Tipperary's Rachael will ride for Ireland in Jockeys Challenge in Australia.
Jockeys Rachael Blackmore from Tipperary and Donagh Meyler will fly out this Saturday to join Australian-based jockeys, Martin Kelly and Shane Jackson, who will make up the Irish team for the 2017 Australia v Ireland Jockey Challenge.
This is the 31st consecutive year that an Irish team has been invited to Australia to participate in the jockey challenge. There have already been 41 contests staged in the two countries, with Ireland taking the honours on 25 occasions, Australia winning 15 times and one draw.
Team Ireland won the Australia v Ireland Jockey Challenge last year and Irish Team Manager, Sean Lynch, is hoping for back-to-back wins: “We have a strong team heading over this year to join Martin and Shane in taking on the Australians and I’m very confident that we can win. It is a great experience for the jockeys who travel over and we receive the very best of Australian hospitality every year.”
This year’s competition kicks off at Murray Bridge on Wednesday August 30. The team will then travel to Morphettville Racecourse for Irish Day on Saturday September 2 to complete the challenge.
From Killenaule, Rachael Blackmore rode 11 point-to-point winners and seven winners as an amateur rider before turning professional in March, 2015. One of only four female professional National Hunt jockeys in Ireland, Blackmore gained her first success in the paid ranks when Most Honourable, trained by ‘Shark’ Hanlon, was a winner at Clonmel on September 3rd of the same year.
Hanlon had also provided Blackmore with her initial success as an amateur rider when Stowaway Pearl won at Thurles on February 10th, 2011. Rachael enjoyed a notable success and her biggest winner to date when partnering the Ellmarie Holden-trained Abolitionist to land the €100,000 Download The Ladbrokes Exchange App Leinster National Handicap Chase at Naas on March 12th, 2017.
With 32 winners, Rachael became the first female jockey to win the Conditional Riders’ title in the 2016/2017 season. Rachael rode her first winner on the Flat when taking a conditions' race at Killarney on May 16th, 2017 on the Denise O'Shea-trained Supreme Vinnie.
She rode out her claim when winning the Oulart Maiden Hurdle on the Colin Bowe-trained Sweet Home Chicago at Wexford on June 21st, 2017. It was her 60th racecourse success. Rachael was the first female jockey to ride out her claim since leading amateur rider Katie Walsh achieved the same feat in May, 2008.