Blackmore awarded honorary MBE for contribution to racing

Last Updated 19 Jul 2023 | By Enda McElhinney | Commercial content | 18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply | Wagering

Image via @bluebloodracing on Twitter

Aintree heroine Rachael Blackmore has been awarded an honorary MBE for her contribution to the sport of horse racing.

Blackmore famously became the first female to ride the winner of the Grand National when she was on board Minella Times in 2021.

The win sparked worldwide headlines and, following a stunning Cheltenham Festival the month before, was part of a career-changing spring campaign that helped propel the Irish rider to historic levels.

Racing’s very own Queen

Blackmore has broken barriers to become the most popular jockey in horse racing after a series of significant successes.

She had her first winner in 2011 before claiming the conditional riders’ title as recently as 2017, becoming the first woman to do so, but her rise to star status came after turning professional relatively late in jockey terms.

The Tipperary-born star, stable jockey for top Irish trainer Henry De Bromhead, was crowned leading rider at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival after amassing an incredible six wins at the four-day extravaganza in the Cotswolds.

She was second on A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup that year but would go one better in the Blue Riband in 2022, scoring a 15-length win and becoming the first female rider to win the two biggest prizes in National Hunt racing.

Perhaps the horse most associated with Blackmore’s career to date is Honeysuckle, the outstanding mare on which she won successive Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham in 2021 and 2022.

This year, the partnership enjoyed a fairytale ending as Honeysuckle won the Mares’ Hurdle on the final start of her career, ending her racing days with a perfect four-from-four record at the Cheltenham Festival.

MBE latest recognition for sporting superstar

At the end of that amazing 2021, Blackmore was given the honour of being named the BBC Sports Personality World Sport Star of the Year.

At home, she collected the RTE Sports Person of the Year that same December and was named The Irish Times’ Ireland Sportswoman of the Year 2021.

Honorary MBEs are given to those who are from outside of the UK but who excel in their field in Britain and Blackmore is in esteemed company, as Flat racing superstar Frankie Dettori was made an honorary MBE in 2001 for his services to their sport.

Receiving the honour from Buckingham Palace is not something that was lost on Blackmore, 33, and she recognises that a significant portion of her success has and will continue to be achieved in Britain.

“It’s an honour to see my racing achievements being recognized in this way,” said 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.”

Enda McElhinney

Enda McElhinney is a racing writer with a growing portfolio of work on both British and Irish racing, with a particular fondness for National Hunt racing. While he acknowledges there have been many great runners; there has only ever been one Denman.

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