Rachael Blackmore's nightmare SPOTY journey sees jockey accept World Sport Star award while stuck in Manchester airport

RACHAEL BLACKMORE was forced to accept her SPOTY award while stuck in Manchester Airport after a nightmare journey meant she missed her big moment.

The Grand National-winning jockey, 32, was flying to to the star-studded BBC bash in Manchester last night after finishing racing in Ireland.

But thick fog delayed her arrival and meant she had to accept the award from the airport.

Hosts Gabby Logan and Clare Balding paid tribute to the trailblazing rider, who spoke to them on a delayed Zoom call.

Blackmore saw off the likes of F1 world champion Max Verstappen, top boxer Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and NFL icon Tom Brady to win.

And, proving she can do just about anything, Blackmore did eventually make it to the show to accept her award in person.

Describing her hellacious journey, Blackmore said: "They closed the door of the plane, and I thought we’d be moving.

"The pilot said there’s going to be a 55-minute delay for us taking off. I was still going to get here on time with that but we had to do a few loops around Manchester when we got here with the fog.

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"We landed in Manchester and I was still going to be ok – it was going to be tight – and they opened the doors of the plane, the steps were up and I was there for 35 minutes before they let us actually get off the plane. It was a bit stressful!"

Turns out that wasn't the only headache.

Blackmore said she noticed her dress still had its security tag on, adding the whole thing was 'peak 2021'.

Really though, what would be peak 2022 for Blackmore is more victories at the very highest level.

And the bookies certainly think it's more than likely.

Blackmore is 15-8 with Paddy Power to reclaim her Cheltenham Festival top jockey crown.

She became the first woman ever to win that last year, thanks to rides like the Champion Hurdle victory on Honeysuckle.

That horse, by the way, is already 4-5 favourite to win it again next March.

And Paddy price Blackmore as 12-1 to win the Grand National for a second straight year.

She was victorious on Minella Times last April at a similar price of 11-1.

Blackmore continues to reel off winners at present though, with his BBC award coming on the back of her RTE Sportsperson of the Year and Irish Times Sportswoman of the Year gongs.


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