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Article 18th March 2022 Cheltenham

There’s no day like Boodles Gold Cup day… And this year certainly didn’t disappoint. We had it all. Record breakers, world-class racing and history makers. All topped off with a glorious sun-soaked day in the Cheltenham hills to bring the 2022 Festival to a close. Here’s what we learned on day four…

Rachael Blackmore made history once again by becoming the first female jockey to win the Boodles Gold Cup.

Just some of Blackmore’s achievements in her career so far include; the Randox Grand National 2021, Unibet Champion Hurdle 2021 & 2022, BBC World Sports Star 2021 and RTE Sportsperson Of The Year 2022 - but now she can add the pinnacle of Jump racing after leading A Plus Tard to victory.

Reflecting on her iconic win, Blackmore said: “You can never dream a dream too big because look what happened to me."
“I can’t believe [winning the Grand National] is not even 12 months ago. I don’t know how I’m this lucky! It’s phenomenal.
“When I took out my licence, I didn’t think I would be riding at Cheltenham, let alone a favourite in the Gold Cup. I’m so lucky to be getting the chance to ride horses in these kinds of races. This is the Gold Cup, you know what I mean?
“To have that roar back and to get to walk back in when you can’t see space and you can just see bodies is just incredible. It is the closest thing to feeling like a rockstar you will ever feel without being able to sing. It is just incredible to have people back and I feel very, very lucky.”

This year’s result is a reversal of the 2021 result. In 2021, Minella Indo defeated A Plus Tard by a length and a quarter. 2022 saw a closely contested race but in the end A Plus Tard got the better of Minella Indo by 15 lengths.

The win made it 12 Festival winners for Blackmore, while A Plus Tard is the 28th Gold Cup winner to be trained in Ireland.
Winning trainer Henry de Bromhead said: “Incredible. What a ballsy ride by Rachael - she was just unreal. She hunted away there; they went a good gallop and she was very brave, I thought, and brilliant.

“It definitely does [mean more this year than last] - it’s the crowds, just looking here at the stands. It’s just incredible and this is what it’s all about. It was amazing to win it last year, but it’s triple amazing this year.”

Asked how proud he is of his daughter, Charles Blackmore said: “It's fantastic. It's just fantastic. You couldn't make it up.
“It's probably a bit of a haze at the moment, but to see the reception that she got on Tuesday, and to do it again today, it's just mind boggling. Everything else pales, it's fantastic.
“Jonathan, her brother, Charlotte, her sister, are both here today, so to get us all here was brilliant. Her mum's at home holding the fort so she's jumping around the kitchen – she's over the moon and so happy that we're all here. Jonathan came from New York, so it's just per chance that he's here. A last minute decision and now he's here and it's brilliant.
“We missed being here last year. Eimir was here with me on Tuesday [this year], so we both experienced that and the roar she got. The support she's getting from both sides of the water is just incredible. People are so kind to her and it's a unique sport and there's so many strands that have to be pulled together to pull off something like this. Owners, trainers, jockeys, horses.

“I was being collected from the airport and the taxi man asked if I have an interest, and I said that I have a daughter riding. He said, 'Rachael?' It's just her first name is used, she's known all over now.”

Day four saw legendary trainer Mullins firmly cement his name in racing history books yet again. He had five winners on Boodles Gold Cup day. He’s trained 88 Festival winners overall. And 10 winners in a single festival makes Mr Mullins the most successful trainer of all-time at Cheltenham.
Speaking about his second win of the day, he said: “We are delighted - any day you have a winner at Cheltenham is great, and to have a double is just fantastic. Fingers crossed things stay right.” Little did he know, his day was about to get even better.

He also gave plaudits to the star of the show Rachael Blackmore saying: “It’s Rachael’s afternoon today, but we’re delighted too. We had a fair bit of luck there!"

Mullins 2022 winners included: Sir Gerhard, Stattler, Facile Vega, Energumene, Allaho, The Nice Guy, State Man, Vauban, Billaway and Elimay.

The Irish continued their dominance in the 2022 Prestbury Cup with an 18 - 10 victory over Great Britain. However while many predicted the result, not many were expecting it to be as close after three days.

With GB only trailing by one going into day four, there was some cause for hope, but a rout of all seven victories for Ireland saw them retain the trophy named after the nearest village to the racecourse.

Elsewhere, it was Willie Mullins who took home the Leading Trainer Award with a record 10 winners, while Paul Townend was crowned the Holland Cooper Leading Jockey with five victories.

The ROA Leading Owner Award went to Cheveley Park Stud with three wins.

Boodles Gold Cup day at Cheltenham - it’s iconic. It’s a day marked in calendars by horseracing fans all over the world. And one Festival fan who’s no stranger to ‘counting down’ the days to March, is Carol Vorderman.

"Cheltenham is stunning. It's very special, because I always think of it as very British and Irish, because it's hardier, normally the weather is hardy, you have to cope with four seasons in a day. I'm Welsh, so we're used to that. And people are here for a laugh, rather than to be flashy, and I suppose that's the person I am.”

Talking about her experiences of The Festival™, Vorderman said: "Me and Cheltenham go back to when Channel 4 Racing used to cover it, and Richard Whiteley and I used to come down, because we loved our horseracing. We had a horse together, a little mare, Mare Of Wetwang she was called and James Bethell used to train her.

"She wasn't Cheltenham standard, but we loved her anyway. We used to come down and it wasn't as big now, the Princess Royal Stand wasn't there. Countdown was on and it used to have about five million viewers a day and people who watched it were addicted to it, and it was a very special part of their lives and we were very lucky that that was the case.

Asked if she's still holding out hope for a Cheltenham winner one day, Carol said: "I would love that. Jonjo O'Neill has said to go up to his stables and have a look at some [horses]. I will, but not this year. But can you imagine [having a Cheltenham winner]? I'm desperate."

The curtains may have closed on another Cheltenham Festival, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of the story next year.

See the record breakers and history makers for yourself by signing up to be the first to hear when tickets and hospitality go on sale for The Festival™ 2023.

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