Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore stole all the headlines at the Cheltenham Festival in 2022, winning two of the biggest races of the week – the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle.

Blackmore goes into this year’s meeting with another strong book of rides. Here is a look at some of her leafing chances across the week.

Envoi Allen Set to Defend His Crown in Ryanair Chase

The pick of Blackmore’s rides this year is Envoi Allen, who will be defending his title in the Ryanair Chase. The Irish chaser is available at 7/2 for those placing a Cheltenham races bet on last year’s winner.

Envoi Allen is trained in Ireland by Henry De Bromhead, who is 16/1 in the Cheltenham Festival top trainer odds. Just like he did last season, the Irishman has campaigned his star chaser lightly to ensure he is at his peak for the Championship race. His last appearance came in November when he was second in the Champion Chase at Down Royal.

Blackmore has grown an excellent partnership with the eight-time Grade One winner. She has ridden the chaser in each of his 12 races, including when he powered up the hill in the day three contest in 2023.

Former Gold Cup Winner Faces Cross Country Challenge

As a former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Minella Indo is the biggest name in this year’s Cross Country Chase field. Blackmore will have to navigate the chaser around the unique course at Prestbury Park.

Blackmore has yet to win the Cross Country Chase before, but this is her best chance yet. Minella Indo travelled across to England earlier in the season to gain some experience of the course. He finished fourth in a handicap race there.

The 11-year-old has featured in three Cheltenham Gold Cups in his career. He was second in the Blue Riband contest in 2022. Should he produce anything close to his best in the Cross Country this year, Blackmore will feel he will have an excellent chance of having more success at this special meeting.

Captain Guinness Not There to Make Up Numbers in Champion Chase

The highlight on day two of the Cheltenham Festival is the Queen Mother Champion Chase where Blackmore will partner with Captain Guinness this year. The pair will need to get the better of El Fabiolo, who has dominated the 2m division this season.

Captain Guinness and Blackmore finished second in the Championship race last season. They chased home Energumene, who was 10 lengths ahead of them when crossing the finish line at Cheltenham.

This season began well for Captain Guinness as he prevailed in the Fortria Chase at Navan back in November. Since then, he has suffered defeat on both of his two appearances, including when he was third of five runners in the Dublin Chase. Connections of the horse will be hoping their chaser can return to form on his trip to the UK.

Blackmore has ridden 14 Cheltenham Festival winners so far in her career. She will be disappointed if she does not add to that tally in 2024.