With just a few weeks before the Cheltenham Festival roars into life on March 13, preparations are at an advanced stage across all the stables taking part in this glorious competition. Traditionally, the Cheltenham Festival has been an all UK and Ireland affair, but recently more stables across the European continent and even others abroad, are competitively participating at the Festival. At the forefront of it all are none other than the jockeys guide their horses to impressive wins.
As we draw closer to the competition, it’s important to know who will be at the Festival and who is likely to continue success or break the duck.
So let's look at five jockeys amongst the favourites to record great wins at the Cheltenham Festival 2018
The name Ruby Walsh seems to be a household name at the Cheltenham Festival. Since he made his first bow at the event, Walsh managed to score a total of 32 wins to date, making him the most successful Cheltenham jockey. Apart from this, he's been a consistent winner in six of the past eight Festival events. This impressive run includes a rare double where he won both the World Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle in 2011; a feat only achieved by John Francombe in 1981. Walsh also dominated the Champion Jockey title with 11 titles, winning the last five in succession. He will head to the Cheltenham Festival under the Willie Mullins stable and will try to put his recent injury worries aside as he tries to maintain his dominance
Following in Walsh’s footsteps is another fellow Irishman, Davy Russell, who has ridden 18 horses at the Cheltenham Festival. Making his festival debut in 2006, Russell is a bit of a late bloomer as most of his wins came in the past six years including his best achievement in 2014, when he managed to walk away with three wins. As a master of the field handicaps, Russell hopes that the two horses Presenting Percy and Mall Dini, will propel him to glory in Cheltenham 2018.
With just one Cheltenham win, Skelton does not boast a stellar resume in terms of the festival itself. However, not many can rival his exploits of the past year in which he won over 50 races! Harry with his brother and teammate, Dan Skelton, will bring along the Knight in Dubai, Long House Hall, Ch’tibello, Mohayad, Momella, and North Hill Harvey. All suspect that Harry will favour his chances of adding another Cheltenham win to the County Hurdle of the 2015/16 season.
Daughter to Jimmy Frost, Bryony goes into the Cheltenham Festival on the back of a very good 2017 in which she won 10 notable big races. Six of these 10 wins were with Black Corton from Paul Nicholls’ stable. She won the Foxhunters Chase at the festival last year before going on to win a Grade 1 at Kempton on Boxing Day. Adding another feather to her cap saw her winning the Classic Chase at Warwick. Bryony will feature in four events at this year’s event including the National Hunt Chase, Foxhunters Chase, Martin Pipe Hurdle, and the RSA Chase.
The 19-year-old has already shown glimpses of brilliance and is expected to be competitive at the festival, probably bag a big win or two. At such tender age, Harry has already won several Grade 2 and 3 races and has ridden two Grade One winners and won the Tingle Creek Chase on Politologue. He also finished as a runner-up at the Betfair Chase on Cue Card. In Colin Tizzard, Harry has a great trainer who has the potential to push him to glory.