IRISH TRAILBLAZER Rachael Blackmore has continued her impressive 2021 as the Tipperary woman took top spot at Leopardstown on Journey With Me.
Journey With Me maintained his unbeaten record in the Pigsback.com Maiden Hurdle at Leopardstown, while a second successive shock defeat for top-class horse Kilcruit also occurred
Sir Gerhard beat Kilcruit in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham before reversing that form at Punchestown.
Ridden by Paul Townend, Kilcruit tracked Henry de Bromhead’s point-to-point and bumper winner Journey With Me for much of the two-and-a-half-mile contest, but it was clear from the home turn he was struggling to bridge the gap.
⭐ Still unbeaten
Journey With Me makes the perfect start to life over hurdles, galloping clear of the odds-on Kilcruit to score in fine style in the hands of @rachaelblackmor for trainer @HenrydeBromhead @LeopardstownRC | @BrianAcheson pic.twitter.com/1VqKTSWE7v
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) December 29, 2021
With Rachael Blackmore in the saddle, the leader galloped all the way to the line to prevail by three and a half lengths from Minella Crooner, who beat the disappointing Kilcruit to the runner-up spot.
The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old was beaten at odds of 1-14 on his hurdling debut at Cork last month and was the 4-9 favorite to bounce back on day four of Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival.
De Bromhead said: “I’m delighted with him – he’s a lovely horse. He obviously won his bumper well and his point-to-point and he did it really well there.
“He’s won a maiden hurdle and there’s still a long way to go, but I’m delighted with that.
“He’s bucked the trend of our Christmas anyhow, one of the few to buck it, so that’s great. It must mean he’s a good horse if he can win this week!”
— Leon Blanche (@BoyleSportsLB) December 29, 2021