Ruby has won 10 of the past 12 jockey championships at Prestbury Park and although the Willie Mullins team doesn’t look as strong this season, Ruby is still favourite to win the top jockey award. As everyone knows trying to predict which races Willie will aim his horses at, is like trying to predict the lotto numbers.
That being said some of the horses likely to be at Ruby’s disposal in descending order of chances are:
- Benie Des Dieux Mares Hurdle
- Laurina Champion Hurdle
- Min Ryanair Chase
- Real Steel JLT Novices’ Chase
- Faugheen Stayers’ Hurdle
- Allaho Albert Bartlett
- Kemboy Gold Cup
- Blue Sari Champion Bumper
Of the above, Benie Des Diex looks the banker. We haven’t seen her since the Punchestown festival last season but Willie has shown time and time again that he can have them ready without a prep run. She will be in may accumulators along with Tiger Roll. Laurina has been a real winning machine but has to raise her game again if she lines up in the champion. Kemboy is likely contender in the Gold Cup and Real Steel should go very well in the JLT.
As a rule, four winners is enough to claim the top jockey title and with rides like these, it’s easy to see why Ruby tops the market.
Barry has one of the best jumps in jumps racing, as he’s the retained rider for J P McManus. That being said, so was the great AP McCoy and he only claimed the accolade on two occasions. Barry rode 5 winners on his way to being top jockey. It would seem he has a great chance of adding to his tally this year.
- Buveur D’air Champion Hurdle
- Defi Du Seuil JLT Chase
- Champ Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
- Off You Go Coral Cup
- Epatante Mares Novices’ Hurdle
- Sir Eric Triumph Hurdle
- Birchdale Albert Bartlett Hurdle
Buveur D’air looks the English banker of the week and I’d imagine Barry feels the same. He’s got a really nice looking book of rides with Sir Eric looking the best juvenile so far this season and runs in the Triumph. Defi Du Seuil has looked good over fences in his most recent starts, while Off You Go was impressive when last seen.
Davy rode 4 winners to take the top jockey title last year. It’s a little tricky when it comes to knowing the rides Davy Russell will have during the week. However, one thing for certain is Presenting Percy will be the horse he’s most looking forward to riding. We have had to wait for much of the season to see Pat Kelly’s charge but given his training prowess, Presenting Percy must go close in the Gold Cup.
The Cork-native is likely to pick up a lot of the Gigginstown spares.along with outside rides for Gordon and Henry De Bromhead to name but a few.
Jack was already a big name in Ireland coming into Cheltenham in 2017 but he’s ultra-cool ride on tricky Labaik in the festival opener, made him an instant superstar. Jack Kennedy has the full backing of the Gigginstown Huse and Gordon Elliott operation behind him. This means he has to be a contender for the leading jockey title.
- Apple’s Jade Champion Hurdle
- Battleoverdoyen Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
- Envoi Allen Champion Bumper
- Delta Work RSA Chase
- Samcro Stayers’ Hurdle
- Commander Of Fleet Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
Apple’s Jade has gone from strength to strength this season and if turning up in the same form as when last seen then she’ll give Buveur D’air plenty to think about. There are plenty of questions surrounding Samcro but if he reproduced last seasons form then he’d go close in an open looking Stayers’ Hurdle.
Nico De Boinville
Nico rose to prominence when partnering the recently retired Coneygree to glory in the Gold Cup back in 2015. Since then he has had the backing of the Nicky Henderson yard and in particular the star chaser Altior. There is no doubt he’ll be the horse Nico is most looking forward to partnering but that not the only quality animal at his disposal.
- Altior Champion Chase
- Might Bite Gold Cup
- Mister Fisher Supreme Hurdle
- Verdana Blue Champion Hurdle
- Santini RSA Chase
- River Wylde Brown Advisory Plate
- Angel’s Breath Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Obviously Altior is the pick of his rides but Might Bite must go close again in the Gold Cup. Verdana Blue beat Champion Hurdle favourite Buveur D’air already this season and will be looking to uphold the form. Of the remainder, Santini looks to hold leading claims in the RSA.
Harry Cobden is one of racings hottest commodities at present, being in high demand from many leading trainers. He’s top jockey to Paul Nicholls and has the backing of the Colin Tizzard yard when available. Cryname is the highest rated horse currently in training and must take all the beating in the Ryanair Chase. Considering the current form of the Ditcheat team, he’s got an outside chance of being crowned top jockey.
- Cyrname Ryanair Chase
- Give Me A Copper Ultima Chase
- Topofthegame RSA Chase
- Friend Or Foe Fred Winter
- Getaway Trump Coral Cup
- Posh Trish Mares Novices’ Hurdle
- Quel Destin Triumph Hurdle
- Clan Des Obeaux Gold Cup
- Southfield Stone County Hurdle
As can be seen by the above list Cobden has an abundance of good rides for the week and with a bit of luck, he could have a festival to remember.
Fehily has had a torrid time with injuries of late and everyone will be hoping the ever-popular rider can bag a winner. He doesn’t quite have the firepower he once had but he’s a quality rider and will garb any chances with both hands.
This isn’t a big list but he’ll be one of the “go-to” jockeys for any spare rides.I don’t think he’ll challenge for the top jockey accolade but a win at cheltenham would be very welcome.