Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Sporting ExcitementSporting Excitement

Horse Racing

Rachael Blackmore’s boyfriend and the Shark – new documentary explains Brian Hayes’ role in jockey’s big break

BEFORE Rachael Blackmore became the standout superstar of racing, she had to get the better of a Shark.

Or, more accurately, she had to convince legendary Shark Hanlon to give her a go in the saddle.

Blackmore’s first step on the path to superstardom came about thanks to her future boyfriend
Hayes explained in a new documentary how he helped Blackmore get her big break

From those humble beginnings, Blackmore, 32, rose rapidly to become a Grand National winner, Cheltenham Festival top jockey and SPOTY World award winner.

But it may never have happened at all were it not for a call from her boyfriend Brian Hayes.

A new documenatary has explained Hayes’ role in getting Blackmore her big break.

Blackmore was still looking for her first win and, in truth, just any ride at all, when she got in touch with John ‘Shark’ Hanlon about an upcoming race in 2011.

Shark had the promising Stowaway Pearl entered in a Tipperary Ladies’ Handicap Hurdle at Thurles in Ireland that February.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

But the trainer snubbed the future heroine of the sport, saying he was already fixed for a ride.

The truth, according to what Hayes says in Rachael Blackmore: A Grand Year, was rather different.

He said Shark was in fact thinking of scrubbing the horse completely because he couldn’t get ‘anyone good’ to ride it.

That’s when Hayes took matters into his own hands and transformed Blackmore’s career.

Hayes, also a jockey, said in the show: “I remember being in the yard and Shark saying to me he’s not going to bother running that horse in that race because he can’t get anyone good to ride it.

The Shark aka Joseph Hanlon initially snubbed Blackmore, only to see her win on his horse and kick start her career

“So I rang Rachael myself and said Shark’s running a horse there and we can’t get anyone to ride it, maybe she can give him a ring.”

Hayes explained Blackmore’s version of events – where he turned her down – and added: “He just said that because he doesn’t know you.”

Hayes told Blackmore to try again, and she got in touch with Grand National hero Davy Russell.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

He, along with Hayes, helped convince Shark to give Blackmore a go.

It proved wise, as Blackmore won the race and started out on her path to superstardom.

The Irish jockey will look to repeat her heroics of last year when Cheltenham Festival rolls around again in March – and is already odds-on to win the Champion Hurdle with Honeysuckle.


Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to SE. 18+. T&Cs apply.

Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare –
  • Gamble Aware –




JOFRA ARCHER’S career has been plunged into further doubt after being ruled out for the whole summer. The Sussex fast bowler has suffered a...


JOSHUA BUATSI returns to the ring on Saturday night in the toughest test of his career against Craig ‘Spider’ Richards. The mouthwatering light-heavyweight fight...


NOVAK DJOKOVIC may have to beat Rafael Nadal in the French Open QUARTER-FINALS of his bid to draw level with his great rival on...


BEN STOKES has revealed he suffered panic attacks while sitting on the toilet in his room at the England team hotel. His agent says...


EDDIE HEARN was half-tempted to jokingly call out Jake Paul during the Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano fight week. The pair got up close...


TIGER WOODS was almost hit by a flying golf ball and rowed with a cameraman in an eventful opening round at the PGA Championship....