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Cheltenham Festival

2019 Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey Preview: Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty And Davy Russell All Ready To Battle It Out

Tuesday 19th February 2019
Ruby Walsh has a stunning record at the Cheltenham Festival and has been crowned top jockey several times
Ruby Walsh has a stunning record at the Cheltenham Festival and has been crowned top jockey several times

Over the last decade the Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey award has been a fairly mediocre sideshow with Ruby Walsh's dominance seeing the rest of the weighing room failing to get close to the legendary Irishman.

The strength of Willie Mullins clan often saw Walsh have the Top Jockey crown sewn up by the end of day one and between 2004 and 2017 Walsh amassed 11 Top Jockey awards.  Prior to his dominance with Mullins, Walsh steered an array of classy Paul Nicholls-trained horses home to glory, however, the tide is turning.

Mullins and Nicholls still possess some lively players, but Mullins dominance in particular has eased somewhat and last year it was Davy Russell that claimed the Top Jockey crown with four wins, and this year's event should prove to be another thrilling accompaniment to the 28 Festival races.

We turn our attentions to the 2019 Top Jockey award and assess all the leading challengers:

Ruby Walsh - Leading Cheltenham Festival Jockey - 11 times - 11/4 with Coral

With over 50 winning rides at the Cheltenham Festival, Ruby Walsh possesses the finest record in the history of the National Hunt extravaganza, and the Irish legend will no doubt have another stellar book of rides over the four days next month.

While the Mullins team may not be the dominant force they once were, Walsh will still have an array of leading contenders with Laurina, Benie Des Dieux, Min, Uradel and Penhill all likely to go close in their chosen races.  Walsh will pilot some interesting contenders in the handicap races over the four days, while he could well pick up the odd spare during the meeting, so he is entitled to be the 11/4 favourite with Coral and could well grab a momentous 12th victory.

Barry Geraghty - Leading Cheltenham Festival Jockey - 2 times - 100/30 with William Hill

A winner of the Top Jockey crown in 2003 and 2012, Barry Geraghty is another with a fine record at Prestbury Park, and he will have the honour of riding a host of JP McManus-owned contenders with reigning Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air likely to be the premier performer donning the green and gold hoops.

Champ will be another leading contender for Geraghty and like Walsh he will have a strong book of handicap rides during the meeting.  Sir Erec is another exciting JP McManus-owned raider along with Le Richebourg, but Mark Walsh could well keep the ride on Triumph Hurdle hotpot Sir Erec, so Geraghty may just struggle to bag enough winners to beat Ruby Walsh.

Cheltenham Odds
Poll: Who Will Be Top Jockey At 2019 Cheltenham Festival? Vote Now
Ruby Walsh
33%
Barry Geraghty
33%
Jack Kennedy
33%
Davy Russell
33%
Nico de Boinville
33%
Paul Townend
33%
Mark Walsh
33%
Other
33%
Vote
89 votes
Poll Ended

Jack Kennedy - Leading Cheltenham Festival Jockey - 0 times - 11/2 with Betfred

Gordon Elliott's emergence at the top level over the last decade has seen the Gigginstown House Stud launch into the limelight and Jack Kennedy has often been the one donning the famous maroon silks.  Kennedy will partner a multitude of lively contenders including Delta Work over the four days, but as is often the case with Gigginstown horses there are more than one in each race, so Kennedy will have to find himself on the right horse, and that could see his chance diminish.

Davy Russell - Leading Cheltenham Festival Jockey - 1 time - 6/1 with William Hill

When discussing Jack Kennedy you need to chat about Davy Russell as he can often been seen riding in Gigginstown silks, but last year's top jockey will also have the advantage of riding for Cheltenham Festival specialist Pat Kelly.  Kelly has a small string in his possession, but they can prove to be top class horses and Presenting Percy will fly the flag for the Kelly-Russell partnership in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, while Mall Dini is sure to be another leading contender.  However, Russell may just lack the strength in depth to figure at the top of the jockey standings.

Best Of The Rest

Nicky Henderson was tipped for the Top Trainer award, so that means Nico de Boinville (12/1 with William Hill) has to be considered and he will bag the plum ride on Altior in the Champion Chase.  However, the above-mentioned Geraghty will ride some of Henderson's stars, so de Boinville will struggle to challenge for glory.

Paul Townend (12/1 with William Hill) will be an integral part of the Willie Mullins team and he will pick up the odd winner over the week, but he will have to play second fiddle to Ruby Walsh and won't bag enough winners, while the aforementioned Mark Walsh (25/1 with Coral) will play understudy to Geraghty and will struggle to notch the handful needed to claim the trophy.  Harry Cobden (25/1), Daryl Jacob (20/1) and Richard Johnson (33/1) add more strength to the fascinating market, but they just lack the depth needed to claim the coveted prize.

2019 Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey Tip

  • Ruby Walsh to win @ 11/4 with Coral

2019 Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey Odds

Barry Geraghty 13/8 6/4 7/4 7/4 13/8 7/4
Mark Walsh 9/4 9/4 7/4 2 7/4 2
Nico De Boinville 4 4 5 5 5 4
Harry Cobden 10 10 12 10 12 10
Ruby Walsh 14 12 16 14 16 12
Paul Townend 16 14 16 16 16 16
Jamie Codd 20 20 16 - - -
Harry Skelton - - - 33 - -
JJ Slevin - 33 - - - -
Davy Russell 66 66 50 50 - -
Rachael Blackmore 50 50 50 50 - -
Jack Kennedy 50 50 50 50 - 50
Daryl Jacob - - - - - 66
Robbie Power - - - - - 66
Noel Fehily - - - - - 66

2019 Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey Odds

BEST ODDS
FREE BET ODDS
7/4
7/4
7/4
13/8
13/8
FREE BET ODDS
9/4
2
2
7/4
7/4
FREE BET ODDS
5
5
5
4
4
4
FREE BET ODDS
12
12
10
10
10
10
FREE BET ODDS
16
16
14
14
12
12
FREE BET ODDS
16
16
16
16
16
14
FREE BET ODDS
66
66
50
50
FREE BET ODDS
50
50
50
50
FREE BET ODDS
50
50
50
50
50
Odds correct as of 11th Apr, 12:48 . Odds are subject to change.
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