Cheltenham Tips: Who Will Be Top Jockey At The 2023 Festival?

Cheltenham Tips: Who Will Be Top Jockey At The 2023 Festival?
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Cheltenham Top Jockey Tip:

There can be no doubt that the jockey firmly in the driving seat when it comes to top riding honours at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival is reigning champion Paul Townend. 

Townend, who took over as number one rider for Willie Mullins when Ruby Walsh retired in 2019, has already ridden 22 Cheltenham Festival winners - five of which earned him the top jockey award in 2022. 

The all-powerful Mullins yard is once again the dominant force in terms of number of Cheltenham Festival favourites, with Townend set to partner at least six festival favourites as things stand, including Gold Cup hotpot Galopin Des Champs. 

The reigning champ is undoubtedly the one they all have to beat again in 2023 but betting sites know that, too. He’s a very prohibitive favourite so his backers won't be getting rich. 

With that in mind, we’ve picked a value each-way alternative that would provide a much bigger return from just the place part of the wager. Let’s take a look at the key players in the latest Cheltenham odds.

Cheltenham Top Jockey Odds

Paul Townend4/7William Hill
Nico de Boinville7/1Bet365
Davy Russell10/1Boylesports
Rachael Blackmore16/1William Hill
Danny Mullins20/1Bet365
Patrick Mullins33/1Bet365
Harry Cobden33/1Boylesports

As outlined above, Paul Townend dominates this market at 4/7 with betting apps and with good reason. 

The problem for anyone hoping to get on him at bigger odds after a slow start is that he rides Facile Vega and El Fabiolo in the first two races of the meeting.  

If Townend were to get beat on both those horses, then there is a good chance that he won’t get off the mark on the opening day.  

So, for anyone that thinks Facile Vega and El Fabiolo are vulnerable, it might be worth sitting tight before getting involved with Townend. 

Nico de Boinville will surely not be very long in getting off the mark at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival because he rides the Champion Hurdle hotpot and supposed banker of the entire meeting for most, Constitution Hill.  

Nicky Henderson’s stable jockey also has a decent chance on Maries Rock in the mares’ race on the opening day.

But, there remains the possibility that she switches to the Stayers’ Hurdle and connections instead target Epatante, who is ridden by Aidan Coleman, at the Mares’ Hurdle.  

The out-of-retirement Davy Russell looks sure to ride at least one winner over the week and he is one to keep a close eye out for in the handicaps. 

The bulk of his rides will be for Gordon Elliott, who has some big bullets to fire, but Russell has ridden plenty of big-price handicap winners at the festival for other trainers. 

Rachael Blackmore became the first female rider to become top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival when she rode six winners in 2021 and she will no doubt have high hopes for a repeat victory on last year’s Gold Cup hero A Plus Tard.  

However, Henry De Bromhead doesn’t appear to have the same level of firepower this time around, especially as his stable star Honeysuckle looks up against it after her successive loss at the Dublin Racing Festival.

At bigger odds with horse racing betting sites, it is worth throwing a couple of quid each-way at 33/1 chance Harry Cobden, who is riding at the top of his game at present. 

He rides for Paul Nicholls, who tends to focus on big pots away from the Cheltenham Festival, but this year the Ditcheat handler is blessed with a very strong team of young horses.

It would be no surprise whatsoever if Nicholls and Cobden took out a couple of the novice contests this time around.  

Hermes Allen, a warm ante-post favourite for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, is their number one hope but the likes of Tahmuras (Supreme), Wrappedupinmay (Bumper), Stage Star (Turners) and Pic D’Orhy (Ryanair) all go to Prestbury Park with plenty to recommend them. 

Cobden will have plenty of chances in the handicaps and also has a big Gold Cup ride in the shape of King George winner Bravemansgame, who is a single-figure price for the final day showpiece, so he goes into the 2023 festival with enough ammunition to get on the board.  

If he could hit three or four winners, which is by no means impossible, then he would be well and truly in the hunt for a place at least in top jockey betting.