The Most Successful Cheltenham Festival Jockeys of All Time

Having been inaugurated in 1860, the Cheltenham Festival has more than 160-years of history behind it, involving hundreds of jockeys. Therefore, it’s certainly not easy to name all top jockeys that the Cheltenham has seen ride triumphantly throughout the centuries. Some of their names have even been lost unfortunately, while others were riding at a time when records were not even maintained so diligently.

It should be noted that jockeys from the early and mid-1900s do not have records that are nearly as impressive as that of their successors who started to ride at Cheltenham from the 1980s onward. With that bit of information in mind, here are some of the most successful Cheltenham Festival jockeys of all time.

Sir Anthony Peter McCoy: The Greatest National Hunt Jockey Ever

 

Sir Anthony Peter McCoy is the most successful National Hunt jockey across history, thanks to his amazing career record of winning 4,348 jump races, as well as 10 flat races. Also, McCoy completely monopolised the title of National Hunt Champion Jockey for two decades by winning it 20 times in a row from 1995-2015.

At the Cheltenham Festival, Peter McCoy won the title of Top Jockey for two consequent years in 1997 and 1998 with three and five wins respectively. Among his several wins at the Cheltenham Festival, there are two Cheltenham Gold Cups (1997, 2012), three Champion Hurdle trophies (1997, 2006, 2010) and three Ryanair Chase wins (2010, 2011, 2015) in there as well.

Peter Scudamore: Underappreciated?

Other than Ruby Walsh, Peter Scudamore is the only other jockey since the 1980s to have won Top Jockey more than twice at the Cheltenham. Times were different back then, so all three of his Top Jockey titles (1986, 1987, 1991) came from winning just two races on each of his three winning years. Nevertheless, the 8-time National Hunt Champion Jockey won 13 races at the Cheltenham Festival in total, including two Champion Hurdle trophies and one Queen Mother Champion Chase trophy.

Ruby Walsh: The Greatest Cheltenham Festival Jockey in History

Anyone who is familiar with the legendary Irish jump race jockey already knows that there is no one in the past, present, or the near future who has, or can possibly have a better record overall than Ruby Walsh at the Cheltenham Festival. Let’s check some of his many profound records at the Cheltenham Festival next to get an idea here:

  • He became the Top Jockey 11 times in total at the Cheltenham Festival: 2004, 2006, 2008-11, 2013-17.
  • Walsh rode a total of 59 winners at the Cheltenham Festival between 1998-2019.
  • Ruby Walsh is still the only rider in Cheltenham Festival’s history to have won seven races in a single year, twice (2009 and 2017)!
Cheltenham Festival
Cheltenham Racecourse

Can Any of Walsh’s Records be Broken at the Cheltenham 2022?

The best jockeys with the highest odds of winning the Top Jockey award at the Cheltenham Festival 2022 are Paul Townsend (4/5), Davy Russell (6/1), and of course, last year’s champion, Rachael Blackmore (4/1). Before you bet your money on any of them, sign up with these Skybet specials for the Cheltenham Festival 2022 first. Now, as far as the records of Ruby Walsh are concerned, only his record of winning the highest number of races in one year (7) at the Cheltenham Festival can be broken in 2022 (theoretically).

The most likely candidate to break that record is the current Top Jockey, Rachael Blackmore. She won six races last year, which is the second best in the festival’s history, behind only Walsh. For those wondering how it can be predicted that no one will have a better overall record than Walsh in the near future, note that the only active jockeys who have won Top Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival at least once are Davy Russell (2018), Nicolai de Boinville (2019), Paul Townsend (2020), and Rachael Blackmore (2021).

Even if one of them manages to pull the nigh-impossible feat of winning Top Jockey 11-times in a row, we would still have to wait for more than a decade to see that record break. Suffice to say, Ruby Walsh and most of his incredible Cheltenham records are not going to get touched, let alone be broken by any jockey in the near future.