The jockeys that ride the elite horses of Cheltenham Festival are amongst the best in the business. It’s a dangerous job – but they do it extremely well.
Jockeys are extremely fit and only weigh on average between 10 and 12 stone. They are paid a fee by the horse owner and usually take a cut of any winnings, and in exchange, they put their bodies on the line and ride their given horses intelligently to bring out the best of the horse for the greatest chance of victory.
The Festival 2021 Jockeys
Here are the jockeys, in no particular order, that are expected to participate in The Cheltenham Festival 2021 after great performances in last year’s edition of The Festival:
Nico De Boinville
31-year-old Nico De Boinville is one of the most impressive jockeys in Cheltenham Festival’s recent years after a series of victories on horses of all types of odds.
Often recruited by Nicky Henderson for the most prestigious of races, Nico has won a handful of Grade 1 Cheltenham Festival races in recent years, including:
- The Cheltenham Gold Cup – 2015 – Coneygree – 7/1 starting price
- The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 2016 – Altior – 4/1 starting price
- The Queen Mother Champion Chase – 2016 – Sprinter Sacre – 5/1 starting price
- The Arkle Challenge Trophy – 2017 – Altior – 1/4 starting price
- The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase – 2017 – Might Bite – 7/2 starting price
- The Queen Mother Champion Chase – 2018 – Altior – 1/1 (Evs) starting price
- The Queen Mother Champion Chase – 2019 – Altior – 4/11 starting price
- The Triumph Hurdle – 2019 – Pentland Hills – 20/1 starting price
- The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 2020 – Shishkin – 6/1 starting price
32-year-old Aidan Coleman has quite the portfolio when it comes to professional jump racing. After racing for some of the top horse trainers in the industry including Nicky Henderson, Venetia Williams and Jonjo O’Neill, Aidan now has over 1,000 wins under his belt.
In the last 5 seasons of British Jump Racing, Aidan Coleman has 439 wins with a 17% win ratio. Combined with legions of placement finishes, he has total earnings of £5,409,374. The most prestigious Cheltenham wins of his career are:
- The Stayers’ Hurdle Race – 2019 – Paisley Park – 11/8 starting price
- The Arkle Challenge Trophy – 2020 – Put The Kettle On – 16/1 starting price
Rachael Blackmore is an Irish jockey that has seen a lot of National Hunt race success in recent years to the point that she finished runner-up Irish Jump Racing Champion Jockey to Paul Townend in the 2018/19 season.
Rachael has 11 major wins across Great British and Irish racing since 2019, including three Cheltenham Festival victories and one huge upset:
- The Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase – 2019 – A Plus Tard – 5/1 starting price
- The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – 2019 – Minella Indo – 50/1 starting price
- The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle – 2020 – Honeysuckle – 9/4 starting price
Harry Skelton, brother of successful horse trainer Dan Skelton, has recorded over 400 professional wins as an elite jockey including victories in a number of graded races. Harry is also the youngest jockey to record a victory in The Irish Grand National with his win on ‘Niche Market’ in 2009.
In the past 5 seasons, Harry Skelton has recorded 595 wins out of 2,763 rides with a race win ratio of 22%, raking in £7,024,400 in total earnings. Harry’s most recent Cheltenham Festival victories are:
- The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase – 2020 – Politologue – 6/1 starting price
- The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle – 2019 – Roksana – 10/1 starting price
- The Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle – 2019 – Ch’tibello – 12/1 starting price
Paul Townend is a professional National Hunt jockey who was born in Midleton, Cork, who primarily rides for the notorious Willie Mullins.
He has been Irish jump racing Champion Jockey three times in his career, winning this prestigious title in 2011, 2019 and 2020.
Since the retirement of the very accomplished Ruby Walsh, Paul Townend has been the number one go-to jockey of the Mullins yard. Paul has won 70 major races in his career, including 12 at The Cheltenham Festival:
- The Cheltenham Gold Cup – 2019 – Al Boum Photo – 12/1 starting price
- The Cheltenham Gold Cup – 2020 – Al Boum Photo – 100/30 starting price
- The Arkle Challenge Trophy – 2019 – Duc des Genievres – 5/1 starting price
- The Champion Bumper – 2020 – Ferny Hollow – 11/1 starting price
- David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle – 2015 – Glens Melody – 6/1 starting price
- Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – 2017 – Penhill – 16/1 starting price
- Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – 2020 – Monkfish – 5/1 starting price
- The Stayers’ Hurdle – 2018 – Penhill – 12/1 starting price
- The Triumph Hurdle – 2020 – Burning Victory – 12/1 starting price
- Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase – 2015 – Irish Cavalier – 11/1 starting price
- Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle – 2011 – What A Charm – 9/1 starting price
- The County Handicap Hurdle – 2015 – Wicklow Brave – 25/1 starting price
- The County Handicap Hurdle – 2017 – Arctic Fire – 20/1 starting price
41-year-old Davy Russell has had a simply incredible jockey career. Not only has he been Irish Jump Racing Champion Jockey three times, but he’s also triumphed in The Grand National twice, The Cheltenham Gold Cup and The Grand Steeple-chase de Paris.
Perched alongside the likes of Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty in terms of accomplishments, Davy Russell has a massive win tally at Cheltenham Festival. Here’s his impressive list of Cheltenham victories dating as far back as 2006:
- 2006 – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase riding Native Jack
- 2007 – Festival Trophy Handicap Chase riding Joes Edge
- 2008 – Coral Cup riding Naiad Du Missleot, Grand Annual Chase riding Tiger Cry
- 2009 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle riding Weapons Amnesty
- 2010 – RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase riding Weapons Amnesty
- 2011 – Coral Cup riding Carlito Brigante, Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle riding First Lieutenant
- 2012 – JLT Novices’ Chase riding Sir Des Champs
- 2013 – RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase riding Lord Windermere
- 2014 – Triumph Hurdle riding Tiger Roll, Cheltenham Gold Cup riding Lord Windermere, Grand Annual Chase riding Savello
- 2015 – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase riding Rivage D’Or, Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle riding Windsor Park
- 2016 – Coral Cup riding Diamond King, Pertemps Final riding Mall Dini
- 2017 – Pertemps Final riding Presenting Percy
- 2018 – RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase riding Presenting Percy, Ryanair Chase riding Balko Des Flos, Pertemps Final riding Delta Work, Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate riding The Storyteller
- 2020 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle riding Envoi Allen, Marsh Novices’ Chase riding Samcro, Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase riding Chosen Mate