Jockeys who have ridden at the Cheltenham Festival many times before may have an advantage over those who are less experienced. The unique track and atmosphere of the festival can take some getting used to, and experienced jockeys may be better equipped to handle the pressure and make the most of their opportunities.
Cheltenham is a unique course with its own characteristics and quirks. A successful jockey at the festival will have a deep understanding of the course and how to ride it to the best effect.
Successful jockeys at the festival often have strong relationships with trainers, who trust them to ride their horses to the best of their abilities. This can lead to better quality rides and more opportunities to compete in the most prestigious races.
A jockey who can read a race well and make quick decisions about when to make a move and when to hold back can have a big advantage at the Cheltenham Festival. The festival is known for its fiercely competitive races, and split-second decisions often make the difference between winning and losing.
Finally, successful jockeys at the Cheltenham Festival often have a high level of confidence and mental toughness. They can handle the pressure of competing at such a high-profile event and have the self-belief to make bold moves and take calculated risks when necessary.
Most Cheltenham Winners
Here are the leading jockeys at the Cheltenham Festival over the past 10 years:
- Ruby Walsh
- Barry Geraghty
- Davy Russell
- Nico de Boinville
- Richard Johnson
- Paul Townend
- Bryan Cooper
- Sam Twiston-Davies
- Mark Walsh
- Jack Kennedy
Ruby is Still The Best
Ruby Walsh made headlines when he retired from racing in 2019, and his achievements at the Cheltenham Festival are unlikely to be matched anytime soon. He holds an unrivalled record of 59 wins. On the third day of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, Ruby made history by becoming the first jockey to ride four winning horses in one single day – a feat that has yet to be matched.
2023 Festival Top Jockeys
This year, Irish Champion Jump Jockey Paul Townend defended his Craft Irish Whiskey Leading Jockey title at the Festival with an impressive 5 winners over the course of four days! Not only that, but he also claimed victory in both the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup riding Galopin Des Champ and Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on Energumene for a second consecutive year. A remarkable feat indeed!
Here Come The Girls
Female jockeys have been making significant strides in the world of horse racing in recent years, including at the Cheltenham Festival. Here are some of the top female jockeys who have enjoyed success at the festival:
Katie Walsh: Katie Walsh, the sister of retired jockey Ruby Walsh, has had a successful career at the Cheltenham Festival, winning 3 major races. Her most notable victory came in 2010 when she won the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup on the horse Poker de Sivola.
Lizzie Kelly: Lizzie Kelly became the first female jockey to win a Grade One race over fences in Britain when she rode Tea For Two to victory in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park in 2015. She came out victorious twice at the Cheltenham Festival, first with Coo Star Sivola in 2018 for the Ultima Handicap Chase and then a year later with Siruh Du Lac to take home the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase.
Rachael Blackmore: Rachael Blackmore has quickly established herself as one of the best jockeys in the sport, and has enjoyed great success at the Cheltenham Festival in recent years. In 2022, she became the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, one of the most prestigious races in the sport, riding the horse A Plus Tard to victory. She also won the Champion Hurdle aboard Honeysuckle. In total, Rachael has 14 festival winners to her name.
Bryony Frost: Bryony Frost became the first female jockey to win a Grade One race over jumps at the Cheltenham Festival when she rode Frodon to victory in the Ryanair Chase in 2019. She has also enjoyed success in other big races, winning the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on the same horse later that year.
These jockeys have broken down barriers and paved the way for more female jockeys to compete at the highest levels of the sport.
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Future Top Jockey
Jack Kennedy is a name to watch out for in the future. At 22, he has always claimed 10 victories at the Cheltenham Festival and has continued to rack up impressive wins in major races across Britain and Ireland. He is a gifted jockey who shows great promise for even more success in the years to come.
The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest events on the horse racing calendar and attracts some of the best jockeys in the business. However, with a new generation of top jockeys emerging, the competition will surely be fierce and exciting in years to come!
It’s clear that some of the leading jockeys at this year’s Cheltenham Festival are pushing boundaries and making their mark on the sport.