TV View: Rachael Blackmore has no one but herself to blame for multiple awards

You get the notion the Irish jockey would rather have root canal than talk about herself

One of the many charming things about Rachael Blackmore is that you always have the notion that she'd rather go through root canal treatment than talk about herself and her achievements, so you can only assume that the last few days have been the stuff of her nightmares.

Friday: she won the Sportswoman of the Year award, and was then asked about herself and her achievements.

Saturday: she won the RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year award, and was then asked about herself and her achievements.

Sunday: she won the BBC World Sport Star award, and was then asked about herself and her achievements.


By Monday morning, Becher’s Brook probably seemed like a doorstep.

It is, of course, her own fault, after what she got up to in 2021, that RTÉ montage during Saturday’s awards a thing of loveliness. Incidentally, set your alarms for Rachael Blackmore: A Grand Year on December 29th on RTÉ One, Ross Whitaker’s documentary on her glorious 12 months. If it’s even a patch on his film on Katie Taylor, it’ll be a gem.

As we know, arguments over the winners of the RTÉ sports awards have replaced Civil War politics in their ability to divide families, counties and, well, the entire nation. And while, for as long as they live, Paul O’Donovan devotees will never understand why he wasn’t nominated for Sportsperson of the Year, on the whole it seemed like most rational folk doffed their caps at the choice of Blackmore.

Damn it, though, that in memoriam section is such a heartbreaking watch, the youth of so many who slipped away gut-wrenching, as was being reminded of the loss of the likes of Jerry Kiernan, Alan McLoughlin and Seanie O’Leary, sporting giants in our youth and beyond.

Speaking of youth, Gavin Bazunu as Young Sportsperson of the Year was the perfect choice. God, he’s the finest of young fellas.

Good news

Back to Rachael. Horse racing is most likely genuflecting at her feet after a year when she was one of the sport’s few good news stories, the headlines largely dominated by its uglier side, namely doping allegations and the actions of Gordon Elliott and Robbie Dunne.

Having cleaned up the major awards at home, it was time to see if the BBC would similarly acknowledge her impact on her sport, her rivals for the World Sport Star award the motliest of sporting crews: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Tom Brady, Novak Djokovic, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Max Verstappen.

(The chances of Max winning it, after [morally] losing to Lewis Hamilton but still taking the Formula One championship, were as likely as Shergar turning up at Leopardstown on Stephen’s Day).

Just three folk from this island – Mary Peters, Barry McGuigan and AP McCoy – had won awards at this do before, all of them taking the overall gong, but Tipperary was inserted in the World category, where it very much belongs, Rachael having made it a sporting global hotspot.

But first, a salute to Leona Maguire for her rather majestic contribution to Europe winning the Solheim Cup. "Remember the name," said the narrator. We will.

If Rachael wasn’t chosen as the World Sport Star, though, it would have put Brexit in the ha’penny place when it came to severely damaged relations between them and us.

The build-up was promising, though. "This year the world witnessed a moment of history on the hallowed Aintree turf," said Gabby Logan. "Back in April, one of sport's biggest glass ceilings was smashed when Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore became the first woman ever to ride the winner of the Grand National," said Clare Balding.

Home and hosed, Rachael had herself another winner, joining a list that includes the likes of Michael Johnson, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Usain Bolt and Simone Biles.

“When you can bring a bit of joy in to people’s lives, it makes it more special,” she said, on being asked about herself and her achievements.

By then, she was probably thinking, “PLEASE – NO MORE AWARDS!” She’s no one but herself to blame. Legend.