Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

Rachael Blackmore's early days with 'Shark' Hanlon

John 'Shark' Hanlon joined Friday Night Racing on Off The Ball to discuss all things racing and ...

Rachael Blackmore's early days...

Rachael Blackmore's early days with 'Shark' Hanlon

John 'Shark' Hanlon joined Friday Night Racing on Off The Ball to discuss all things racing and he remembered the early days of Rachael Blackmore's riding career.

The Kilkenny-based trainer explained how Blackmore began her career out of his yard and he discussed some of the difficulties that she faced in the early days.

"Rachael started with us here really. She rode her first winner point-to-pointing for us and she was with us for many a year," Hanlon said. 

"In those point-to-points though, all the horses were carrying 12 stone so she had 2 stone of lead. If a horse made any kind of a mistake, she would be thrown over because of her light weight. I remember going point-to-pointing with her one day and she had a couple of bad falls.

"She was getting bad rides, she was getting the rides that no one wanted and Rachael was so gutsy and so good that she would take anything on."

It was after a number of these bad falls in point-to-points that Hanlon suggested to Blackmore that she should turn professional. Initially, she was reluctant but Hanlon eventually persuaded her.

"I told her that she could go back point-to-pointing after six months but I wanted to see her do it and I promised that I'd support her all the way," Hanlon explained.

"I was lucky enough that I had owners here at the time and they all supported her. Everyone of them, they didn’t mind at all, they knew she was a good rider. 

"After a couple of months she rode her first winner for me and never looked back. She’s like part of the family here."


Hanlon stressed that everything that Blackmore has achieved, she has achieved herself through her hard work.

"She was the best worker that I’ve ever had in my yard," he said. 

"Anything that Rachael got, she made it herself. Her parents weren’t really into horses that much, they definitely weren’t interested in race horses so she he had to do everything herself.

"She was a big help to me in her time here and she was a big factor in the yard."

Hanlon pointed to two other areas where he feels that Blackmore excels.

"She reads a race very well," he explained.

"Also, there’s no jockey in Ireland that gets a horse to jump like she does.

"She reminds me of Paul Carberry, he was just brilliant to get a horse to jump as well. All horses relaxed for Paul and they do the very same for Rachael."

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Blackmore Friday Night Racing Horse Racing Rachael Blackmore Racing Shark Hanlon Skyace