RACHAEL BLACKMORE, JOCKEY

Irish Independent - Weekend Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

With more than 20 wins at home so far this sea­son, Rachael Blackmore (27) from Kil­lenaule, in Co Tip­per­ary, is one of the hottest names of ei­ther gen­der in horse rac­ing right now. De­spite the painful in­juries and pun­ish­ing hours, the country’s only fe­male pro­fes­sional jumps jockey says there’s noth­ing she’d rather do. Things def­i­nitely started go­ing bet­ter for me since I turned pro­fes­sional two years ago. I’m rid­ing a lot more. It is ob­vi­ously a very full-on job. There are only about 10 days in the sum­mer with no rac­ing. In sum­mer, you could be up at seven, rid­ing out, and rac­ing in Ballinrobe that even­ing, and you mightn’t get home till mid­night. It doesn’t re­ally feel like a job, to be hon­est, be­cause it’s some­thing I love do­ing.

My big­gest win to date was on a horse called Abo­li­tion­ist for Ell­marie Holden at the Le­in­ster Na­tional last month. He’s hope­fully go­ing to run in the Ir­ish Na­tional so that would be very ex­cit­ing.

This sport is so psy­cho­log­i­cally chal­leng­ing. One minute, you can be af­ter rid­ing a win­ner; the next minute, you 15 April 2017 could go out and get a fall at the first, and be in the back of an am­bu­lance. When things are go­ing well, it’s great. If you’re not rid­ing winners, it’s dif­fer­ent.

To take your­self from one end of the spectrum to the other is a chal­leng­ing thing. A lot of the time when you win, if you’re on some­thing that is kind of meant to win, you’d just be re­lieved. Ob­vi­ously, if you’re rid­ing a horse who’s well fan­cied in a race, you might feel a bit more pres­sure, but you’d be try­ing not to let the pres­sure get to you. I think you can get too wound up in all that kind of stuff. Es­sen­tially, your job is to go out and to ride the horse. It’s a lot eas­ier once you get up in the pa­rade ring and head on out to do the job.

Get­ting in­jured is part and par­cel of it. I’ve bro­ken my col­lar­bone and both my wrists rid­ing. If you’re dwelling on it too much, you’re prob­a­bly in the wrong sport.

When I’m not work­ing, like ev­ery girl, I like to get dressed up and go places. Nor­mally, you’d just be in your rid­ing-out stuff.

My big­gest ad­vice for any young jock­eys out there is to sur­round your­self with the right peo­ple. Hav­ing a yard behind you to sup­port you is ex­tremely valu­able. To be hon­est, I don’t re­ally see any disad­van­tages in be­ing fe­male. I think Nina Car­berry and Katie Walsh have proven that. They’ve done it all. There’s no stigma there any­more. If any­thing, be­ing fe­male might help you stand out. IR­ISH IN­DE­PEN­DENT

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