Patrick Mullins: 'Rachael Blackmore is the Neil Armstrong of our racing generation'
Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference - Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, 1916
Frost's famous words are apt when applied to R. Blackmore. A struggling female amateur nursing a slowly dying dream of being a jockey, she could have kept clawing away at point-to-points.
Instead she chose to take a path far less travelled, not set foot on by a woman for over 30 years in fact, and it has led her on an adventure more marvellous than even Dorothy in Oz.
Rachael Blackmore is unique. She is the Neil Armstrong of our racing generation, as the first woman to win the Conditional Championship and to lead the Championship itself. She dislikes talking about it in that manner, as she - rightly - sees herself as a jockey and not a female jockey, but it is the simple truth.
Truth can be like poetry. Some people f**king hate it.
She is riding with the confidence of an Artful Dodger walking up Grafton Street at Christmas, stealing races all around the country.
A new link-up with Henry de Bromhead, as well as Gigginstown House Stud, since the start of this season has bolstered her armoury. Not since Joan of Arc set fire to France has a lady had such powerful allies.
Today she keeps her alliance with the progressive Bedrock in the featured Ryanair Hurdle. They were the first to lower Samcro's colours when defeating him in Down Royal.
Samcro reopposes today after another defeat at the hands of dual Champion Hurdler Buveur D'Air. He needs to show today that he can indeed mix it with the big boys. Three strikes and you're out.
Supasundae sets the standard as the victor of the Leopardstown and Punchestown Champion Hurdles last season. Jessie Harrington's charge took the measure of Melon in those races but Melon's brave performance in the Champion at Cheltenham is probably the best single piece of form in the race.
I throw my leg across Sharjah. One of the highlights of my career came when we annexed the Guinness Galway Hurdle back in August.
However, there is only one horse rated lower than him today, which tells you about the class in this race. It sets a fiendishly difficult puzzle to figure out but one thing I am sure of is that Bedrock is over-priced and has the form in the book to suggest he will be in the placings at the very least.
Mt Leinster is on a retrieval mission after being blown out of the water by hugely exciting Malone Road. While the winner won as he liked that day, I have put a line through that run for our horse.
He ran like his tail was on fire, fighting me to go faster all the way and not relaxing and breathing. He gave himself no chance.
We have added a hood today and will also find some cover for him early in the race, which I feel will combat that problem. Joseph O'Brien sends Meticulous into the race off a taking performance in Killarney. He is out of the wonderful race-mare Refinement and has to be taken very seriously.
On top of that he has the assistance of Tom Hamilton who is huge value for his claim. It is rare that an English amateur makes a go of things over here but Tom has done so with aplomb.
If Mt Leinster, a home-bred named after the mountain that overlooks our yard in Carlow, can get the better of Meticulous then he will be firmly back on track for the Cheltenham bumper.
The O'Leary family, of Florida Pearl fame, own him and it would be magic to have a winner in these silks at this track where Florida made so many of my childhood memories.
Small Farm (e/w Limerick 12.25)
Bedrock (e/w Leopardstown 2.30)
Mt Leinster (Leopardstown 3.40)