beautiful brown horse running in the paddock at sunset

Welsh jockey Sean Bowen is bidding to win a first National Hunt Jockeys’ Championship this season, and he remains the one to catch in standings heading into the final stages of the campaign.

Bowen was the first jockey to ride 100 winners in the 2023/24 season, and despite picking up an injury on Boxing Day that ruled him out of action in January, he still has a healthy lead.

Grade One Success Earlier in the Season

One of Bowen’s highlights of the season so far came in the Grade One Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Sandown in early December. He won that prestigious 2m hurdles contest on board Not So Sleepy.

The Grade One-winning hurdler will feature in the Champion Hurdle as his next assignment where he is 66/1 to prevail. If you are considering Bowen’s runner for the Championship race, look at the leading free bets Cheltenham this year. If you are a new customer with bet365, when you bet £10 on horse racing, you receive £30 free bets.

Bowen has yet to ride a winner at the Cheltenham Festival but that was one of his goals for the campaign before the season began. Victory in the Day One feature would be the perfect start to the week for the Welshman.

Harry Cobden Chasing Welsh Rider

The biggest challenger to Bowen in the Jockeys’ Championship this season is expected to be Harry Cobden, the man in second place in the standings. Since Bowen has been out injured, Cobden has closed the gap behind his rival.

Cobden is considered one of the leading jockeys in the sport. He has a partnership with Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls which means he rides some very good horses, particularly at the major meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National. Cobden operated at a 22% strike rate throughout January, picking up more winners in the month than any of his rivals.

With over £2 million in earnings this season, Cobden is on course for his best campaign since he turned professional. Big race wins include the November Gold Cup at Cheltenham and the Ascot Hurdle.

Hughes’ Reign Set to Come to an End

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Brian Hughes has been the Champion Jockey in three of the last four seasons, but barring a remarkable turnaround in the 2023/24 campaign, he looks set to lose his grip on the trophy this year.

Hughes, a jockey renowned for having success in the north of England throughout his career, won the title for the first time in 2020. He regained his crown in 2022 after riding over 200 winners across the campaign.

The Northern Irishman joined a small group of elite jockeys to win a third title in 2023. He became only the fourth rider in the last 30 years to complete a hat-trick of Jockeys’ Championships, along with Richard Dunwoody, Tony McCoy, and Richard Johnson.

The 2023/24 National Hunt season will come to an end on the 27th of April at Sandown. The Jockeys’ title will be handed to the winner at the end of that meeting.