Cheltenham Festival

Rachael Blackmore is brilliant even after the race as the De Bromheads salute young Jack

Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead receive the Ryanair Chase trophy
Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead receive the Ryanair Chase trophyCredit: John Grossick

Rachael Blackmore had just won another championship prize at the festival. Once again her performance had been flawless, but it was what she did after the race that mattered every bit as much.

The scene was mildly yet happily chaotic, as is so often the case when trophies are presented on the Cheltenham podium. Those connected to Envoi Allen were celebrating victory in the Ryanair Chase, while photographers crouched a few feet away shouted for their attention. Most of the noise was made by the commanding figure of Pat Healy but, much more quietly and with gentle persuasion, someone else, a young lady dressed in red and white, was getting involved.

This was a day of enormous significance for Henry de Bromhead and his family, not primarily because of the race they had won but instead one that had still to take place. Thanks to the generosity of Michael O'Leary, the card's sixth contest had been renamed the Jack de Bromhead Mares' Novices' Hurdle. It honoured Henry and Heather de Bromhead's 13-year-old son, killed in a freak incident at Glenbeigh horse and pony races in September. He would have loved what Envoi Allen did here.

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Lee MottersheadSenior writer
Published on 16 March 2023Last updated 19:54, 16 March 2023