Why Rachael Blackmore didn’t break golden Royal Family rule after Cheltenham win | Other | Sport

Rachael Blackmore did not breach Royal Family protocol despite planting a kiss on Queen Camilla’s cheek after winning at Cheltenham Festival. Horse racing fans wondered if the Irish jockey had broken a golden rule after Frankie Dettori was pulled up over a similar incident at Royal Ascot last year.

Blackmore won the Champions’ Chase on Captain Guinness after Willie Mullins’s pre-race favourite El Fabiolo pulled up. The 34-year-old embraced Queen Camilla – wife of King Charles III – as she rose to collect her trophy.

The pair chatted and laughed together as Blackmore allowed the moment to sink in. However, they then kissed each other on the cheek before Blackmore moved on.

General Royal protocol suggests that women should curtsy to a member of the Royal Family, while men must bow their head. However, Blackmore did not break any rules as it is only a breach of protocol to initiate touching with a member of the Royal Family if the royal does not offer it.

On this occasion, Queen Camilla went in for the kiss before Blackmore obliged.

Fellow jockey Dettori did actually break the protocol last year when he gave Queen Camilla a peck on the cheek at Royal Ascot. On that occasion, Queen Camilla had not made the first move.

Luckily for Dettori, there is no punishment for breaking Royal protocol. The 53-year-old rode the late Queen Elizabeth II’s horses for over 30 years.

Meanwhile, Blackmore was delighted with the performance of Captain Guinness.

“He travelled incredible and jumped really well. It is incredible. So pleased for his owner. He has been knocking on the door.

“It is incredible to win this, just incredible and so happy to do it on this horse. He always runs his race. He is enthusiastic.”

Trainer Mullins now has 100 Cheltenham winners. He paid a classy tribute to rival Nicky Henderson who has been forced to withdraw several horses this week, citing “something affecting” most of his stable.

Mullins said: “It’s a wonderful day, it’s fantastic. As much I enjoy what’s happening, I think of my colleague and fellow trainer Nicky Henderson and what’s happened with his yard this week.

“That’s always a worry that we have in the two or three weeks coming up to Cheltenham, that something will come in and bite you from outside. As much as we’re enjoying it, I don’t know how he must be feeling. You want competition and it must be gutting for him. You’d like good opposition to have fun with because I’m sure he would have beaten us a few times this week.”

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