Ruby Walsh faces stern competition from the likes of Davy Russell and Barry Geraghty as he bids to regain his crown as top jockey at the upcoming Cheltenham Festival.
<p>Legendary Irish rider Ruby Walsh will bid to regain the top jockey crown at the Cheltenham Festival this month. He is the most successful jockey of all time at the festival after securing 32 winners over the years. Walsh was named top trainer each year from 2013 to 2017, but his spell of dominance came to an end last year when he suffered a bad injury after falling in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase. That opened the door for Davy Russell to seize his crown, but now the champion jockey wants it back and he is the favourite to reclaim it.</p><p>Walsh was first named top jockey at Cheltenham in 2004 after he rode three winners and he claimed the honour again in 2006. He then won it four times in a row from 2008 to 2011, before Barry Geraghty usurped him in 2012. Four more victories followed and Walsh has now been named the leading jockey in nine of the past 11 years. He has enjoyed an extremely fruitful partnership with <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/cheltenham-festival-trainer-profile-willie-mullins/89517/" target="_blank" title="Willie Mullins">Willie Mullins</a> in that time, and he always gets the pick of the Irish maestro’s runners.</p><p>This year will see Walsh ride the likes of Benie Des Dieux, the 6/5 (2.20) favourite with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b" target="_blank" title="William Hill">William Hill</a> in the Mares’ Hurdle, and he could also opt to pilot the likes of Laurina and Footpad. He is the 3/1 (4.00) favourite with William Hill to be named the top festival jockey and that looks like a great option. However, he faces stern competition.</p><p>Gerraghty is the 7/2 (4.50) second favourite with Bet Victor and priced at 10/3 (4.33) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=153&a=8ec6399a-9df1-4c52-b272-39e6428836a6" target="_blank" title="Betfair">Betfair</a> and <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=df66db4b-b019-4343-9fc7-6c4f20e2a356" target="_blank" title="Paddy Power">Paddy Power</a>. He will benefit from JP McManus’ exceptionally strong hand and he will enjoy trying to steer Buveur D’Air to victory in the <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/champion-hurdle-betting-preview-can-buveur-d-air-defend-his-crown/89508/" target="_blank" title="Champion Hurdle">Champion Hurdle</a>, He can choose between Dickie Diver and Birchdale in the Albert Bartlett, and Spatante looks interesting for the Mares’ Novice Hurdle.</p><p>Russell will aim to defend his crown and he has a great chance of success in the <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/cheltenham-gold-cup-betting-preview/89507/" target="_blank" title="Gold Cup">Gold Cup</a> aboard favourite Presenting Percy. He is 11/2 (6.50) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=3e56a0bf-7bdf-4fe1-b9a6-d22c7cc3dd2c" target="_blank" title="Betway">Betway</a>, while young gun Jack Kennedy secured four winners last year and could land at 6/1 (7.0) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18" target="_blank" title="Bet365">Bet365</a> this time around.</p><p>You would also be ill advised to count out Nico De Boinville, a 12/1 (13.0) shot with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=b4150791-892f-469b-9b6a-7dfc6df0fb07" target="_blank" title="Ladbrokes">Ladbrokes</a>. He is the first jockey to <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/nicky-henderson-cheltenham-festival-trainer-profile/89523/" target="_blank" title="Nicky Henderson">Nicky Henderson</a> and he should have a great festival aboard the likes of Altior, Angels Breath, Mister Finsher, Santini and Verdana Blue.</p>