Rachael Blackmore etched herself further into racing folklore as she added the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup to last year’s Grand National in guiding A Plus Tard to a runaway success in chasing’s blue riband.
Not everything had gone right for A Plus Tard in last year’s Gold Cup when finishing runner-up to Henry de Bromhead-trained stablemate Minella Indo and the queen of jump jockeys felt she had unfinished business, having picked the wrong horse.
So it proved, as the 3-1 favourite left last year’s winner in his wake following a ride timed to perfection.
Stuck behind a wall of horses turning in, Blackmore was patient and came between Protektorat and dual winner Al Boum Photo to hunt down defending champion Minella Indo, who had four lengths to spare jumping the penultimate fence.
Yet Blackmore, who became the first woman to ride a Gold Cup winner, adding to her two Champion Hurdles and the National, used A Plus Tard’s pace to perfection and she jumped to the front over the last and powered clear.
The easy early pace, set by Asterion Forlonge and Aye Right, certainly helped the eight-year-old, who was going clear at the finish, recording a 15-length success from Minella Indo, with the Dan Skelton-trained Protektorat nosing out Galvin for third, some two and a half lengths behind the runner-up.