The jockeys to look out for at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival

We’re just a few sleeps away from the Cheltenham Festival and the hype is already starting to build! Anticipation is through the roof as thousands are welcomed back to Prestbury Park for the first time since 2020, with last year’s Festival being ran behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The best horses and trainers from all across the United Kingdom and Ireland will be competing in a plethora of closely contested races, but they’re nothing without their star jockeys. Let’s take a look at three to keep an eye on ahead of this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Rachael Blackmore

Having won the BBC Sports Personality’s World Sport Star of the Year, Rachael Blackmore is riding the crest of a wave, much like her last four days at Cheltenham. Having picked up the Grand National back in April, becoming the first female rider to do so, she will enter Cheltenham with plenty of pressure to replicate her success. Having picked up six winners last year, her best chance comes in the Champion Hurdle with Honeysuckle. The mare is unbeaten in all 14 of her races throughout her career and Henry de Bromhead will be keen to get another win under his belt in a bid for the Leading Trainer award.

Bryony Frost

The winner of the 2020 renewal of the King George VI Chase with Frodon, Bryony Frost endured a difficult time in 2021, but after her bullying and harassment complaint against fellow jockey Robbie Dunne was settled via an independent panel, she’ll be back to cause a stir at next week’s Festival.

Frost is clearly excited to get back into action and while she is unsure of Frodon’s Cheltenham prospects, did confirm one entry. “Just a week to go now and plenty of things are still up in the air, including whether or not Frodon gets to take his chance in the Ultima Handicap Chase on the opening day,” Frost told Betfair.

“But one ride I can confirm I’m back on now is Martello Sky in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle the same afternoon, and she’s one I’m really excited about.”

Paul Townend

Of all the jockeys capable of beating Blackmore and Honeysuckle come Cheltenham, Paul Townend stands the best chance. There was a time he was considered one of the best jockeys around and was always a shoo-in for the Top Jockey award. However, the Irish have dominated the Festival in recent years and Townend will be keen to change that, entering the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Appreciate it having an outside shot according to the Cheltenham 2022 betting. Townend is quietly confident ahead of this one.

“He seems fine. I was as disappointed as anyone I wasn’t getting the leg across him last weekend (in the Irish Champion Hurdle), I’m itching to get on his back,” Townend said.

“He (Appreciate It) is the horse with all the potential. We don’t know how good Honeysuckle is, where is the end of her talent but I’m looking forward to having a go at her with something with the potential that Appreciate It shows.”