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18 Jan 2022

Tipperary jockey Rachael Blackmore creates even more history

RTÉ and BBC awards make it another memorable weekend for Killenaule woman

Rachael Blackmore

Rachael Blackmore won both the RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year and the BBC World Sport Star of the Year awards at the weekend

Even without donning her silks, putting on her jockey's helmet or mounting a horse, the Rachael Blackmore success story continued at the weekend when she won two major awards, the RTÉ Sportsperson the Year award on Saturday night, which was followed 24 hours later by the BBC's World Sport Star of the Year award.

She made history with the BBC award, becoming the first Irish person to win the award at Sunday night’s Sports Personality of the Year awards.

In doing so she fended off competition from some of the biggest names in world sport, including Formula One world title winner Max Verstappen, boxer Saul Canelo Alvarez, NFL quarterback Tom Brady, tennis star Novak Djokovic and sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah, who were all on the shortlist.

The 32-year-old Killenaule jockey became the first woman to be crowned leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival with six winners, which included the Champion Hurdle on Honeysuckle. Three weeks later she became the first woman to ride the winner of the Aintree Grand National aboard Minella Times.

She flew over from Ireland to attend the ceremony in person but was delayed at Manchester Airport and had to accept the award via a video link.

“The support has been incredible and I got such a kick out of being on that list of nominees. It’s kind of overwhelming. It’s unbelievable,” she told BBC presenter Gabby Logan.

Of her achievements in the saddle, Blackmore added: “I never even dreamt they could happen, to be honest. It’s far surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. It’s just been an incredible year.

“The reaction has been brilliant, obviously for me personally they are such massive things to achieve but I think when you can bring a bit of joy to other people that makes it even more special.

“The reaction from everyone at home has been incredible and I feel very privileged to have had the year I’ve had.”

She became the first jockey to win the RTÉ award since Tony McCoy in 2013. She was presented with her award live on RTÉ One television, having been chosen ahead of Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington, Paralympic gold medallist Ellen Keane, Limerick hurler Cian Lynch, Solheim Cup hero Leona Maguire, Paralympic gold medallist Jason Smyth, unified world lightweight boxing champion and 2020 award winner Katie Taylor, and Meath star Vikki Wall.

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