Tag Archive for: Rachael Blackmore

Rachael Blackmore breaks new ground with Bronte Cup success

Rachael Blackmore enjoyed a perfect introduction to York racecourse as Term Of Endearment claimed Group Three glory in the William Hill Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes.

The rider has ticked all the main boxes in the National Hunt sphere, having won the Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle, but victory in this one-mile-six-furlong contest represented her highest achievement on the level.

Trained by long-term ally Henry de Bromhead, Term Of Endearment triumphed in this company last term and was sent off a 4-1 shot on the Knavesmire, launching her challenge a couple of furlongs from home.

Night Sparkle made a good battle of it, with the pair getting very close which prompted a stewards’ inquiry, although Term Of Endearment was eventually confirmed as the three-quarter-length winner.

Blackmore told Racing TV: “It’s very cool to be asked to ride in the first place and a race of this calibre, it’s very special to be able to win it. I’m delighted.

“I was hopeful in the middle of the week that if I got to ride her she would have a right chance because there was so much rain, but it really dried up. After walking the track I wondered if the best of her would come out on that ground.

“She produced a really good run and seemed to be able to do it on that ground as well.

“That was her first time stepping up to that trip and maybe the nicer ground on that trip suited her fine. It’s just very cool to get a ride in Group Three race and even better to win.

“It’s very much a different type of riding (on the Flat), it’s just so different to what I do day to day – you’re learning different things all the time.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Rachael Blackmore Serial Winners Fund hits £250,000

Betfair’s ‘Rachael Blackmore Serial Winners Fund’ wrapped up having raised £250,000 for the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Irish Injured Jockeys.

The initiative began on Betfair Chase day at Haydock last November, when the bookmaker pledged to add £5,000 to the pot every time Blackmore rode a winner between that meeting and the Grand National fixture.

Betfair kicked off the fund with a £100,000 donation and Blackmore duly provided the winners, including two Cheltenham Festival victories worth a boosted £10,000 each.

She then came incredibly close aboard Bob Olinger in the Aintree Hurdle on Thursday, missing out by a nose after suffering interference and failing to persuade the stewards that the placings ought to be reversed.

Betfair added to the fund nevertheless, providing a ‘justice payout’ to hit the £250,000 mark as the fundraising window drew to a close following Blackmore’s third-placed run aboard Minella Indo in the Grand National.

Jockey Rachael Blackmore with Minella Indo ahead of day three of the 2024 Randox Grand National
Jockey Rachael Blackmore with Minella Indo ahead of the 2024 Randox Grand National (David Davies/PA)

Blackmore said: “The Serial Winners Fund was an incredible initiative run by Betfair throughout the season in support of the Injured Jockeys Fund in Ireland and UK, it’s one that I am very proud to have been a part of.

“This really is a substantial donation, generously topped up by Betfair, and will support the vital work they carry out helping jockeys in all areas of their lives.”

Lisa Hancock, CEO of the Injured Jockeys Fund, added: “Coming to the Canal Turn, we thought that Rachel and Minella Indo were going to finish the initiative in the most spectacular way, but I Am Maximus had other ideas.

“It’s been a wonderful campaign for us and we are so grateful to the Betfair team for supporting us so very generously.”

Michael Higgins, general manager of the Irish Injured Jockeys, commented: “We’re delighted to be part of the Betfair Serial Winners Fund with our UK colleagues the IJF. Thanks to Betfair for their generosity and Rachael for her winners.”

Betfair’s Charlotte Booth said: “Our team visited both Oaksey House in Lambourn and the RACE facility in Ireland and witnessed firsthand the work both charities do. It’s nothing short of amazing to see the services and support they provide to jockeys and the dedication of the teams.

“These are such important charities for the racing community, and I am sure this initiative has raised awareness of these great causes.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Blackmore ‘serial winners fund’ closing in on bumper total for charity

Betfair’s ‘Rachael Blackmore Serial Winners Fund’ is closing in on its target as it aims to provide £250,000 for two worthy charities.

The initiative was kick-started by a £100,000 donation from Betfair, with £5,000 added for every Blackmore winner ridden between Betfair Chase Day in November last year and the Grand National at Aintree in April.

The target sum is £250,000 and with several weeks still to go there is already £155,000 in the pot before the upcoming festivals at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Aintree.

The funds raised will benefit the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Irish Injured Jockeys, both charities that support current and former riders on either side of the Irish Sea.

Blackmore, an ambassador for Betfair, said: ‘It’s fantastic to see all the amazing work the Injured Jockeys Fund does to support jockeys at facilities like Oaksey House (in Lambourn).

“This is a very generous initiative from Betfair, one that will benefit the Irish Injured Jockeys too, and will go a long way to creating more support facilities, in both UK and Ireland.“

To illustrate the need for the backing of such valuable work, Betfair sent tipster Daryl Carter to Oaksey House in Lambourn for a special edition of their ‘Coaching Carter’ series, where he met the recipients of the charity’s ongoing support to the industry.

Among them was former jockey Wayne Burton, who suffered serious head and spinal injuries in 2008 and lives at Oaksey House after being left paralysed from the chest down.

Burton is training to complete the London Marathon in his wheelchair in April, and said of the role the IJF has played in his recovery: “I did lose my speech, my understanding of what things were and where I was – that was a really hard battle for me at the time.

“Without the IJF I wouldn’t be here today, this place was built a year after my accident so as soon as this was open I was one of the first jockeys to come here.”

Carter also spoke with George Baker, another former jockey who won the St Leger aboard Harbour Law in 2016 before suffering severe injuries in a fall on the ‘White Turf’ at St Moritz.

Baker had a bleed on the brain and spent a significant amount of time in hospital before being rehabilitated at Oaksey House, where he now works alongside being a trustee for the charity.

“I am a trustee for the Injured Jockeys Fund and I work here three or four days a week in my role as a jockey coach,” he said.

“The Injured Jockeys Fund were a massive help to me, I had a bad accident in 2017 in Switzerland, at St Moritz on the White Turf.

“I was hospital in London for three or four months, I think it was a harder journey for my family more than anything and the next phase of my rehab was coming here.

“They helped rebuild me, really. I had to learn to walk again. They were instrumental in getting me back to work, they asked me to be a trustee and I’m very, very happy to facilitate that because the Injured Jockeys Fund is so close to my heart.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Ain’t That A Shame battles to Thyestes triumph

Ain’t That A Shame secured the big prize he has long promised in an attritional renewal of the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park.

Having been placed in the Munster National at Limerick and the lucrative Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown last season, Henry de Bromhead’s charge was a leading fancy for the Grand National at Aintree last spring but trailed home last of 17 finishers.

That effort looked to have taken its toll on the Robcour-owned 10-year-old, as he was well held in the Kerry National on his first start of the current campaign and then pulled up in the Troytown at Navan, but he bounced back to his best to plunder one of the Irish calendar’s feature handicaps in Kilkenny.

A 14-1 shot in the hands of Rachael Blackmore, Ain’t That A Shame initially raced in midfield before taking closer order with a circuit to run.

He moved to the lead travelling strongly in the home straight and although he was briefly headed by Glengouly on the run-in, Ain’t That A Shame fought back to plunder the lion’s share of the €100,000 prize fund by two and a half lengths.

“Our other horses were shorter in the betting today but Rachael stuck with Ain’t That A Shame, which I thought was a brave move,” said De Bromhead. “She really believed in him and I’d say Davey Roche (assistant trainer) had a lot to do with that as well.

Ain't That A Shame and jockey Rachael Blackmore after winning at Gowran Park
Ain’t That A Shame and jockey Rachael Blackmore after winning at Gowran Park (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I was saying last week ‘will we be calling you Wrong Choice Rach?’ – but she didn’t find that very funny! Anyway, she was absolutely spot-on and fair play to her.

“He had a good run on nicer ground at Leopardstown last year, although he did seem to stop at Aintree. Even today, we were coming here a bit grey and weren’t sure, even though he seemed great at home.

“He also seemed great at home before pulling up in the Troytown Chase and the stewards have just asked me for the reason for his improvement in form, but we genuinely didn’t know (what happened at Navan) and were very disappointed. I suppose they are allowed to have a bad day though.”

He added: “It was great to have dad (Harry) here the first day we won this race (in 2017), as it was the 25th year since he won the race, and it is great to have mum here now. It is brilliant to get it for Robcour and it was some ride from Rachael.

“We all come out of hibernation at this time of year and it really is a race that stops a county and is great for the south east.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero A Plus Tard retired

A Plus Tard, winner of the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup, has been retired from racing.

Owned by Cheveley Park Stud and trained by Henry de Bromhead, A Plus Tard gave jockey Rachael Blackmore a historic victory in the Prestbury Park feature as she became the first woman to ride the winner of jump racing’s blue riband.

The 10-year-old rocketed to a 15-length success that day, supplementing three previous Grade One wins, including a 22-length verdict in the 2021 Betfair Chase.

However, A Plus Tard has struggled to make his mark since that Gold Cup win, pulling up on two occasions and finishing third at Aintree in April before bowing out when unplaced in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown last month.

A Plus Tard in action at Aintree last April
A Plus Tard in action at Aintree last April (Tim Goode/PA)

Richard Thompson, director of Cheveley Park Stud, paid tribute to the gelding who realised the dream of his late father, David, when winning at Cheltenham.

He said in a statement: “My father and I sat down in early 2018 and agreed a plan to buy some National Hunt horses to be trained in Ireland with the aim of winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“Just over four years later, we achieved this objective when Rachael Blackmore rode A Plus Tard to victory in front of 70,000 people at the first Cheltenham Festival post Covid.

“My father watched A Plus Tard win the Savills Chase in a thrilling finish on television on December 28, 2020. He died the very next day. It was the last horse race he ever watched.

“A Plus Tard was also the first Cheltenham winner in the red, white and blue Cheveley Park Stud colours and also Rachael Blackmore’s first winner at Cheltenham in the 2019 Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Chase. Rachael rode him to five of his six victories and Darragh O’Keeffe rode him in the other one.

“For all of the above reasons, A Plus Tard will always be a very special horse in the history of my parents’ ownership of Cheveley Park Stud.

“A special thank you to Henry de Bromhead and all the team at Knockeen and to Rachael too. To win the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the Holy Grail of National Hunt racing and we will never forget March 18, 2022.”

A Plus Tard will remain at De Bromhead’s Knockeen yard in the immediate future before returning to Cheveley Park in Newmarket to enjoy his retirement.

Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead with A Plus Tard
Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead with A Plus Tard (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

De Bromhead added: “A Plus Tard was our first horse to train for Cheveley Park Stud and the Thompson Family. He was bought from France by Alex Elliot and gave us many memorable days, culminating in the 2022 Gold Cup.

“He was sublime that day, not only visually impressive, but also one of the highest rated winners of the Gold Cup in the last 30 years, as well as being one of the best horses we have ever had in our yard.

“We were delighted when this very special horse won Cheveley Park Stud their first Gold Cup.”

Blackmore was equally fulsome in her praise of A Plus Tard, telling Betfair: “He had everything you could ask for in a horse, speed, stamina, really accurate jumper.

“To feel him accelerate like he did after the last in the Gold Cup is a feeling I’ll never forget, I feel so lucky to have been on his back.

“He was incredible and such a special horse to me. He will enjoy a very well-deserved retirement now.”

A Plus Tard bows out the winner of eight of his 23 career starts, with over £957,000 in prize-money.



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Jockey Profiles: Blackmore, Kennedy, Townend

This is the third article in a series looking at the performance of some of the top National Hunt jockeys. Parts 1 and 2 can be read here and here. For this piece I will be heading over the water to examine the stats of three of the top Irish jockeys - Paul Townend, Jack Kennedy and Rachael Blackmore.

I have analysed NH data for racing from 1st Jan 2016 to 31st Oct 2023 with the primary focus being their respective records in Ireland. However, at the end of each jockey’s section I have shared a selection of their UK stats.

As with the first two articles the Geegeez Query Tool has been my ‘go to’ for data collection, and I have sourced further insights from the Geegeez Profiler to help with certain parts. Profits and losses have been calculated to Industry SP, but I quote Betfair SP where appropriate. All tables include A/E indices, and when any data has been pulled from the Geegeez Profiler Tool, I also share the PRB figures (Percentage of Rivals Beaten).

Let’s start with Paul Townend.

Paul Townend Overall Record

Below is Paul Townend’s Irish record across all runners during the study period:

 

 

A strike rate of better than one in four is comfortably the best we have seen so far in this series. The PRB of 0.66 is very high and the A/E index of 0.93 is comfortably above the average figure for all jockeys which stands at 0.87. Losses of nearly 16p in the £ to SP are a note of caution, however; to BSP this loss is reduced to just under 3p in the £.

Of course, Townend's overall win rate is so good because he rides primarily for the behemoth Willie Mullins yard – just over 65% of his total Irish rides have been for Mullins during this time frame. Below is his record with Mullins compared to all other trainers combined:

 

 

As we can see it is a staggering 34.2% strike rate when riding for Mullins in Ireland compared with 12.1% for all other trainers.

Paul Townend Record by Year

Yearly stats are my next port of call. Here is a breakdown by both win, and win/placed (Each Way) percentage / Strike Rate (SR%):

 

This graph is unlike any graph we have seen to date in this series. However, this is because in 2016 and 2017 Townend rode 239 times for Mullins but 534 times for other trainers. Since 2018 he has ridden 1443 times for Mullins and only 356 times for other trainers. Indeed, in 2022 and 2023 he has had 488 rides in total of which 475 have been for Mullins: just 13 for other trainers. As we have already seen, more rides for Mullins means better strike rates.

Paul Townend Record by Betting Odds / Price (SP)

A look next at his results by splitting them into different price bands:

 

 

The prices to concentrate on seem to be the shorter priced ones. Townend has almost broken even to SP with horses priced 13/8 or shorter. To BSP these runners would have made a small £21.10 profit (ROI +2.8%). Horses at the other end of the scale (16/1 or bigger) should be avoided if these past results are anything to go by.

Paul Townend Record by Race type

It is time to see if Townend’s record is better in chase or hurdle races:

 

 

He has ridden in far more hurdle races than chases, but his chase record looks slightly superior. When riding a clear favourite in a chase he has secured a strike rate of 54.3% (182 wins from 335) for an SP profit of £31.25 (ROI +9.3%). To BSP this increases a little to +£47.17 (ROI +14.1%).

Paul Townend Record by Racecourse

I am now going to look at all courses where Townend has had at least 100 rides. The courses are listed alphabetically:

 

 

His strike rate at Navan is modest by Townend's own standards but, thanks to a few double figure priced winners, he has edged into profit there. At Galway his stats are relatively poor, but Galway does stage highly competitive racing which could at least partially explain the figures. In contrast, the Tramore data are exceptional, hitting close to 40% of winners and showing excellent profits and a huge PRB figure of 0.75. For the record, in 2020 he won 8 of his 12 rides at the track and in 2022 won 8 out of 10.

Paul Townend Record by Run style

Time to look at an area that is still undervalued by some punters namely run style. Here is a breakdown of Paul Townend's run style performance in terms of win strike rate across ALL races:

 

 

This breakdown shows one of the strongest front running biases I have seen. A strike rate of 44% is mind-blowing. If you had been able to predict pre-race which of his horses went into an early lead you would have secured an SP profit of £40.60 (ROI +7.6%). Contrast that with the returns on all hold up horses, which would have produced significant losses of £197.00 (ROI -30.3%).

Let me also share his run style record when riding the favourite:

 

 

Front running favourites have produced outstanding results with prominent-racing favourites outperforming the other two groups.

Paul Townend UK data

Before moving on to our next jockey, let me take a quick look at Townend’s record in the UK. Overall, he has had 221 rides of which 38 have been successful meaning his strike rate has been 17.2%. (179 of his 221 rides have been for Mullins). His strike rate is lower here compared to Ireland as two thirds of his rides have come at Cheltenham with the majority of those being at the Festival. His Cheltenham strike rate is exactly 17% and you would have made a 10.7% profit if backing all his rides at the track. He is a rare visitor to tracks away from Aintree and Cheltenham, but at Perth he is 4 from 9 (SR 44.4%) for a profit of £5.50 (ROI +61.1%).

Possibly the most interesting UK stats are related to market position. Backing Townend on favourites would have lost you nearly 22p in the £; backing him on second favourites this worsens to losses of over 64p in the £. However, if backing runners from outside the top two in the betting you would have made an SP profit of £49.00 (ROI +41.5%).

 

*

Jack Kennedy Overall Record

Jack Kennedy’s record across all Irish races is as follows:

 

Kennedy is close to hitting 17% in terms of win rate, with a slightly above average A/E index and a decent PRB figure. Losses have been around 20p in the £ to SP which is still some way below the average. To Betfair SP you would have turned that loss into a small profit of £112.36 (ROI +4.2%). However, one big-priced Betfair winner (168.49) is responsible for that.

My next port of call is looking at his yearly figures.

Jack Kennedy Record by Year

Below we see the yearly breakdown by strike rate - both win, and win/placed (Each Way):

 

 

In general, we have seen an uptick in the past four years with 2020, 2022 and 2023 seeing win percentages more than 20%. 2021 looks disappointing from a win perspective but the each way figure suggests he was perhaps a little unlucky that year. This was also the year when his main trainer, Gordon Elliott, was suspended for six months, which is surely a contributory factor.

While discussing each way stats they have also been much stronger since the start of 2020.

Jack Kennedy Record by Betting Odds / Price (SP)

I would like to look at the market now and I am splitting results up by the same Starting Price bands as earlier:

 

 

The shortest price band (Evens or shorter) have actually nudged into a miniscule profit. Horses priced 4/1 or shorter have completely outperformed those 9/2 or bigger when looking at returns and A/E indices. To BSP, horses priced 4/1 or shorter have made a small profit to £1 level stakes of £30.21 (ROI +3.2%). Overall, it looks worth avoiding bigger priced runners ridden by Kennedy.

Jack Kennedy Record by Race type

Under the microscope next comes Jack's record in hurdle races and chases.

 

 

We have a very similar set of figures for both race types. However, it is worth splitting the hurdle stats into handicap versus non-handicaps. In non-handicaps his strike rate has been 21% with SP losses of 11p in the £; in handicaps the strike rate drops to under 10% (9.1%) with losses of 40p in the £. To BSP non-handicaps have made a profit of £214.60 (ROI +18.1%), handicaps have still made a significant loss of £187.96 (ROI -28.1%).

Jack Kennedy Record by Racecourse

It is course data next for Kennedy. As earlier, 100 runs at a track is the cut off point for the table:

 

 

Kennedy has crept into profit at just Down Royal thanks mainly to an excellent strike rate of over 28%. He has a very good record on favourites at this track winning on 20 of the 31 of them. Not only that, of the other 11 he has finished placed on nine. Backing all Kennedy-ridden favourites at Down Royal would have yielded an SP profit of £10.45 (ROI +33.7%). To BSP this nudges up slightly to £11.69 (ROI +37.7%).

Jack Kennedy Record by Trainer

Nearly 80% of his rides have been for Gordon Elliott and their record together is much stronger than when we combine Kennedy with all the other trainers he has ridden for. Here are those splits:

 

 

It is interesting when we revisit the Down Royal stats in terms of trainers. When teaming up with Elliott, Kennedy is 35 from 96 (SR 36.5%), all other trainers have provided just one win from 20.

Jack Kennedy Record by Run Style

Let me look at the run style splits next starting with win percentages:

 

 

His front running record is excellent and if you had been able to predict pre-race which of his horses went into an early lead you would have secured an SP profit of £61.57 (ROI +21.5%). Conversely, backing all hold up horses would have seen huge losses of £314.42 (ROI -51.3%).

Let me also share his run style record when riding the favourite:

 

 

It is the same powerful message that we have seen numerous times before. It is remarkable to think that front-running favourites have been twice as successful as held up favourites in terms of win percentage.

Jack Kennedy UK data

Before moving onto Rachael Blackmore, a quick look at Kennedy's UK stats. He is not a regular visitor and comes primarily for the big two festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree. His overall UK record reads 17 wins from 123 (SR 13.8%) for an SP profit of £45.31 (ROI +38.8%). He has had three winners priced between 20/1 and 25/1 which skew the profit figure somewhat. At Cheltenham he has had 11 wins from 76 (SR 14.5%), while at Aintree he has won 4 races from 25 rides (SR 16%).

 

*

Rachael Blackmore Overall Record

Rachael Blackmore burst to prominence in 2021 when she not only won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham but she also became leading jockey at the Festival, a month before being the first female jockey to win the Grand National, on Minella Times. A year later she repeated her win in the Champion hurdle and followed it up with success in the Gold Cup: it is quite a CV she is building. I will look at her UK stats at the end of this section, but let me start with Irish data and her overall record there:

 

 

Her overall figures look moderate, especially when comparing them to the other jockeys we have looked at to date in this series. However, to BSP losses have been massively reduced to just 3p in the £ rather than 23p. We do need to examine her yearly stats as they will paint a clearer picture.

Rachael Blackmore Record by Year

Below we see her yearly breakdown by strike rate - both win, and win/placed (Each Way):

 

 

As you can see, she started from a very low base in 2016 winning less than 7% of the time. Compare that with the improved record from 2018 which coincides with getting more rides for trainer Henry de Bromhead. 2021 was her best year in terms of both win and each way strike rates.

Rachael Blackmore Record by Betting Odds / Price (SP)

Time to examine different price bands to see if any patterns emerge:

 

 

We see a similar trend here to both Townend and Kennedy, where shorter priced runners have been better value. Horses sent off at evens or shorter have made a profit, albeit only just. Once the prices hit 9/2 or bigger the results are relatively modest.

Rachael Blackmore Record by Race type

It is chases versus hurdles next:

 

 

The returns on investment (ROI) for each group are within 1% of each other. She has a better SR% in chases, but this is more down to field size than anything else (average field size in hurdle races is bigger than in chases).

Rachael Blackmore Record by Racecourse

Splitting Rachael's results up by course next. 100+ rides again to qualify:

 

 

Just one course has seen a strike rate higher than 20% which is Naas, standing at 23.8%. Blackmore has made decent profits there, too, and her A/E index of 1.31 is also excellent. She has had winners at 25/1 and 22/1 at Naas, but she has made a solid profit with shorter priced runners, too. Indeed, focusing on Naas runners from the top two in the betting, you would have been rewarded with 22 winners from 50 (SR 44%) for an SP profit of £16.98 (ROI +34%). Tipperary has edged into profit, and she has a good record on favourites there (13 wins from 28) returning 19p in the £ to SP. Her overall record at Downpatrick has been poor in comparison, although there have been better signs in the past two years with 4 wins from 24 (SR 16.7%).

Rachael Blackmore Record by Trainer

Henry de Bromhead has provided just under half of Blackmore’s rides during the period of study, but that figure is around 70% when we focus in on this year 2023. There are three other trainers that she has had at least 75 rides for and has ridden for them this year - they are also in the table below:

 

 

Her strike rate when teaming up with de Bromhead is good and the partnership would have made a blind profit to BSP, although those profits were accrued over 2018 and 2019. At Naas Blackmore and de Bromhead have combined to win 23 of their 71 starts (SR 32.4%) for a healthy SP profit of £76.04 (ROI +107.1%).

Rachael Blackmore Record by Run Style

The final main Irish section focuses on Blackmore and her run style stats.

 

 

Front runners would have yielded excellent returns of 28p in the £ if you had predicted their run style pre-race. Compare that with losses for both mid-division runners and hold up horses who both would have lost a whopping 46p in the £. Front runners for de Bromhead have won just over 30% of the time when Blackmore has been on board.

Now favourites split by run style:

 

 

As with the ‘all runners’ stats, front-running favourites would have proved profitable while hold up/midfield favourites would have lost 37p and 42p in the £ respectively.

Rachael Blackmore UK data

Earlier I mentioned some of Rachael's successes in the biggest UK races so let us look at her overall record in this country:

 

 

These are very solid figures considering 45% of her UK rides have come at the Cheltenham Festival. Her Festival record is similar to her overall UK record with a 16.1% SR% and positive returns of almost 15p for every £1 staked. However, it should be noted that a Festival winner in 2019 was priced at 50/1 and this skews the overall figures somewhat.

When Blackmore has been on a favourite in the UK her record reads an impressive 11 wins from 25 (SR 44%) for a profit to SP of £10.88 (ROI +43.5%). Indeed, when riding second favourites her record has also been positive – 10 wins from 32 runners (SR 31.3%) for a profit of £8.33 (ROI +26%). At the Cheltenham Festival she is 12 from 26 (SR 46.2%) when combining her rides on horses first or second in the betting for an SP profit of £15.16 (ROI +58.3%).

20 of her 30 winners have come for de Bromhead, while her rare trips to Huntingdon have seen three winners and a second from four rides. Finally, her record in Grade 1 events has been excellent, hitting 20% success rate thanks to 14 winners from 70.

Main Takeaways

Paul Townend (Irish racing)

  1. He has an excellent 34% strike rate for Willie Mullins.
  2. Horses priced 13/8 or shorter have provided the best value.
  3. Townend has a strong record when riding a favourite in a chase.
  4. He has a good record at Tramore but has struggled a little at Galway.
  5. Townend has an exceptional 44%-win rate on front runners.

Paul Townend (UK racing)

  1. Runners outside the top two in the betting have provided by far the best value.
  2. He is a rare visitor to Perth, but he has a good record from his handful of rides.

Jack Kennedy (Irish racing)

  1. Horses priced 4/1 or shorter have provided the best value, especially those priced Evens or shorter.
  2. Kennedy has a good record in non handicap hurdle races. Conversely his record poor in handicap hurdle contests.
  3. Kennedy has a good record at Down Royal on all price bands. This includes favs where his record is very strong.
  4. As with Townend he has very strong record when riding front runners.
  5. His record on favourites that are held up early in a race is poor.

Rachael Blackmore (Irish racing)

  1. Horses priced Evens or shorter has edged into profit. Horses priced 9/2 or bigger have proved to be relatively poor value.
  2. Blackmore has a very good record at Naas, especially when the horse comes from top two of the betting. Also, when riding for De Bromhead her record at Naas has been excellent.
  3. She has done extremely well at Tipperary when riding the favourite.
  4. She is a solid record on front runners both when favourite and when not favourite.
  5. Favourites that race mid division or further back early in the race have a very poor record (when comparing them to all favs).

Rachael Blackmore (UK racing)

  1. Has an excellent record on favourites.
  2. At the Cheltenham festival she has an outstanding record on either favs or second favs.
  3. She has a strike rate of 20% in Grade 1 events which is roughly double the average figure for all jockeys.

-------------

So, there you go! Our trip over the Irish sea is completed. Next time, it’s back to the UK.

- DR



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Blackmore pleased to be part of Betfair charity initiative

Betfair have launched a charity fund which will see them donate £5,000 for every winner Rachael Blackmore rides between Betfair Chase day and the Randox Grand National.

The bookmaker has initiated the launch of the ‘Rachael Blackmore’s Serial Winners Fund’ by donating £100,000, and it is estimated that around £250,000 will be raised for the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Irish Injured Jockeys.

Blackmore, a Grand National and Gold Cup-winning jockey, has averaged around 30 winners in the period between the Betfair Chase meeting at Haydock and the Grand National, which this year takes place on April 13.

Blackmore, a Betfair ambassador, said: “This is a very generous initiative from Betfair and one that I am excited to be a part of over the coming season.

“The work of IIJ and IJF is vital in providing support services for jockeys past and present. It’s great to have Betfair supporting not only me, but two organisations that are so important to us as jockeys.”

Lisa Hancock, CEO of the Injured Jockeys Fund, said: “We are very grateful to Betfair who have been great supporters of the Injured Jockeys Fund for many years. Rachael of course is an inspiration to all aspiring jockeys, and we will be hoping she kicks home plenty of winners over the coming months.”

Michael Higgins of the Irish Injured Jockeys said: “We are very grateful to Betfair for this generous initiative and are delighted to be joint beneficiaries with our friends in the IJF.

“Rachael is a committed supporter of IIJ and a fantastic role model for our sport and hope her current run of success continues. We have major plans in 2024 and a project which will involve significant investment on our part which will transform facilities and services available to our riders. This, along with our existing support programs, will benefit hugely from the fund.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Graded double for De Bromhead and Blackmore at Navan

Bob Olinger and Captain Guinness returned to winning ways to provide Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore with a Graded race double at Navan.

Lismullen Hurdle winner Bob Olinger was victorious for the first time since the Cheltenham Festival of March 2022, when the beneficiary of the late fall of Galopin Des Champs, and had struggled to hit the heights that once looked likely as a novice hurdler.

Having travelled supremely well for Blackmore when still hard on the bridle on the run to the last between Home By The Lee and Zanahiyr, it briefly looked like he would flatter to deceive once again.

When Blackmore initially asked him to quicken, the response was not immediate and Zanahiyr went on, but eventually Bob Olinger (15-8) did begin to find for pressure and ultimately was a good winner.

He went on to win by a length from the 5-4 favourite, with Home By The Lee, giving 9lb to all, a creditable third in trying to replicate last year’s win.

“I’m delighted. You know where we hold him, he’s one of the best horses I’ve ever trained,” said De Bromhead.

“Last year was tough but it’s lovely to see him back. He was brilliant and Rachael was super on him, she gave him a brilliant ride.

“There are a lot of people to thank but I have to mention Robert Power and Brian (Acheson).

“We stopped with him last January and Robbie has done a lot of work with him during the summer and into this season.

“He came down to us looking amazing. There are a lot of people to thank, the team at home, but Robbie stands out for all the work he’s done with him.

Rachael Blackmore was delighted with Bob Olinger
Rachael Blackmore was delighted with Bob Olinger (Damien Eagers/PA)

“We better ask him what he was doing and start doing it with all of them!

“He stayed at it really well. The way he burst through and then I thought ‘oh no, it’s the same as last year’ when Zanahiyr came back at him.

“I thought we were in trouble there, obviously Zanahiyr picked up and we were a bit slow at the last.

“It was lovely to see, he’s a real good horse and it’s nice to see him hopefully starting to come back.

“It was a tough race, his first run since January.”

When asked about plans, he added: “I don’t know, we’ll enjoy today. We’ve no plans and I wouldn’t like to say anything yet. Today was the day, we needed to see him back first.

“If you saw him at home, I don’t think any trip is a problem when he’s right, he has so much pace. At least we can think about the next step now.

“Nothing is set in stone (regarding hurdling or chasing). I don’t really want to say anything until we’ve all debriefed. A lot of work went into today and it’s just lovely to see him back.”

Captain Guinness repeated his victory in the Bar One Fortria Chase, again beating last year’s runner-up Riviere D’etel, this time by seven lengths.

Dysart Dynamo was the 4-5 favourite but he found disappointingly little for Paul Townend in the straight and Blackmore always looked to have him covered.

Betfair cut the winner to 6-1 from 8s for the Tingle Creek next month.

Captain Guinness clears the last with aplomb
Captain Guinness clears the last with aplomb (Damien Eagers/PA)

“I’m delighted with that, he jumped brilliant,” said de Bromhead.

“Rachael was brilliant on him again. I thought that was one of his best performances that I’ve seen for a while. I loved the way he picked up to the line, he was brilliant.

“At every fence, he went in four behind and landed two behind, he was so good. There was one halfway down the back that he winged and I don’t think that Rachael even expected it.

“I entered him in the Tingle Creek and I’ll speak to Declan (Landy, owner) and see. It’s three weeks so potentially he could go there. We’ll definitely consider it or otherwise it’s Leopardstown at Christmas.

“I always thought he was better on better ground but he loved that there. In the Champion Chase, I said to Declan that we’d run him but he probably wouldn’t like the ground, but he loved it.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

De Bromhead celebrates birthday in style with Cheltenham double

Henry de Bromhead enjoyed a birthday double at Cheltenham when Dancing On My Own and Whacker Clan powered up the famous hill in front

De Bromhead, who was celebrating his 51st birthday, got the day off to the best possible start with the Rachael Blackmore-ridden Dancing On My Own in the Epic Value At William Hill Handicap Chase.

The race was still in the balance on the approach to the last as Gary Moore’s Haddex Des Obeaux, who had made every yard of the running, was still holding a slender lead when coming down at the final fence.

Having set a searching gallop, Haddex Des Obeaux had seen them all off bar the eventual winner and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Guy, who were the only three in contention for the final half mile.

As Guy began to weaken up the hill and Haddex Des Obeaux came down, Dancing On My Own (14-1), the winner of Aintree’s Red Rum Chase in April, was left to come home alone. He had two lengths to spare over Triple Trade, with In Excelsis Deo and Notlongtillmay both making good progress for minor honours.

De Bromhead said: “Rachael gave him a super ride, she was brilliant on him.

“I was worried about his big weight and he was up 7lb for Aintree but I’m delighted with him, he jumped super.

“He’s funny, he just loves to go a good decent gallop the whole way, so the other horse going on suited him, and Rachael knows him better than anyone.

“Let’s see what the handicapper thinks, but he could come back for the Schloer maybe, we might need to look at conditions chases as he’s boxing up there.

“We haven’t managed to win the two-mile division (Queen Mother) but even with Energumene out, there are plenty of good horses in it.”

Whacker Clan jumped brilliantly all the way
Whacker Clan jumped brilliantly all the way (PA)

De Bromhead ran two in the Epic Jumps Season At William Hill Handicap Chase, with Blackmore on Amirite but it was the Darragh O’Keeffe-ridden Whacker Clan (12-1) who jumped his rivals into submission from the front.

He looked a sitting duck as Twig challenged over the last but pulled out more to win by three lengths.

“He’s a hardy fella and has just been progressing. A lot of plans were hatched for him in the Strand hotel at Dunmore East. It’s one of those pubs, and the syndicate members are very enthusiastic,” said De Bromhead.

“He might be a horse that could get into the Kim Muir but we need to back off him.”

Louise Foyle, one of the winning owners, said: “Henry’s our local trainer and we have three in syndicates with him. The Strand is our family business and we love a party. We’ve been coming for years, and it’s amazing to see our own horse win.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Dancing On My Own delights birthday boy De Bromhead

Henry de Bromhead enjoyed a birthday winner at Cheltenham when Dancing On My Own was driven home by Rachael Blackmore in the Epic Value At William Hill Handicap Chase.

De Bromhead was celebrating his 51st birthday but the race was still in the balance on the approach to the last as Gary Moore’s Haddex Des Obeaux, who had made every yard of the running, was still holding a slender lead when coming down at the final fence.

Having set a searching gallop, Haddex Des Obeaux had seen them all off bar the eventual winner and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Guy, who were the only three in contention for the final half mile.

As Guy began to weaken up the hill and Haddex Des Obeaux came down, Dancing On My Own (14-1), the winner of Aintree’s Red Rum Chase in April, was left to come home alone. He had two lengths to spare over Triple Trade, with In Excelsis Deo and Notlongtillmay both making good progress for minor honours.

De Bromhead said: “Rachael gave him a super ride, she was brilliant on him.

“I was worried about his big weight and he was up 7lb for Aintree but I’m delighted with him, he jumped super.

“He’s funny, he just loves to go a good decent gallop the whole way, so the other horse going on suited him, and Rachael knows him better than anyone.

“Let’s see what the handicapper thinks, but he could come back for the Schloer maybe, we might need to look at conditions chases as he’s boxing up there.

“We haven’t managed to win the two-mile division (Queen Mother) but even with Energumene out, there are plenty of good horses in it.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Minella Indo impresses on Punchestown return

Minella Indo proved he is no back number as he produced a superb front-running performance in the Irish Daily Star – Best For Racing Coverage Chase at Punchestown.

Winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2021 and runner-up to stablemate A Plus Tard 12 months later, Henry de Bromhead’s charge was pulled up on his most recent appearance in the blue riband back in March.

But despite the doubts, the 10-year-old was a well supported 15-8 favourite for his seasonal reappearance and the money proved right as he dominated from the front under Rachael Blackmore.

Minella Indo was soon bossing the proceedings, with last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup third Conflated and his five-time Grade One-winning stablemate Delta Work his nearest pursuers for much of the way.

Blackmore steadily upped the ante and on several occasions outjumped the chasing pair before pulling clear before the home turn.

In the end it was left to Gordon Elliott’s apparent third string Hurricane Georgie to chase down the leader, but while she got within a length and three-quarters, Minella Indo was well on top at the line.

Betfair make the winner a 50-1 shot to regain his Gold Cup crown at Prestbury Park in March.

Henry de Bromhead with Minella Indo at Cheltenham
Henry de Bromhead with Minella Indo at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)

De Bromhead said: “He’s given us so many great days and I’m delighted to see him start his season like that. His work was really good, but it was also good before the Gold Cup and it just didn’t happen for him there. It was a messy start and it just didn’t happen for him.

“He jumped from fence to fence today, his ears were pricked and Rachael said he really enjoyed it. I’m also delighted that Barry (Maloney, owner) is here as well.

“We entered him in the north (Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal) but that’s only a couple of weeks away, so we’ll see. We can enjoy today and decide in the next couple of weeks what we want to do.

“The Grand National is something we can discuss. Coming here after the Gold Cup, we couldn’t make any big plans but we’re really encouraged now for the rest of the season.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Blackmore: Honorary MBE really is a privilege to receive

Rachael Blackmore has spoken of her pride at being made an honorary MBE for her services to sport.

Blackmore has become a household name in recent years after turning professional relatively late in jockey terms.

From Tipperary, Blackmore had her first winner in 2011, winning the conditional riders’ title as recently as 2017, becoming the first woman to do so.

Since then it has been one success story after another for the 33-year-old, with a first Cheltenham Festival victory coming on A Plus Tard in in 2019.

Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle proved a match made in heaven
Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle proved a match made in heaven (David Davies/PA)

It was in 2021 that her achievements reached the front pages, though, winning the first of two Champion Hurdles on Honeysuckle and being crowned leading rider at Cheltenham with six winners.

A month later her fame reached new heights when she won the Grand National on Minella Times, then in 2022 she added the Gold Cup on A Plus Tard.

Honorary MBEs are awarded to those who are from outside of the UK but who excel in their field in Britain.

“It’s an honour to see my racing achievements being recognised in this way,” said Betfair ambassador Blackmore.

“I have had some of the best days of my career racing in England. Cheltenham and Aintree have provided me with incredibly special days that I will never forget.

“I feel so lucky to get to ride the horses that I do, this award really is a privilege to receive.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Rachael Blackmore recognised with honorary MBE

Rachael Blackmore has been made an honorary MBE for services to sport.

The 33-year-old won the 2021 Grand National on Minella Times and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2022 on A Plus Tard, becoming the first female rider to win the two biggest prizes in National Hunt racing.

She was crowned leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival in 2021 and in the same year won the BBC Sports Personality’s World Sport Star of the Year award.

Rachael Blackmore celebrates with Minella Times
Rachael Blackmore celebrates with Minella Times (David Davies/Jockey Club)

Blackmore is perhaps best known for her association with the Henry de Bromhead-trained mare Honeysuckle, who won 17 of her 19 races including two Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham.

Honorary MBEs recognise those from overseas who excel in their field in Britain.

Frankie Dettori was made an honorary MBE in 2001 for his services to racing.



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Hewick returns to Sandown to plunder Oaksey Chase

Hewick justified Shark Hanlon’s decision to bypass the Punchestown Gold Cup and also not defend his bet365 Gold Cup crown, as he took the Grade Two Oaksey Chase at Sandown under Rachael Blackmore.

The eight-year-old, who won the American Grand National Hurdle at Far Hills in October, was going well in front in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when he suffered a heavy fall when last seen.

Hanlon decided to swerve Punchestown as a result and his astute placement paid dividends – not that it was as easy the 6-5 favourite’s odds would suggest.

Hewick was bowling along in front, pestered by First Flow, when he made a mistake early on the final circuit in the extended two-and-three-quarter-mile affair.

Blackmore had to be patient thereafter and it was not until three out that he got back on terms.

The 11-year-old First Flow still had an advantage in front under David Bass, yet Blackmore persisted and a scintillating jump at the last, where the pair came close together, saw the pair take over and Hewick’s stamina kicked in. He ground out the victory margin to four lengths at the line.

Hanlon said: “I’m thinking the whole time should have I gone for the be365 Gold Cup, but just with the fall he got at Cheltenham I thought this was the right thing to do for the horse to give him a confidence boost. His season is only starting because he is a summer horse.

“Rachael was absolutely brilliant as she always is. I’m very sorry for Jordan (Gainford) that he is not here as he has made the horse for us. He will be back, and Rachael knows he will be back but until he does come back we have a great sub.

“He always comes off the bridle. There is no race he has ever run in that he didn’t come off the bridle. He came off the bridle at Cheltenham, but Jordan said three strides before the fence he was coming back on the bridle again. There is one thing we know about him is that he would have come up the hill.

“I don’t know if we were good enough to beat Willie’s (Mullins horse, Galopin Des Champs), but we would have been knocking on the door for second or third.

“He is back here today in front of a great crowd and on a lovely track. The ground was a little bit soft for him, but there is nothing that can be done about that. This morning I came across on the flight and I said that I was glad I had him in this race not the bet365 Gold Cup because of the ground being that little bit softer.

“He got home a little bit quicker than I got off our Aer Lingus flight today as we were delayed by four hours from Dublin and I thought we would never get here. We are here, but it may take us four hours to get home now.

“He stays and stays and Rachael is so good at thinking. When he made his mistake she took him back and filled himself up and the next thing he came back on the bridle again. That is what is he does. He is a miracle horse. He has been some horse for me.”

Of the next adventure for horse and trainer, Hanlon added: “I’ve something planned, but I’m not going to say it yet. You will see it in time. I’ve a plan going out for him in six weeks’ time. It won’t be in England or Ireland. He will have to go back to America but we might go somewhere else with him.

“Have horse, will travel.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Inthepocket collects Top Novices’ prize for De Bromhead and Blackmore

Rachael Blackmore steered Inthepocket to a first Grade One success in the Poundland Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

A Grade Two winner at Navan earlier in the season for Henry de Bromhead, the JP McManus-owned six-year-old went on to fill the runner-up at the highest level at the Dublin Racing Festival before finishing a creditable fourth to Marine Nationale in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

On the strength of that form Inthepocket was the 3-1 favourite for his third top-level assignment and after racing close to the pace throughout, he moved smoothly to the lead halfway up the straight and found plenty for pressure on the run-in to secure the honours by length and three-quarters.

Strong Leader came from a mile back to fill the runner-up spot, charging home to beat Luccia to the silver medal, with Hansard not far behind that pair in fourth.

De Bromhead said: “The Supreme form looks very good, I’m delighted with that and I think that is our first Grade One winner for the McManus family so really happy with that.

“He warmed into it, he was a little bit slow over the first couple but he’s a horse we’ve always thought a lot of and it’s nice to see him go and prove it.

“I was a bit worried about coming back after Cheltenham, but it didn’t make a difference. He was really good.

“I imagine he’ll be going in a field now and then we’ll see. He’s obviously got good size and scope so we’ll see, there are no plans at the moment.”

Rachael Blackmore all smiles in victory
Rachael Blackmore all smiles in victory (PA)

He added: “I’m open minded about next year. There’s been some good novices this season. He won a nice race at Naas then it was a bit of a funny race at the Dublin Racing Festival before he ran a nice race at Cheltenham in the Supreme.

“But he’s growing up with every run. He’s got pace and he says, he’s a really exciting horse.”

Blackmore said:” I was always happy and if anything I got carried into it a bit too soon because it is a long way to the line from the back of the last. Dropping my stick didn’t help either, but we got away with it.”

Luccia could next be seen on the Flat
Luccia could next be seen on the Flat (Mike Egerton/PA)

Nicky Henderson will target the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham with Luccia next term, but her immediate aim could be on the level.

He said: “She’s been to both dances (Cheltenham and Aintree) and run two good races in Grade Ones.

“My target with her is to visit the starting stalls as the plan is to give her a spin on the Flat in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot on May 3.

“I’m not afraid to go up to two and a half miles and next season her campaign will be based around the mares’ race.”



Try Tix for Better Tote Returns