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Cheltenham Betting Tips 2021

If you are new to betting on horse racing, or even if you just like having a few bets a year then Cheltenham betting can often be a tricky concept. However, don’t worry, as there has never been a better time to be horse racing punter with more bookmakers and Cheltenham betting offers than ever to pick from and with that more Cheltenham sign up offers and tips to take full advantage of.

Cheltenham Betting Tips, Trends and Stats

There are several key positives and negatives to look for in each race when eyeing up the profile of the runners each year. So to help we’ve got the key plus and minus trends to apply to the main Cheltenham Festival races – by just following these simple rules you’ll at least have the make-up of past Cheltenham Festival winners on your side when placing your Cheltenham bets.


Cheltenham Festival Tips for day one: Tuesday

TimeRace Day OneBetting Guide Stats
13.30Supreme Novices’ HurdleSee latest stats
14.10Arkle Challenge TrophySee latest stats
14.50Festival Handicap ChaseSee latest stats
15.30Unibet Champion HurdleSee latest stats
16.10David Nicholson Mares’ HurdleSee latest stats
16.50National Hunt ChaseSee latest stats
17.30Festival Novices’ Handicap ChaseSee latest stats

 

13:30 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2m ½f

Positives 

  • 18 of the last 21 winners won their last race
  • 18 of the last 23 winners ran in the last 45 days
  • Irish-trained horses have won 15 of the last 26 runnings
  • 5 & 6 year-olds have the best record – winning 12 of the last 13 runnings
  • Willie Mullins has won the race 4 times since 2007 and for 3 of the last 5 years
  • 21 of the last 23 winners had raced that same calendar year
  • Owner Rich Ricci, Trainer Willie Mullins & Jockey Ruby Walsh have won 3 of the last 5 runnings

Negatives

  • Horses that FAILED to win last time out before coming here are just 3 from the last 21. In other words look for horses that won last time out!
  • We’ve seen just one ex-flat horse win since 2008 (50 runners)

14:10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase 2m

Positives

  • 11 of the last 14 winners had won (or been placed) at Cheltenham before
  • 10 of the last 11 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
  • 16 of the last 17 winners returned 9/1 or shorter
  • 10 of the last 14 winners at run at the Cheltenham Festival previously
  • 10 of the last 17 winners were the top or second top-rated hurdler in the field
  • Nicky Henderson has won the race 6 times

Negatives

  • Only 2 of the last 31 winners failed to win of finish second last time out
  • Just two of the last 27 winners started 11/1 or bigger in the betting
  • Only 3 of the last 26 winners were older than 7 years-old
  • The last horse aged 9 (or older) to win was in 1988
  • The last 28 ex-flat horses to run have all lost
  • Dovan (2016) was the first Supreme Hurdle winner (prev season) that has followed-up since 1965

14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase 3m 1f

Positives

  • 14 of the last 18 winners were officially rated 143 or less
  • 12 of the last 17 came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 12 of the last 17 were novices or second season chasers
  • 7 of the last 10 winners were rated between 142-146
  • 7 of the last 15 won last time out
  • The last 5 winners all wore headgear
  • Jonjo O’Neill, Alan King, Nicky Henderson, Tony Martin & David Pipe are trainers to note

Negatives

  • Avoid any horses carrying 11-04 or more in weight – 8 of the last 13 carried 10-12 or less
  • Be wary of Paul Nicholls-trained horses – he’s currently 0 from 20

15:30 Unibet Champion Hurdle 2m ½f

Positives

  • 28 of the last 34 won last time out
  • The Irish and Henderson have won 15 of the last 19 runnings
  • Trainer Willie Mullins has won 4 of the last 7 runnings
  • 8 of the last 11 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
  • Look for horses that have raced at least once that calendar year

Negatives

  • Avoid horses that failed to finish in the top three last time out
  • 5 year-olds are just 1 from 99 since 1985
  • Since 1927 we’ve only seen 2 winners aged 10 or older
  • Just 2 of the last 11 winners had raced more than 12 times over hurdles
  • Christmas Hurdle winners are 2 from 25

16:10 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle 2m 4f

Positives

  • Follow Irish-trained mares
  • The favourite (or 2nd fav) have won all 9 previous runnings
  • 7 of the last 10 favourites have won
  • Look for Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson, Paul Nolan & Alan King runners
  • Novices generally do well

Negatives

  • Avoid front-runners
  • Be wary of Paul Nicholls, Gordon Elliott, Philip Hobbs and Noel Meade runners

16:50 National Hunt Chase 4m

Positives

  • 11 of the last 16 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 9 of the last 16 winners were aged 7 or 8 years-old
  • Favourites have won 3 of the last 8 runnings
  • 3 of the last 7 winners were top-rated
  • 4 of the last 7 winners had run in a Grade One Novice Chase that season
  • 6 of the last 11 had run in a chase at Cheltenham before that season
  • 4 of the last 7 had run at a previous Cheltenham Festival
  • Note horses wearing headgear
  • 4 of the last 7 winners were rated 146 (or more)
  • Look out for JP McManus (5) owned runners
  • Jonjo O’Neill has trained 6 winners in the race

Negatives

  • 5 and 6 year-olds are just 2 from 74 since 1989
  • Be cautious of Paul Nicholls runners – he’s currently 0 from 17 in the race

17:30 The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase 2m 4½f

Positives

  • 9 of the last 13 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • Respect 7 year-olds
  • Look for any horses wearing first-time headgear
  • 5 of last 9 won last time out
  • 11 of the last 13 winners returned 12/1 or shorter
  • Respect JP McManus-owned runners (1 win, 2 2nds, 1 3rd)
  • Look for Henderson, O’Neill & Hobbs runners

Negatives

  • Avoid horses outside the top five in the betting
  • Avoid horses with less than 4 starts in the last 12 months
  • The Irish are just 1 from the last 12 runnings

 

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Cheltenham Betting Tips for Day Two: Wednesday

TimeRace Day TwoBetting Guide Stats
13.30Neptune Novices’ HurdlesSee latest stats
14.10RSA ChaseSee latest stats
14.50Coral CupSee latest stats
15.30Champion ChaseSee latest stats
16.10Cross Country ChaseSee latest stats
16.50Fred Winter HurdleSee latest stats
17.30Champion BumperSee latest stats

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13:30 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle 2m 5f

Positives

  • 19 of the last 23 win and place horses came from the top 4 in the betting
  • The Irish have won 8 of the last 12
  • All of the last 12 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
  • In the last 6 runnings, Irish-trained horses have filled 12 of the 18 places
  • 16 of the last 18 were NH bred
  • 12 of the last 19 had won a graded race before
  • Look for past Irish point-to-point winners
  • Respect Willie Mullins – 4 winners and 6 placed in last 12 years

Negatives

  • Only one winner aged older than 6 has won since 1974
  • Avoid 4 year-olds too – just one winner since 1991
  • The last 17 Challow Hurdle winners have been beaten
  • Avoid ex-flat horses (since 2005 all have been beaten)

14:10 RSA Chase 3m ½f

Positives

  • 4 of the last 9 winners ran in the Flogas Chase that season
  • Respect 7 year-olds – won 9 of the last 10
  • Irish bred horses are 18 from 21
  • 5 of the last 9 winners were trained in Ireland
  • Trainers Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls do well in the race
  • 21 of the last 25 were novice hurdling last season
  • Look for horses that ran that same calendar year

Negatives

  • No winner aged 9 or older since 1992
  • Just 4 winners younger than 7 since 1978
  • Avoid horses that had fallen before over fences
  • Just 1 of the last 17 winners had run less than 3 times over fences
  • All 20 winners of the Kauto Star (Feltham, Kempton) have lost

14:50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle 2m 5f

Positives

  • 9 of the last 13 were 2nd season hurdlers
  • 18 of the last 23 winners won earlier that season
  • Respect JP McManus-trained runners
  • 8 of the last 16 winners were FRENCH-BRED
  • 13 of the last 24 won last time out
  • Respect Irish-trained runners
  • Look for horses that had raced 4 or fewer times that season (last 8 winners)

Negatives

  • No winning favourite in the last 14 years
  • Horses aged 10+ are just 2 from 28 to even place since 1999
  • Horses rated 150+ don’t have a great record
  • One of the last 12 winners had run in the last 32 day – look for horses that have had a small break

15:30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase 2m

Positives

  • 12 of the last 17 winners ran in the Tingle Creek Chase that season
  • 3 of the last 5 winners also won the Clarence House Chase (Ascot) that season
  • 21 of the last 33 had won at the festival before
  • Paul Nicholls & Nicky Henderson have won 6 of the last 10 between them
  • 14 of the last 15 winners had run that calendar year
  • 35 of the last 36 winners returned 11/1 or shorter
  • 6 of the last 11 winners were French-bred
  • 10 of the last 15 winners were second season chasers
  • 15 of the last 19 winners came from the top 3 in the betting

Negatives

  • Only one winner priced 11/1 or bigger in the last 35 years
  • Top Irish trainer, Willie Mullins, is yet to win this race
  • Just 1 of the last 15 winners hadn’t won a Grade 1 Chase before
  • None of the last 11 winners had run in more than 13 chases
  • Be wary of horses older than 10 – they are just 2 winners since 1977

16:10 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase 3m 7f

Positives

  • The Irish have won 10 of the last 13 runnings
  • Respect Enda Bolger-trained runners (won 4 times)
  • 8 of the last 12 winners carried 10-13 or less
  • 16 of the last 20 winners came from the top three in the betting
  • 7 of the last 13 ran in the December Cross Country race here
  • Respect Nina Carberry, Richard Johnson and Davy Russell-ridden horses
  • 8 or the last 13 winners were aged 10 or older

Negatives

  • Debutants over these fences/course have a poor record
  • Avoid horses aged 7 or younger – they are only 2 from 92
  • Horses rated 126 or less have a very poor record
  • Willie Mullins is 0 from 11

16:50 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 2m ½f

Positives

  • 9 of the last 13 winners had run just 3 times over hurdles before
  • 20 of the last 31 (win/place) were French bred
  • Respect Fillies
  • 10 of the last 13 had run in the last 25 days
  • Pipe, Nicholls, Elliot and King-trained horses do well
  • 5 of the last 6 winners returned between 25/1 and 40/1
  • Respect horses wearing headgear
  • 12 of the last 12 winners were rated between 124-133

Negatives

  • Trainers Willie Mullins, Philip Hobbs and Venetia Williams are 0 from 28 between them
  • Only 2 winners had run in a handicap hurdle before

17:30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper 2m ½f

Positives

  • 23 of the last 25 had won last time out
  • Respect Irish-trained runners (18 from 34)
  • 17 of the last 25 came from the top 6 in the betting
  • 19 of the last 25 were Irish-bred
  • 10 of the last 17 winners were second season horses
  • 11 of the last 12 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
  • 15 of the last 17 had their debut runs in Ireland
  • 10 of the last 15 had been beaten in a race before
  • 5 of the last 8 winners returned between 14/1 and 40/1
  • Respect Willie Mullins (8 winners), but is just 2 from last 29 runners
  • The Irish lead the British 18-6

Negatives

  • Avoid horses with 4 or more NH Flat runs
  • Paul Nicholls & Nicky Henderson don’t often target the race

Betting Tips for day three: Thursday

TimeRace Day ThreeBetting Guide Stats
13.30JLT Novices’ChaseSee latest stats
14.10Pertemps FinalSee latest stats
14.50Ryanair ChaseSee latest stats
15.30Stayers’ HurdleSee latest stats
16.10Festival Plate Handicap ChaseSee latest stats
16.50Mares’ Novices’ HurdleSee latest stats
17.30Kim Muir Challenge CupSee latest stats

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Cheltenham Betting Tips

13:30 JLT Novices’ Chase 2m 4f

Positives

  • 6 of the 7 winners were Irish-trained
  • All 7 past winners had run at the Festival before
  • 6 of the 7 winners came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 11 of the 17 top three finishers won last time out
  • 6 of the last 7 winners ran between 47-54 days ago
  • 7 year-olds have won 4 of last 7

Negatives

  • Be careful of horses rated 146 or less
  • Since 1990 all Festival Novice Chase winners have been aged 8 or younger
  • 2 winning favourites in 7 runnings (1 co)
  • No winner had less than 3 career chase starts

14:10 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle 3m

Positives

  • 7 of the last 12 winners were aged 8 or older
  • The last 7 winners were rated 138 or higher
  • 10 of the last 13 winners had won over at least 2m7f
  • 8 of the last 17 winners won their last race
  • 3 of the last 8 winners finished in the first 5 in the Betfair Hurdle (Haydock)
  • Look for Jonjo O’Neill, Twiston-Davies, Mullins and Pipe-trained runners
  • Respect JP McManus-owned horses

Negatives

  • Just 3 Irish-trained winner in the last 12 runnings
  • Avoid horses with less than 6 runs over hurdles
  • 5 year-olds have won just once since 1973
  • Horses rated 142 or higher have a poor record
  • French-bred horses are 0-68
  • 1 winning favourite in last 11 years

14:50 Ryanair Chase 2m 5f

Positives

  • 18 of the 24 winners and runners-up had won at the course before
  • 9 of the last 10 had won at Cheltenham previously
  • The King George VI Chase is a good guide
  • The previous renewal is often a good guide
  • 10 of the last 12 winners returned 6/1 or shorter
  • The last 5 winners were aged 7 or 8 years-old
  • 9 of the last 10 were rated 161+
  • 10 of last 13 winners were fav or 2nd fav
  • Trainers Jonjo O’Neill, David Pipe & Nicky Henderson are respected

Negatives

  • The Irish are 2 from 38 runners in this race
  • Avoid horses priced 7/1 or bigger
  • Avoid horses aged 11 or older

15:30 World Hurdle 3m

Positives

  • 10 of the last 13 won last time out
  • 15 of the last 17 winners came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 8 of the last 16 were French Bred
  • Respect the Cleeve Hurdle and Long Walk Hurdle form
  • 14 of the last 16 winners finished 1st or 2nd in all their hurdling runs that season
  • 11 of the last 13 winners started 17/2 or less in the betting
  • Respect past winners of the race

Negatives

  • Avoid horses that didn’t finish either 1st or 2nd last time out (2 from 17)
  • A 5 year-old is yet to win the race
  • Previous Albert Bartlett winners have a poor record
  • Horses wearing headgear are 0 from 57
  • Horses aged 10 or older have all been beaten since 2000

16:10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate 2m 5f

Positives

  • 26 of the last 30 winners were officially rated 141 or less
  • Look out for French-breds
  • Venetia Williams, Pipe and Henderson-trained runners should be noted
  • The Pipe yard have won 7 of the last 20 runnings
  • 16 of the last 17 winners returned at double-figure odds
  • 20 of the last 26 winners had run at the Festival before

Negatives

  • Avoid horses that are yet to win at Class 3 or better
  • 1 favourite in the last 11 years
  • 3 of last 23 won with 11st+

16:50 Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices Hurdle 2m1f

  • A new race (runs just once before)
  • Willie Mullins has won it both times

17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase 3m 1½f

Positives

  • Respect 8 and 9 year-olds
  • 7 of the last 8 winners carried 11st 6lbs+
  • Look for McCain, Pipe and Henderson-trained runners
  • Look for horses in the top half of the handicap
  • 16 of the last 18 winners ran over at least three miles in their last race
  • Look for non-claiming amateur riders
  • 5 of the last 6 winners wore headgear
  • 7 of the last 8 winners came from the top 6 in the market
  • Jamie Codd has ridden 4 of the last 8 winners

Negatives

  • Just two Irish winners for 34 years
  • Horses that fell or unseated that season have a poor record
  • Avoid Paul Nicholls-trained horses – he’s just 1 placed horse from his last 19
  • Horses carrying less than 10-10 have a poor record

Betting Tips for day four: Friday

TimeRace Day FourBetting Guide Stats
13.30Triumph HurdleSee latest stats
14.10County HurdleSee latest stats
14.50Albert Bartlett Novices’ HurdleSee latest stats
15.30Cheltenham Gold CupSee latest stats
16.10Foxhunter Challenge CupSee latest stats
16.50Grand Annual ChaseSee latest stats
17.30Conditional Jockeys HurdleSee latest stats

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Cheltenham festival (1)

13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f

Positives

  • 19 of the last 24 winners won last time out
  • 11 of the last 13 came from the top 4 in the betting
  • Respect Henderson, Nicholls, and King-trained runners
  • 8 of the last 14 first ran over hurdles in November
  • 10 of the last 12 winners returned 13/2 or shorter
  • The Spring Juvenile Hurdle is a good guide
  • 5 of the last 9 winners had run in France before
  • Nicky Henderson has trained 6 winners of the race

Negatives

  • Take on horses that have won at 2m2f or further in the past
  • Avoid horses that last ran 56 days or longer ago
  • Avoid horses that had run 3 or more times over hurdles
  • Be careful of horses rated 138 or lower – no winner in the last 10

14:10 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle 2m 1f

Positives

  • The Irish have won 8 of the last 11 runnings
  • The last 12 winners were rated in the 130’s
  • 9 of the last 12 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
  • 10 of the last 12 winners were priced in double-figures
  • Look for Mullins, Martins & Nicholls-trained runners
  • Respect the Imperial Cup (Sandown Park) winner
  • Ruby Walsh has ridden 4 winners in the last 14 years
  • 10 of the last 17 winners came from the top 5 in the betting
  • 12 of the last 14 winners were 1st or 2nd season hurdlers

Negatives

  • Strangely, previous course winners have a bad record
  • Since 1960 only 4 winners carried more than 11st 2lb
  • Avoid runners that hadn’t raced at least 4 times that season

14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 3m

Positives

  • 8 of the last 13 winners had run at Cheltenham over hurdles before
  • 8 of the last 13 came from the top 5 in the betting
  • 9 of the last 12 winner ran 47 days (or more) ago
  • 10 of the last 13 had run in a race over 3m
  • 9 of the last 12 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
  • 11 of the last 11 winners finished in the top 3 last time out
  • 4 of the last 12 favourites won
  • Jonjo O’Neill (2) and the Irish (5) have won 7 of the last 12

Negatives

  • Horses that ran in the last 23 days haven’t fared well
  • Avoid horses that didn’t finish 1st or 2nd last time out
  • Be wary of horses that have raced less than 3 times over hurdles
  • Willie Mullins is 1 from 26 in the race
  • Only 1 of the last 13 winners hadn’t raced that calendar year

15:30 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase 3m 2½f

Positives

  • 15 of the last 17 finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 12 of the last 17 had won or placed 2nd at the festival before
  • 16 of the last 17 winners hailed from the top 3 in the betting
  • 16 of the last 17 winners had raced no more than 12 times over fences
  • 15 of the last 21 winners were bred in Ireland
  • 9 of the last 12 winners won last time out
  • 5 of the last 12 favourites won
  • All of the last 18 winners were aged 9 or younger

Negatives

  • Non Grade One winners are 0 from the last 17 runnings
  • No winner older than 10 years-old since 1969 (0 from 69)
  • Horses rated 166 or less are only 3 from last 17
  • Avoid horses that had run on ‘heavy’ ground that season
  • Horses wearing headgear are 0 from 39
  • Willie Mullins is yet to win the race, 0 from 19

16:10 St James’ Place Foxhunter Chase 3m 2½f

Positives

  • 25 of the last 27 winners were aged under 11 years-old
  • 24 of the last 32 won last time out
  • 10 of the last 12 winners ran 34 days or less ago
  • Respect the Irish runners
  • 9 of the last 12 winners were aged 8-10 years-old
  • 7 of the last 9 winners returned 15/2 or shorter
  • 9 of the last 10 winners finished in the top 3 last time out

Negatives

  • Horses that ran in a handicap race that season haven’t got a good record
  • Avoid horses that hadn’t won a race under rules
  • Avoid ex-handicappers rated 140+ in their careers
  • Don’t bet on horses that raced 35 days or longer ago

16:50Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase 2m ½f

Positives

  • 15 of the last 17 winners carried 11st or less
  • 11 of the last 13 winners had run at the festival before
  • 9 of the last 13 winners were aged 8 or older
  • Henderson, Nicholls, King-trained horses are respected
  • Keep the Irish horses on your side
  • Respect JP McManus-owned horses (3 winners, 8 placed)
  • The last 7 winners were rated at least 138
  • 5 year-olds have a good record (from few runners)
  • Novices have won 5 of the last 9 runnings

Negatives

  • Horses aged 10+ are just 1 win from the last 17 runnings
  • Horses that last ran 45 days or more ago have seen just four winners since 1990
  • Last time out winners are just 1 from last 11

17:30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4½f

Positives

  • All 9 winners were 2nd season-hurdlers
  • 24 of the 26 win and place horses were 1st or 2nd season hurdlers
  • Look for Henderson, Nicholls, Mullins, Elliot-trained horses
  • 7 of the 9 winners were placed in the top 4 last time out
  • 4 of the 9 winners won last time out
  • 7 of the 9 winners were rated 133-139
  • 6 of the 9 winners returned at a double-figure price
  • 5 and 6 year-old have won ALL 9 runnings
  • Look for jockeys that have ridden 20+ winners
  • Willie Mullins is 3 from 910in the race
  • Respect any Gigginstown House Stud-owned runners (2 winners, 3 places)

Negatives

  • Despite being named after his father the David Pipe camp has a poor record so far
  • Just 1 winning fav in the 8 year history (6/9 returned in double-figures)

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Cheltenham Festival – Top Trainer

Another market that has become ever popular in the build-up. Even during the 4-day Cheltenham Festival, which trainer will end up with the most winners?

The powerful Nicky Henderson team have fired in a staggering 55 Cheltenham Festival winners over the years and ended up at top trainer 9 times since 1980. With that in mind, it’s no wonder Nicky Henderson will be popular in the betting.

However, Henderson doesn’t quite have the ammo he normally has heading into the Cheltenham Festival with not too many so-called ‘bankers’ to rely on like in previous years, so, therefore, it’s easy to see why Willie Mullins, who has been the top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival for a few times already, is heavily odds-on around 5/2. Mullins won a staggering 6 Cheltenham Festival races in 2017 and that was after 7 in 2016, with 8 in 2015.

Last year, Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins dominated the week competing for the title of the top trainer. Finally, Gordon Elliott had 8 wins, while Willie Mullins finished with 7.  These two Irish trainers are this year’s biggest favourites as well.

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Winners Of The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award

  • 2018 Gordon Elliott (8)
  • 2017 Gordon Elliott (6)
  • 2016 Willie Mullins IRE (7)
  • 2015 Willie Mullins IRE (8)
  • 2014 Willie Mullins IRE (4)
  • 2013 Willie Mullins IRE (5)
  • 2012 Nicky Henderson (7)
  • 2011 Willie Mullins IRE (4)
  • 2010 Nicky Henderson (3)
  • 2009 Paul Nicholls (5)
  • 2008 Paul Nicholls (3)
  • 2007 Paul Nicholls (4)
  • 2006 Paul Nicholls (3)
  • 2005 Howard Johnson (3)
  • 2004 Paul Nicholls (4)
  • 2003 Jonjo O’Neill (3)
  • 2002 Martin Pipe (3)
  • 2001 Cancelled
  • 2000 Nicky Henderson (4)
  • 1999 Paul Nicholls (3)

The most successful current trainers at The Festival

  • 58 Nicky Henderson
  • 54 Willie Mullins
  • 40 Paul Nicholls
  • 26 Jonjo O’Neill
  • 18 Philip Hobbs
  • 18 Edward O’Grady
  • 17 Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 15 Alan King
  • 14 David Pipe

Top Jockey

The ‘Top Jockey’ betting at the Cheltenham Festival is always a fascinating market and provides punters with another sub-plot to keep them interested over the four-days of top-notch National Hunt action.

With top jockeys like Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty, Richard Johnson, and Sam Twiston-Davies all attached to some of the most powerful yards in the UK and Ireland then racegoers will be hunting through the entries and trying to plot which of the leading jockeys have the best rides – and, therefore, the best chance of trying to scoop the top Cheltenham Festival Jockey award.

In recent years Ruby Walsh has dominated this market – ridding the most winners over the four days 9 times in the last 10 seasons, including in 2017 with another 4 Cheltenham Festival winners, and he’s been top jockey at the meeting 10 times in all. His association with the powerful Willie Mullins team makes him the clear favourite each year and that’s unlikely to change in the foreseeable future as he looks to increase his 50+ overall Cheltenham Festival winners.

Walsh will have the pick of all the Mullins horses over the Festival, while he’s sure to also pick up plenty of spares even without any Mullins runners in certain races. While all those chances and we’ve not even mentioned the Champion Bumper – a race Willie Mullins loves winning! So, Ruby is a worthy favourite? With the pick of another powerful Willie Mullins string and no AP McCoy to worry about we certainly think so!

Barry Geraghty, With AP McCoy retired Geraghty picked up the spare job with top NH owner JP McManus and will have the pick of his horses over the four days. He’ll also be snapped up by other top yards and rates one of the main threats to Walsh.

Of the rest, top Irish jockey Bryan Cooper, who will ride most of the Giggintown Stud horses after taking over as their number one jockey from Davy Russell, is interesting and the other name worth a mention is Sam Twiston-Davies – he’s attached as number one jockey to the Paul Nicholls yard, so that will, of course, stand him in good order.

Finally, the last thing to note when it comes to this market is not to forget that second, third and even fourth-placed finishes can help land a jockey this prize. In the event of a tie (winners) the number of seconds, and then thirds will be taken into account!

In 2018, Davy Russell and Jack Kennedy both finished as top jockeys with four wins each. Ruby Walsh was the biggest favourite since he has won 5 times in a row, but he suffered a broken leg on day two, and he didn’t get to the end of the Festival. Could we expect his big comeback this year?

Recent Cheltenham Festival ‘Top Jockey’ Hall Of Fame

  • 2018: Davy Russell (4) and Jack Kennedy (4)
  • 2017: Ruby Walsh (4)
  • 2016: Ruby Walsh (7)
  • 2015: Ruby Walsh (4)
  • 2014: Ruby Walsh (3)
  • 2013: Ruby Walsh (4)
  • 2012: Barry Geraghty (5)
  • 2011: Ruby Walsh (5)
  • 2010: Ruby Walsh (3)
  • 2009: Ruby Walsh (7)
  • 2008: Ruby Walsh (3)
  • 2007: Robert Thornton (4)
  • 2006: Ruby Walsh (3)
  • 2005: Graham Lee (3)
  • 2004: Ruby Walsh (3)
  • 2003: Barry Geraghty (5)
  • 2002: Richard Johnson (2)
  • 2001: Meeting Abandoned
  • 2000: Mick Fitzgerald (4)
  • 1999: Mick Fitzgerald (4)
  • 1998: Tony McCoy (5)
  • 1997: Tony McCoy (3)