Blackmore in ‘good spirits’ after leg break

Last Updated 5 Jan 2022 | By Enda McElhinney | Commercial content | 18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply | Wagering

Grand National heroine Rachael Blackmore was said to be in ‘good spirits’ having undergone surgery on a fractured ankle sustained at Killarney on Friday.

Barely a week after her 32nd birthday, Blackmore suffered the biggest injury of her professional career following a nasty fall from 11-10 favourite Merry Poppins in the 2m4f handicap hurdle at the picturesque Co Kerry venue.

She had already partnered two winners on the card at Killarney when misfortune struck.

Momentum fractured for Blackmore

The talented Blackmore finds herself at the top of the jump jockeys’ championship in Ireland and moved on to 22 winners for the season with her double at Killarney.

She was taken to nearby Tralee Hospital on Friday evening last and surgery was undergone overnight.

“Rachael sustained a fractured ankle and hip injury following her fall on Friday evening. She has had surgery overnight and is in good spirits,” the IHRB’s senior medical officer, Dr Jennifer Pugh, confirmed on Saturday.

Blackmore’s early-season form was enough to pull her 15 clear of champion Paul Townend in the jockeys’ standings, but that momentum has now been checked. She now faces possibly missing more than two months of the season.

2021 a year to remember

Despite this setback, 2021 has been a year of stunning success for Blackmore as she cemented her position as the ‘Queen of racing’.

She was crowned leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival in March – the first female to attain that honour – with her Champion Hurdle victory on unbeaten mare Honeysuckle the standout moment.

She also finished second in the Gold Cup itself on A Plus Tard and, while the Blue Ribband eluded her as Minella Indo won for her boss Henry De Bromhead in the hands of Jack Kennedy, it wasn’t long before Blackmore was back on top of the world.

She steered De Bromhead’s Minella Times to victory in the Grand National at Aintree in April, breaking a glass ceiling for female riders by winning the world’s most iconic steeplechase.

Title joust with Townend

Blackmore enjoyed her best ever campaign last season when riding 92 winners but it was not enough to depose Paul Townend. Armed with the ammunition of champion trainer Willie Mullins, he would pull clear at the Punchestown Festival, the season-ending jamboree of the Irish jumps campaign.

Blackmore will now miss the week-long Galway summer festival which starts at the end of July in Ballybrit.

How much ground she concedes to Townend – as well as the likes of Danny Mullins – remains to be seen but her resolution in 2021 thus far almost certainly will have her legion of fans expectant that she can return to the saddle in the autumn and re-ignite her dream of becoming champion jumps jockey in Ireland.

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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