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The Cheltenham leading jockeys prize tends to be a closer fought battle than the trainers title, however Paul Townend is hot favourite to land the spoils. We take a look at the main contenders for this year’s leading prize.
Former jockey Ruby Walsh was a Cheltenham specialist, winning the prize a staggering 11 times. More recently the title has been landed by a variety of jockeys from Paul Townend to Rachael Blackmore and Nico De Boinville.
All prices were correct at the time of writing this article.
Paul Townend: current odds 1-4 Paddy Power
Paul Townend took the leading jockeys prize in 2022 and 2020 and will attempt to follow up this year, it looks likely he will achieve this feat and he priced up accordingly.
As number one jockey to Irish Champion trainer Willie Mullins, Townend will have the pick of the Mullins contenders which makes him odds-on favourite to land this trophy.
Townend will ride Galopin Des Champs in the Gold Cup, State Man in the Champion Hurdle, Energumene in the Champion Chase, along with the big Mullins hopes throughout the week.
Nico De Boinville: current odds 5-1 Paddy Power
Nico De Boinville took the Cheltenham leading jockeys prize in 2019 and is second favourite with Paddy Power to win the 2023 title.
As Nicky Henderson’s stable number one jockey, De Boinville has built up a strong rapport with Champion Hurdle favourite Constitution Hill, this year’s odds-on favourite for Tuesday’s feature race.
Festival favourites Luccia and Marie’s Rock will also be ridden by Nico De Boinville.
Davy Russell: current odds 8-1 Paddy Power
Davy Russell made a shock return to the saddle following retirement in January 2023 when Gordon Elliott’s stable jockey Jack Kennedy was sidelined with a broken leg. It would be a remarkable achievement if Russell came back to win the Cheltenham leading jockeys prize this year.
Russell took the crown in 2018 and there are fewer jockeys who ride Cheltenham as well as him. Tactically astute and a master of getting the best out of horses on the big days, it may well happen as he will take the ride on Gordon Elliott’s big hopes if Kennedy is still sidelined.
Rachael Blackmore: current odds 10-1 Paddy Power
Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham leading jockeys award in 2021 and she is among the main contenders for the 2023 prize.
In 2021, Blackmore celebrated a total of six wins and last year she recorded three wins, finishing third in the table, the pinnacle being her win aboard A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup. The history-making jockey will ride Henry de Bromhead’s main protagonists - she cannot be ruled out of this.
Patrick Mullins: current odds 25-1 Paddy Power
Son of Willie Mullins, amateur jockey Patrick Mullins finished second in the leading jockeys table in 2022 and once again is likely to be up there with plenty of fierce firepower behind him.
Mullins is likely to have some exciting rides this year and is a force to be reckoned with in the amateur riders races.