Predicting how many winners the top jockeys will have at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival is now only a matter of days away, and both avid and casual fans of National Hunt Racing alike are beginning to get a bit restless as the countdown to the pinnacle event of the jumps calendar continues to shorten.

The ante-post markets have been fluctuating since the beginning of the season and they will continue to do so until the time of declarations. But it’s not just about betting on the horses, with the markets for the top jockey, leading trainer and Prestbury Cup winner also very popular with the punters.

It’s the former we are going to focus on in this article. There doesn’t appear to be much competition in the Cheltenham top jockey odds, as Paul Townend is the huge favourite to retain his crown. But anything can happen, so let’s take a look at how many winners those towards the fore of the betting could end the week on.

Paul Townend

Kicking things off with the aforementioned Townend, you are always going to have a big advantage when you are the number one jockey for a trainer with the prowess of Willie Mullins and nobody will have as good of a book of rides than the Irishman.

Townend rode five winners last March and with him set to be atop a whole host of favourites, including Facile Vega, El Fabiolo, Energumene, It’s For Me, Lossiemouth and Galopin Des Champs, he will be very close to that mark again this year. You could argue that some of those horses aren’t ‘certs’, but we’re going to go with back-to-back fives.

Nico de Boinville

While Townend might have the best book of rides overall, Nico de Boinville will be in the saddle of the one horse every jockey at Prestbury Park wishes they could mount. We are, of course, talking about the freak that is Constitution Hill.

Day one is shaping up to potentially see De Boinville shoot out of the blocks, with solid claims aboard Jonbon in the Arkle and Marie’s Rock in the Mares’ Hurdle as well as Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle.

Rides later in the week include Shishkin, who has become one of the bankers of the Festival in the Ryanair Chase, and Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle favourite Luccia. He could run Townend close with a respectable four.

Davy Russell

With Jack Kennedy confirmed to be missing the Festival due to his untimely leg break, veteran Davy Russell is going to be back riding Gordon Elliott’s first-string horses at Prestbury Park this year.

Russell’s biggest chance of the week will be in the saddle of Delta Work in the Cross Country Chase, with the Gigginstown House Stud-owned horse odds-on to retain the title he won in thrilling fashion against the legendary Tiger Roll last year.

Mighty Potter, who is three for three over fences, has a fantastic chance in the Turners Novices’ Chase, while Gerri Colombe and Teahupoo are another two worth watching in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle. We think Russell will pick up three winners.

Danny Mullins

Patrick Mullins proved last year that even riding Closutton’s second-string horses results in a fair share of the spoils, as he picked up three winners which were good for joint-second alongside Rachael Blackmore in the top jockey standings.

His cousin Danny is set to take up the mounts Townend refuses this year however, and after his exploits at the Dublin Racing Festival he will be filled with confidence heading to Prestbury Park with some big wins under his belt.

He won three Grade 1s at that Leopardstown meet and his mounts Il Etait Temps, Gentleman De Mee and Gala Marceau are worth keeping an eye out for. With his uncle sending 50+ horses across the Irish Sea, there should be ample opportunities and he could pick up a couple of wins.