Racing Post logo
Search icon
Menu icon
Menu icon
  • MoreChevron down

Rachael Blackmore named BBC World Sport Star at SPOTY awards

Rachael Blackmore: crowned 2021 BBC World Sport Star
Rachael Blackmore: crowned 2021 BBC World Sport StarCredit: Naoise Culhane

Rachael Blackmore’s astonishing year has been capped by success in the World Sport Star category at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, her fourth accolade in as many days.

The record-breaking jockey beat five rivals to the award including Formula One world champion Max Verstappen, tennis star Novak Djokovic and American football legend Tom Brady.

Blackmore, who was speaking to the BBC via video link from Manchester Airport, said: “It was just an incredible year and far surpassed anything I could have ever imagined.

“The reaction has been brilliant, for me personally they are such massive things to achieve, but when you can bring a bit of joy to other people it makes them even more special."

She added: “To be honest, I got such a kick out of being on that list of nominees.”

Her latest triumph came less than 24 hours after winning the 2021 RTE Sport Sportsperson of the Year award at a ceremony on Saturday evening, an achievement she described as “phenomenal”.

Blackmore made history last season by becoming the first female jockey to win the leading rider award at the Cheltenham Festival, in a week when Honeysuckle played a starring role in the Champion Hurdle.

A great season became a magical one when Blackmore smashed another record, this time becoming the first female to win the Grand National at Aintree on another Henry de Bromhead-trained horse, Minella Times.

Blackmore fought off competition from boxers Kellie Harrington and Katie Taylor, golfer Leona Maguire, paralympians Ellen Keane and Jason Smyth, Limerick hurling star Cian Lynch and Meath footballer Vikki Wall.

The 32-year-old jockey joined Barry Geraghty (2003) and AP McCoy (2013) as racing's only winners of the national accolade since its inception since 1985.

Saturday's award sugar-coated an amazing week for Blackmore, who was also crowned HRI Irish Racing Hero and the Irish Times Sportswoman of the Year.

Speaking after collecting the prestigious honour at an RTE ceremony on Saturday night, Blackmore said: "It's incredible. When you see the list of names who have won this award, to be even nominated is fantastic.

"You'd be blown away by the year of sport that was and to be recognised like this is phenomenal. It's been an incredible year for women in sport. I'm just a bit overwhelmed."

Asked to pinpoint a highlight from 2021, Blackmore said: "It's hard to believe that it all happened this year. The Grand National is such a special race, it's what I thought of as a kid on my pony, my first interest in racing. To participate in that race is such a big deal and then to win it is something you can't even dream about.

Rachael Blackmore: 'It's been an incredible year for women in sport'
Rachael Blackmore: 'It's been an incredible year for women in sport'Credit: Naoise Culhane

She added: "I have snippets of the race that I remember; after it is definitely a bit blurry. I rode in a race afterwards and I can't tell you anything about it. It was an incredible moment. The elation when you cross the line is hard to explain."

Blackmore paid tribute to Henry de Bromhead's exploits during a remarkable 2021, having teamed up for unprecedented success in some at some of the sport's biggest meetings.

"Being associated with Henry de Bromhead's stable has taken my career to a whole new level," said Blackmore.

"Like any relationship, it has its ups and downs but he's a fantastic man to work for. He's extremely good at his job, as his results show.

"He had an incredible Cheltenham, winning three championship races, saddling the one-two in the Gold Cup and the one-two in the Grand National. I think that gets a little bit forgotten sometimes. It's just an incredible feat for a trainer. I'm very lucky to riding on his team of jockeys."

Joanne Cantwell and Darragh Maloney presented the awards on RTE One, where the Republic of Ireland’s first-choice goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu was named Young Sportsperson of the Year.

Ireland’s lightweight rowing head coach Dominic Casey won Manager of the Year, while Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal were named as the Sport Team of the Year.

Double world cross country champion, Olympic silver medallist and soon-to-be-retiring chief executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, was also inducted into the RTE Sport Hall of Fame.

A documentary recapping Blackmore's sensational 2021, titled A Grand Year, will be shown on December 29 on RTE.

Read more:

Blackmore, De Bromhead and Honeysuckle sweep the boards at HRI awards

Wonder women! Rachael Blackmore makes history with stunning win on Honeysuckle

FESTIVE OFFER: Racing Post Members' Club 50% off for three months!

'Tis the season to be jolly, and the perfect time to celebrate with a subscription to Racing Post Members' Club!

Featuring award-winning journalism, expert tips and renowned form study tools, this is the only racing subscription you need to stay ahead of the field.

Throughout the festive season you can get 50% off your first THREE months of Members' Club Ultimate. That's just £17.48 per month* to unlock all premium features.

Head to the offer page here to find out more!

*T&Cs apply

Mark BoylanReporter

Published on 19 December 2021inNews

Last updated 21:33, 19 December 2021