Jump Girls shows female jockeys blazing an often perilous trail | Barry Glendenning

New documentary highlights women who have made their name in the often cut-throat, brutal and downright dangerous sport of horse racing

As Rachael Blackmore was led back to the Cheltenham Festival winner’s enclosure on board A Plus Tard after the pair bolted home in Tuesday’s penultimate race, one of Racing TV’s commentary team noted how refreshing it was to see that a woman booting home the winner of a major horse race is no longer considered a particularly big deal. The sight of Blackmore taking the plaudits of racegoers has been a regular one in Ireland this season – the 29-year-old has ridden an astonishing 84 winners on the domestic front and currently sits a close second behind Paul Townend in the race to be crowned champion jockey. Were she to finish ahead of him, it would be an exceptionally big and unprecedented deal indeed.

Following a road first travelled by her compatriots, the now retired amateur jockeys Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh, Blackmore is that exceptionally rare breed: a female professional jockey who has earned the complete trust of several high-profile trainers and owners, not to mention the often difficult-to-please punters who back their horses. A woman challenging successfully in one of the very few sports in which both genders are allowed to compete on the biggest stage on equal terms but rarely do, Blackmore’s achievements will not stop being extraordinary until people no longer feel compelled to highlight them in a way they wouldn’t if she was a man. In the meantime, long may this reluctant heroine remain inspirational box office gold.

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