With the 2016 Cheltenham festival about to start we look at the form and chances of the two main Jockeys Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty. Both have been prolific at Cheltenham over the years and its looking like that run will continue in 2016. Especially after the retirement of Tony Mccoy. In the bookies eyes Ruby Walsh is the front runner at less than 1/2 with all bookies, Geraghty is the second favourite. Check out our guide to how the two jockeys have earned their exceptional Cheltenham reputations.
Cheltenham Jockeys – Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh now has a total of 45 winners at the Cheltenham festival and is looking to get his next one in the first race of the 2016 festival, the Supreme novices hurdle. Is is expected he’ll ride Min, the bookies favourite for the race.
Walsh has won seven of the last eight top jockey awards at the festival and his list of winning horses at the event stems back to his first win in 1998 on Alexander Banquet.
It took four more years for his next win (Mildmay of Flete 2002) and there’s been a long string of winners since then. Almost all of his wins have come from riding for top trainers Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins. His best record is on Quevega where he won the mares hurdle 6 years running for Mullins. With Quevega retired its expected Walsh will ride the air to her throne in Annie Power in the Champion Hurdle.
Walsh has won the much coveted gold cup twice, both times on Kauto Star (2007 & 2009). Walsh has ridden a number of top horses along side Kauto Star, including big bucks, Hurricane fly and Denman.
Theres a good chance of Walsh riding Annie Power, Min and Un De Sceaux amongst others, throughout the festival. With this sort of record any horse worth it’s salt stands a chance with him on their back!
Walsh is outright favourite to pick up the prestigious top jockey title this year at 1/3, which isn’t surprising given the arsenal of horses he is expected to ride.
You can follow his thoughts on racing and see his occasional blogs and videos for Paddy Power by following him on twitter @ruby_walsh
Cheltenham Jockeys – Barry Geraghty
Barry Geraghty has bagged 33 Cheltenham festival wins during his career and he will certainly be looking to build on that through 2016. Moscow flyer gave him 3 festival wins early on in his career. More recently, he has enjoyed wins with More Of That, Sprinter Sacre, The Druid’s Nephew and Bob’s Worth.
Geraghty’s best years in the festival by far has to be 2003 and 2012, where he ran five winners in both years. Enough to also earn him Top Jockey for those festivals. Only Ruby Walsh has won more races in one festival, who managed 7 wins in 2009.
Geraghty is second favourite for the Top jockey title in 2016, out at 7/1. It will take something rather miraculous to out-trump Mr Walsh here, but if anyone has the outside chance of doing so, I’d say it was Barry Geraghty.
There are many other jockeys who are eagerly waiting their opportunity to shine, including ex-cyclist Victoria Pendleton who has been confirmed as riding in the Foxhunter’s Chase on Pacha Du Polder. She has just won her first amateur race last week and is now ready to step it up here. Good luck to her!
Other jockeys worth a mention this year who will be looking to hit the headlines include;
Nico de Boinville