Champion Hurdle heroine Blackmore joins racing’s female pathfinders
Rachael Blackmore laid down another new marker for women in racing with victory aboard Honeysuckle in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The first female jockey to ride the winner of one of National Hunt’s crown jewels, Blackmore’s place in the history books is assured.
We look back on the women who have set the pace before – and continue to do so – in the racing world.
Now a successful trainer, Kelleway broke new ground when becoming the first female rider to win a race at Royal Ascot, courtesy of Sprowston Boy in 1987. Making that victory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes all the more special was the fact the horse was trained by her father, Paul.
A pulsating finish to the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in 1997 went down in the record books, with Greaves the first woman to partner a Group One winner on the Flat in Britain. It was an epic, too, as Ya Malak dead-heated with the Kevin Darley-ridden Coastal Bluff.
Turner has been a trailblazer throughout her career, never more so than in 2011 when Dream Ahead won the July Cup at Newmarket, making her the first woman to win a Group One outright.
Walsh was the first woman to finish in the top three in the Grand National when third on Seabass in 2012. She was also the first female to ride a Grade One winner at Cheltenham when landing the Champion Bumper on Relegate in 2018.
Tea For Two was a particular favourite of Kelly’s, winning two Grade Ones – the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton in 2015 and the Betway Bowl at Aintree in 2017. The former meant she became the first woman to ride a Grade One winner in Britain.
Frost broke new ground when landing a hugely-popular success on Frodon in the Ryanair Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival – making her the first woman to ride a Grade One winner over jumps at the showpiece meeting.
The record-breaking Flat jockey was the first woman to ride five winners at a single meeting at Windsor in August 2020. Remarkably, she repeated that amazing feat at Kempton this month. Doyle is also the first woman to ride a winner at Ascot on Champions Day, and finished third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.