Rachael Blackmore knows the ups and downs of the Cheltenham Festival ahead of day two

First, she was met with raucous support as Honeysuckle lived up to pre-favorite billing in the Champion Hurdle. Then, in the very next race, she was sent coasting by Telemesomethinggirl into a nasty fall in which both jockey and horse did well to emerge relatively unscathed.

As Blackmore, last year’s Festival champion jockey, she’s simply dusting herself off to prepare for the next challenge.

A winning start is the perfect springboard to defending that title – a year ago her six winners saw her dominate the event – and she admitted the vibe in the place was quite different with crowds allowed to return.

“It’s such a special place,” she said. “The reception we had all the way down the straight, you know we missed the crowd last year. To have them back, it’s just amazing.

“I wish I had the English vocabulary to explain what it feels like. You know last year was fantastic and we were delighted to be here. But Cheltenham is the people and they really haven’t let us down. to fall.

As the Irish contingent, in particular – although Blackmore transcends the Irish Sea in terms of support – howled and howled, Blackmore’s mother described him as the perfect antidote to the current ills of the world.

Eimir, a teacher who was among those watching from the stands, said: “I’m very proud that she gave people something to celebrate at a time when there is a lot of unhappiness in the world.”

Blackmore and trainer Henry of Bromhead meet again for four occasions at Cheltenham today, perhaps most notably with Envoy Allen among those trying to stop Shishkin in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

For his part, De Bromhead still relished the partnership between Blackmore and Honeysuckle, for whom it was a 15and victory in his career and a second in the Champion Hurdle.

He said: “Rachael had so many horses under her to go to the penultimate that she was going to be able to bring it back inside. It’s just a dream team. Yes, it’s the pressure, I put the pressure on myself but these are the races you want to participate in.

“There are different opinions, but you try to win Grand Ones. She deserves all the credit just for staying fit and healthy.

standard Sport

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