Rachael Blackmore made history with victory in the Unibet Champion Hurdle aboard Honeysuckle at Cheltenham – becoming the first female jockey to win the great Grade One race.

The Tipperary woman kept the 11-10 favourite in behind the pace set by a trio of frontrunners, but then swept past after the second-last to win by six and a half lengths.

"Absolutely incredible – I'm speechless to be honest," she told ITV Racing. "I really am. I can't believe we just won a Champion Hurdle – it’s incredible."

Henry de Bromhead's brilliant mare, remaining unbeaten on her 11th career start under rules, was chased home by Sharjah – second in the race for the second time in succession – and last year’s winner Epatante, who stayed on late to take third.

Silver Streak, Not So Sleepy and Goshen were the expected pacesetters early on, with Abacadabras falling at the third flight.


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As the field went out into the country, it soon became apparent Jamie Moore was having steering problems on Goshen, whose chance soon went as a result.

Honeysuckle moved forward with ease, leaving the opposition in her wake as the Henry de Bromhead-trained mare powered away to take her 100% record over hurdles to 11.

The pair crossed the line six and a half lengths clear of 2020 runner-up Sharjah, with last year's winner Epatante another three lengths away in third place.

Blackmore was full of praise for Honeysuckle and her connections, as she struggled to come to terms with her own achievement.

"I hope (owner) Kenny Alexander is getting a kick out of this at home – I’m sure he is, and (racing manager) Peter Molony.

"It’s unbelievable for everyone at the yard – they all work so hard. Henry just produces her every day in that form – and I get to steer her round.

"She’s so straightforward to ride. When you know you’ve an engine under you it’s very easy to do things in a race."

De Bromhead was also winning the race for the first time.

He said: "It sounds amazing – it’s the stuff you dream of. I never thought that would happen – it’s amazing.

"She’s an amazing mare. We’ve said it all – she’s just incredible.

"What a partnership she and Rachael have. Rachael was amazing – I thought she was so cool throughout the race."