Blackmore yet to process Honeysuckle Cheltenham win as ITV sets ratings record

She made the headlines on day one of the Cheltenham Festival, but Honeysuckle's exploits are yet to sink in for Rachael Blackmore.

The first female rider to win the Unibet Champion Hurdle in history struck at the first attempt on day two, when Bob Olinger impressed in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

Like Honeysuckle, he is trained by Henry de Bromhead in Ireland – and they were celebrating again 24 hours from the landmark triumph.

"I'm still speechless over yesterday," Blackmore said.

"It was massive. I'm pinching myself over it, I don't think I'll really get to reflect on it until the week is done.

"You're just steamrolling on to today and we will reflect at some stage."

De Bromhead said Honeysuckle, who is now unbeaten in 11 races, came out of the Grade 1 in fine fettle.

"She was great, really good this morning," he added.

"I'm delighted with her, (she's) full of herself and I would imagine we will probably look towards Punchestown but we haven't discussed anything yet, we just enjoyed yesterday."

A peak of 1.5million viewers watched Blackmore’s moment of history aboard Honeysuckle on ITV Racing.

The figure, an increase of 100,000 from 2020, was the highest on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival since 2011.

The average audience, of 1.1million, for Tuesday’s Unibet Champion Hurdle broadcast was the highest since records began in 2003.

“We knew this would be a Cheltenham Festival like no other, and Rachael’s victory aboard Honeysuckle was the good news story so many people hoped for,” said ITV Racing’s lead presenter, Ed Chamberlin.

“We’re thrilled that a peak audience of 1.5million tuned in to watch history being made.”

Bob Olinger's success continued the Irish domination of the Wednesday opener, which they have now won in seven of the last eight years.

The seven-and-a-half-length winner is 5-1 for next year's Marsh Novices' Chase with Paddy Power.

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