lime, continuing in the race when her horse had made a very bad mistake at the penultimate fence.

“Blackmore and the veterinary officer were interviewed, and recordings of the incident were viewed. The veterinary officer stated that a post-race examination of Gin On Lime failed to reveal any abnormalities. The stewards noted Blackmore’s explanation that she felt the mare get to its feet quickly without any ill effects and having trotted soundly away, she was satisfied that Gin On Lime was fit to continue in the race.

“She was advised that in similar circumstances she should take more time to assess the welfare of her mount.”

Speaking immediately after the race, Blackmore – who in March became the first female jockey to be crowned leading rider at the Festival – said: “It was a very strange race and it was very unfortunate for the Skeltons what happened (with My Drogo), but the ball has fallen right for me I suppose.

“She just crumpled under me and it was quite a slow motion thing. She’s an extremely honest mare to go down and jump the last and canter over the line.”

Gin On Lime survives drama at the second-last to score at Cheltenham

Gin On Lime won a barely believable race for the SSS Super Alloys Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, after My Drogo fell at the second-last fence when there was all to play for.

My Drogo had just taken the lead when he came down – and Gin On Lime slithered on landing and was close to falling at that obstacle herself.

Rachael Blackmore managed to somehow keep the partnership intact, pick the Henry de Bromhead-trained mare up and get her to jump the final obstacle safely.

Gin On Lime (7-4) had given My Drogo a good lead through the early stages, with Harry Skelton taking the 4-9 favourite to the outside of his rival to hold a narrow lead at the penultimate fence, where all the drama unfolded.

Blackmore told ITV Racing: “She didn’t go from left to right so it wasn’t that difficult (to sit). It was very strange, a two-horse race, it just shows you that anything can happen. Harry loomed up beside me and I thought he was going to go away from me at the second-last. She was so honest to get up and keep going like that, she was incredible.

“Such honesty from her to do that, she didn’t put in the best round of jumping. There’s lot going on around the place and she wasn’t sure where she was going. It was so incredibly honest of the mare to do that.”

De Bromhead said: “It was mad, wasn’t it? We looked beaten, I don’t think the favourite deserved it (to fall) at all, he’d jumped brilliantly throughout. It’s one of those things you don’t expect to see, but it worked out in our favour.

“Obviously many days out in the hunting field stood her in good stead there, she was brilliant. You wouldn’t believe it would you?”

He added of his winner: “I’m not sure she was quite herself. She’s quite a buzzy lady and she’d normally run with a lot more zest, she was jumping right and we always felt she was better going left.

“I’m just not sure she was herself, we said we’d come over here to have a look, with maybe a view to the mares’ chase back in the spring. But we’ve been on the go all summer and I think it might have been one run too many. It was great for her to win.”

All the drama at the second-last
All the drama at the second-last (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Trainer Dan Skelton, meanwhile, was in philosophical mood when giving his assessment of My Drogo.

“He jumped the fence fine and knuckled down on landing. You saw what happened,” he told Racing TV.

“I was delighted with him the whole way round. He jumped beautifully. He was a bit big at a couple down the back. He jumped the ditch at the top of the hill better than the mare.

“He came there on the bridle and would have won. We all know that, but at least he’s all right. I’m totally relaxed about it.

“Frustrated he’s ended up not completing the race and that goes on his record, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lesser horse. He cantered up the straight. He’s gone a nice, strong gallop, which is unusual in a two-horse race. Fair play to Rachael staying on. She made a similar mistake. That’s racing. We move on.”

Blackmore in fine form with Killarney treble

Rachael Blackmore enjoyed a hat-trick of winners during a successful day on the opening card of Killarney’s three-day May meeting.

Mr Tambourine Man triumphed on his second run over hurdles when taking the Follow Killarney Races On Instagram Maiden Hurdle to give the Grand National-winning jockey the first leg of her treble when riding for trainer John Halley.

The four-year-old was previously campaigned on the Flat by Aidan O’Brien and joined Halley’s yard in April to embark on his jumping career.

The Galileo gelding was fourth on his hurdling debut at Kilbeggan, a run he built on to come home eight lengths ahead of San Pedro.

“He had a lovely run the last day in Kilbeggan so (he was) stepping up on that,” Blackmore said of the 4-1 scorer. “It was great he could do that today.

“John does loads of schooling with them, but the penny is still only dropping with him on the jumping side of it.”

Blackmore sealed a double after steering Henry de Bromhead’s Cavalry Master to a four-and-a-half-length victory in the Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Novice Chase.

A seven-year-old by Milan, the grey Cavalry Master (2-1) was an impressive winner at Kilbeggan and handled another furlong on this occasion with aplomb.

“He stepped up again from the last day and is taking to chasing very well,” Blackmore said.

“In the past he won a two-mile bumper at Kilbeggan, so we weren’t sure if he’d stay, but the last day he stayed really well.

“He was up in trip a little further again today and stayed on well again.”

Gin On Lime (15-8) then became Blackmore’s third winner when she prevailed in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase for De Bromhead, easily beating stablemate and 7-4 favourite Tune The Chello by 42 lengths, having been left clear two out.

“She is a very good mare on her day and really enjoyed it there,” Blackmore said.

“She had a little break and seems to have come back from it really well.

“The ground is on the better side of yielding, she jumped and travelled brilliantly and could go through the summer.”

Noel Meade’s Jesse Evans could head for the Galway Hurdle after victory in the Kelly Farm Modernisation Ltd Handicap Hurdle.

The 9-2 winner was a competitive third at Punchestown and improved on that run to succeed by half a length under Sean Flanagan.

“He is obviously a smart horse and his run at Punchestown was his first in a competitive handicap and it has sharpened him up,” the jockey said.

“He might need a trip in time or exactly what we have had today, a really strong gallop – the Galway Hurdle could be a possibility.”

Getaway Gorgeous became a Listed winner when taking the Tourist Attraction Mares Hurdle for Brian Hayes and Willie Mullins.

Running for the first time since finishing last of 23 runners in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, the mare was this time triumphant as she defeated Western Victory by a length and a half.

The seven-year-old was kept towards the rear of the field for much of the race, but began to pick her rivals off in the final furlongs and overcame a messy jump at the last to prevail at 11-2.

“She landed there at the back of the second-last and I had to keep going then and she jinked at the last when she got a bit of light and was wandering around a bit,” Hayes said.

“She was due to run without a hood in Punchestown, but slipped up on the way to the start and was withdrawn, so today was only her second run without a hood and having no hood today maybe lit the fire again and she won well.

“She ran OK when finishing 10th in the Paddy Mullins Hurdle (in February) which worked out to be a great race and I was delighted with her today.”