Top Cheltenham Festival jockey odds: Townend to show true worth?
Who will ride the most winners at the Cheltenham Festival?
We’re taking a look at the top Cheltenham Festival jockey odds to see which riders are expected to shine at this season’s four-day spectacular.
Ruby Walsh once dominated this award, claiming five straight victories from 2013 to 2017 to make it nine wins in 10 years and 11 overall.
No pilot has secured back-to-back triumphs since his retirement, though, so some punters may be willing to take on this term’s hot favourite.
PAUL TOWNEND @ 1/2
The defending champion was on board five winners 12 months ago and will again have the pick of the Willie Mullins armada crossing over the Irish Sea. Townend did come in for criticism from the Closutton maestro over some of his riding at the recent Dublin Racing Festival but all that will be forgotten if he delivers the goods again at Cheltenham. With 22 Festival strikes on the board, the 32-year-old has the experience to know what is required and will be reunited with old friends like Energumene, State Man and Allaho.
NICO DE BOINVILLE @ 9/2
Nicky Henderson’s stable jockey took top honours in 2019 with just three winners but has posted 15 career victories overall. A stalwart of the Seven Barrows set-up who is regularly hailed for his work on the schooling grounds in educating future stars, De Boinville has enjoyed some memorable moments at Prestbury Park on the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Altior and Shishkin. The last-named is fancied to win the Ryanair Chase after returning to form last time out, while Champion Hurdle hotpot Constitution Hill looks an early banker.
DAVY RUSSELL @ 8/1
The 43-year-old, who topped the table with four winners in 2018 and had three more in 2020, looked set to finish on 22 career victories after announcing his retirement in mid-December. However, Russell was tempted into a quick U-turn after Gordon Elliott’s main man Jack Kennedy suffered a broken leg. A heavy fall at the Dublin Racing Festival will have hurt Russell but few people ride Cheltenham better. Elliott said: “The wealth of experience Davy has is unbelievable – he’s worth his weight in gold around there.”
DANNY MULLINS @ 12/1
The son of successful trainers Tony and Mags will benefit from picking up spare rides for his uncle Willie after Townend has had first pick. That scenario brought three Grade One winners at the Dublin Racing Festival, with Gala Marceau, Gentleman De Mee and Il Etait Temps all beating better-fancied stablemates. Mullins has also ridden Flooring Porter to victory in the last two renewals of the Stayers’ Hurdle.
RACHAEL BLACKMORE @ 12/1
Blackmore was crowned as the queen of Cheltenham two years ago when partnering six winners to top the table. That was followed by Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle glory last season on A Plus Tard and Honeysuckle respectively, as well as obliging on Bob Olinger. Whether she has quite the same ammunition this time around is open to debate, but huge numbers of spectators will be roaring on her every mount once more.
All odds and market correct at date of publication