Without the talented, adept and quite brilliant horse trainers of The Festival, the quality, skill and power of the horses participating wouldn’t provide a spectacle anywhere near as tremendous as they do year after year.
It’s the trainers we owe thanks to, as without them, horse racing would not be anything near what it is today. In fact, there quite simply wouldn’t be a Cheltenham Festival.
Here’s to Festival trainer appreciation and the celebration of their achievements.
The Festival 2021 Trainers
Within the lists of trainers for The Cheltenham Festival there some well-known names and some very accomplished horse trainers. Here are the 6 most notable and expectedly most prominent horse trainers of The 2021 Festival:
Willie Mullins has been training horses since 1988 having previously assisted his father in the field as well as Jim Bolger.
He has overseen at least 3,000 winning horses throughout his horse training career, an immense achievement that has earned him utmost respect within the industry and an exceptional reputation.
In the last 5 seasons of Irish Jump Racing, Willie Mullins has trained horses to 896 wins with a 27% win ratio and placed in 804, earning €24,101,845 in prize money.
Nicky Henderson LVO OBE has had an extremely successful horse training career, having been The British jump racing Champion Trainer six times so far.
He has guided horses to a total of 62 wins in The Cheltenham Festival, including two Gold Cup wins with Long Run in 2011 and Bobs Worth in 2013. Nicky has also won The Champion Hurdle a record 8 times between 1985 and 2020 including three consecutive wins with See You Then in ‘85, ‘86 and ‘87.
In the last 5 seasons of British Jump Racing, Nicky Henderson has trained horses to 624 wins with a 25% win ratio and placed in 547, earning £12,568,223 in prize money.
Gordon Elliott has been involved with horse racing since he was a teenager, working in his spare time around school hours. A finished his riding career at the end of 2005, making horse training his new purpose.
Fast forward to 2017 and Gordon Elliott has trained 1,000 winners before a year later winning his most valuable race The BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. Gordon’s biggest recent achievement is training the popular Tiger Roll to success in the 2018 Aintree Grand National.
In the last 5 seasons of Irish Jump Racing, Gordon Elliot has trained horses to 875 wins with a 15% win ratio and placed in 1343, earning €20,203,646 in prize money.
Henry De Bromhead
Henry De Bromhead has been in the business since 2000 after taking the lead at the family yard, Knockeen – a yard that has historically been very successful in National Hunt horse racing.
Henry attained his first Grade 1 victory in 2008, winning the AIG Irish Champion Hurdle with ‘Sizing Europe’, who went on to win 22 of his 45 races.
In the last 5 seasons of Irish Jump Racing, Henry De Bromhead has trained horses to 384 wins with a 15% win ratio and placed in 538, earning €8,612,878 in prize money.
Paul Nicholls OBE has been training horses at Ditcheat yard since 1991 and has since become 11 times National Hunt Champion Trainer.
Paul’s stats are amongst the best in the business, with 3,253 British, Irish and French winners including 128 Grade 1 victories. This National Hunt season alone, Paul has guided horses to 123 wins, earning £1,624,779 in prize money.
In the last 5 seasons of British Jump Racing, Paul Nicholls has trained horses to 652 wins with a 24% win ratio and placed in 569, earning £12,316,009 in prize money.
Dan Skelton has worked with horses his entire life, including as an assistant to the successful Paul Nicholls gaining 9 years of experience and expertise.
In the 2018-19 season alone, The Skelton Team turned over 200 winners including their first Grade 1 success with Roksana in The olbg.com Mares’ Hurdle at The Cheltenham Festival.
In the last 5 seasons of British Jump Racing, Dan Skelton has trained horses to 692 wins with a 19% win ratio and placed in 861, earning £7,850,121 in prize money.
Harry Fry, based at his yard in Higher Crockermoor, has trained 350 winners over just a handful of years since he received his trainer’s license in 2012. These winners included Grade 1 race successes in The Cheltenham Festival as well as Aintree and Punchestown.
Prior to receiving his own training license, the license held at his former yard and stables in Seaborough was in the name of Paul Nicholls, who Harry had trained under previously.
In the last 5 seasons of British Jump Racing, Harry Fry has trained horses to 221 wins with a 20% win ratio and placed in 232, earning £3,221,801 in prize money.
Here’s a list of the winning trainers and their horses for each of the featured races at The Cheltenham Festival 2020:
The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
This Grade 1, Class 1 hurdle race was won by 2/1 Epatante at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Epatante was trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by jockey Barry Geraghty on the day, taking home £264,610.00 in prize money.
The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
This Grade 1, Class 1 Steeple Chase was won by 6/1 Politologue at The Cheltenham Festival 2020.
Politologue was trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by jockey Harry Skelton last Ladies Day, receiving £225,080 in prize money.
The Ryanair Chase (The Festival Trophy)
This Grade 1, Class 1 Steeple Chase was won by French 2/1 race favourite Min at The Festival last year.
Min was trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by jockey Paul Townend on the first featured race of Day Three last year, pocketing £196,945 in prize money for the team.
The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle
The second featured race of Day Three was won by huge 50/1 outsider Lisnagar Oscar at The Cheltenham Festival last year.
Lisnagar Oscar was trained by Miss Rebecca Curtis and ridden by jockey Adam Wedge on the day, taking home £182,878 in price money.
The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
The main event and final featured race of The Cheltenham Festival 2020 was won by 10/3 Al Boum Photo who narrowly beat 5/1 Santini by a neck.
Al Boum Photo was trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by jockey Paul Townend on this Gold Cup Friday, receiving £351,688 in prize money.