After her exploits at the Cheltenham Festival, where she partnered Honeysuckle to victory in the Champion Hurdle and had six wins in total, Rachael Blackmore has certainly enhanced her position as one of the best jockeys around.

Her name now transcends her chosen sport. More Grade 1s will definitely follow and you'll get short odds that a champion jockey title will come her way, sooner rather than later.

The Tipperary jockey turned professional in 2015 but it's only in the last two years that her talent has really shone, with the aforementioned Honeysuckle giving her a first Grade 1 success at Punchestown.

That combination have remained unbeaten over six more runs at the top level, topped off with that victory in the hurdling blue riband last month.

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Blackmore is a somewhat reluctant interviewee. There have been countless requests from various media outlets since her heroics at Prestbury Park. Many questions have focused on her being a female jockey. She places little emphasis on gender, and recently told RTÉ's Morning Ireland: "I feel inside of racing it's not a big deal. We're lucky to be involved in a sport where gender isn't an issue and I'm very grateful for racing in that sense," she added.

Blackmore, however, is more keen to stress the "hard work" that is required to make it to the top.

Speaking to Ruby Walsh, as part of RTÉ's coverage of the Boylesports Irish Grand National, the 31-year-old said: "Regardless of your gender, you do have to work fairly hard. It comes easier to some riders, to others it doesn't. It was never a big effort to get up in the morning and go and put in the work. You are just happy to do it, whether it's riding out in the morning, you are happy to do it. 

They say in life that practice makes perfect, and for Blackmore it was simply a case of getting out on the track and race-riding - all part of the learning curve.

"People talk about trying to get better and improve, but I spent a whole summer without riding a winner as a conditional rider. I had one or two rides every day and I was in races with other people like you and Davy Russell.

"You were race-riding, practice is the only thing that's going to improve you as a jockey. It's what you need to to get better, you need to get more finishes. The more finishes I rode the better I seemed to be at keeping a horse in balance. 

"There was never a moment I felt that this was the wrong thing to do. I know from my five years previous as an amateur that winners are so hard to come by, but at least I was riding more. There was a HRI account and there was money in that. You are holding on to the hope that the winner will come, you can't panic in racing about things not happening quick enough."

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