Cheltenham Festival 2018: Top Jockey Betting
Nick Murphy | 14 March 2018
Ruby Walsh is the odds-on favourite
Ruby Walsh has claimed the top jockey title in each of the last five Cheltenham Festivals. He’s come away from the meeting as leading jockey a total of 11 times since 1998.
The Irishman has enjoyed a stellar partnership with trainer Willie Mullins down the years. And the pair look as though they’ll combine for a number of winners at the 2018 meeting.
On the opening day, he’s expected to take up rides aboard favourites Getabird and Footpad. He also has chances with Faugheen in the Champion Hurdle and Benie Des Dieux or Let’s Dance in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle.
Later on in the week he also has highly-fancied pair Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair Chase and Djakadam in the Gold Cup. With a number of other rides booked in-between, it should come as no surprise that Walsh is odds-on favourite at 8/11 to retain his top jockey crown for another year.
While a number of his rides are odds-on favourites, nothing is a given at Cheltenham. Everyone remembers Walsh taking a tumble on Annie Power in the 2015 edition of the Mares’ Hurdle. He’s not had ideal preparation in the build-up to the Festival either. A fall at Punchestown in November aboard Let’s Dance has kept the 38-year-old out of action for nigh-on four months.
His nearest challenger in the market is one of racing’s brightest young jockeys – Jack Kennedy. The 18-year-old is second-favourite at 9/2 to walk away with the top jockey crown. He has the cream of the crop from the Gigginstown Stud to choose from. And with Gordon Elliott usually a major player at the Festival, he should fancy his chances.
He’s expected to take up rides on Apple’s Jade (Mares’ Hurdle), Dounikos (National Hunt Challenge Cup), Samcro (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle), Jury Duty and Farclas (Triumph Hurdle) among others.
Behind him is Barry Geraghty. The 38-year-old missed last year’s Festival after a fall at Kempton and will be raring to go at Cheltenham for the first time since 2016. He’s twice finished leading jockey at the meeting (2012 & 2013) and is second on the all-time list, behind that man Walsh.
Geraghty will fancy his chances on Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle and Apple’s Shakira in the Triumph Hurdle. But further successes could come via Yanworth in the Stayers’ Hurdle, as well as Movewiththetimes, Modus and Didtheyleaveuoutto for JP McManus. It’s 13/2 that he takes home the top jockey crown.
Elsewhere, Davy Russell will be hoping to transfer his success in Ireland over to the Prestbury Park course. The Irishman has booted home over 100 winners on the Emerald Isle over the last 12 months. He’s booked for a number of handy chances at Cheltenham, including Presenting Percy, De Plotting Shed and Mick Jack. You can back him at 7/1 to come out on top.
Nico De Boinville and Paul Townend share a price of 16/1, while Noel Fehily rounds out the sub-30/1 contenders at 25/1. Exciting female jockey Bryony Frost is the outsider in the field at 100/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing