Rachael Blackmore celebrates announcement of Europe's most valuable ladies' race at Leopardstown
Following the record-breaking feats of Rachael Blackmore and Bryony Frost at last month's Cheltenham Festival, female jockeys jockeys will break new ground when competing for the most valuable ladies' race in Europe at Leopardstown next month.
Leading lady jockeys from Ireland, England and France are expected to be in action for the inaugural €50,000 Microsoft Cup which was officially unveiled at the Foxrock track today.
The Microsoft Cup will form the centre piece of Leopardstown's Ladies Evening on May 17 in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness with Blackmore, who has a staggering 86 winners on Irish turf already this term, keen to take part.
“The Microsoft Cup is a fantastic initiative by Leopardstown. This is a wonderful opportunity for all lady riders and I very much hope to be there on the evening, all being well,” Blackmore said.
Blackmore secured two Cheltenham Festival winners – including her maiden Grade One triumph aboard Minella Indo in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle – is likely to be joined by leading amateur Lisa O'Neill in a stellar field.
Mickaelle Michel, Coralie Pacout and Maryline Eon could represent France and the 1m4f contest is on the radar of former UK champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who is expected to be represented in the race. Nicholls has saddled an increasing number of horses on the Flat and is likely to be represented with a runner to be ridden by his daughter, Megan, at the Leopardstown fixture.
“To get the opportunity to come over to Ireland and ride at a racecourse like Leopardstown is great and I’m very much looking forward to it," Megan Nicholls said.
"We have a different series in England which some of the Irish girls have come over to, so it is fantastic to hear about the Microsoft Cup.
"We’ve been running more and more horses on the flat and we’ll try and pick the best one as it is really great prize money on offer.”