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From Heroine to Villain: Rachael Blackmore handed five-day punishment
The IRHB (Irish Horseracing Board) have decided to suspend Grand National-winning Jockey Rachael Blackmore for a total of five days on the back of an extremely controversial ride earlier this month.
Rachael Blackmore caused controversy and anger amongst horse racing fans when she rode Lady Rita for home with a circuit still to go at Kilbeggan on 12th May and ultimately finished in fourth position. Initially it seemed that the jockey would escape any form of punishment as stewards appeared to completely ignore the incident, however subsequent investigations have found that Blackmore was guilty of wrongdoing and that her claim of innocence couldn’t be believed.
The two-time Cheltenham Champion Hurdle and 2021 Grand National winner stormed into a healthy lead before easing significantly after going over the line for the penultimate time. The jockey maintained that this was a part of her tactics in order to open up an five-length lead for Lady Rita which had been backed from 25/1 to just 8/1 ahead of the contest.
She claimed that the horse became ‘lairy’ in the lead and she decided that the best approach would be to rein her in. This contravened IHRB rule 212A(iv) which states clearly: “Any rider who fails to obtain their best possible placing as a result of negligent misjudgement (including a misjudgement of the winning post or the number of circuits, easing their mount without good reason or stopping riding) shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-rule.”
Hard to believe
Blackmore has been one of National Hunt’s more consistent jockeys in recent seasons and this in itself makes her misjudgement and subsequent claims of innocence even harder to believe.