Who will be the top jockey at Cheltenham Festival 2022?

Who will be the top jockey at Cheltenham Festival 2022?

Every jockey that competes at Cheltenham Festival will be eyeing the biggest prize of them all, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Only one jockey can win the prestigious race. The question all the riders at Cheltenham Festival will be asking is, is it more important to win one meet or several across the week?

Paul Townend, Rachael Blackmore, Nico de Boinville, Davy Russell and Jack Kennedy will all be out to finish the festival with the most wins under their respective belts to claim the coveted top jockey prize. Although A Plus Tard is the favorite for the Gold Cup in the Cheltenham racing odds at +333 with Blackmore in the saddle, the jockey is not widely backed to finish as the top performer of the week for a second-straight year.

Townend is the leading contender in the top jockey odds for Cheltenham at -150, given his relationship with Willie Mullins and the stable of potent horses that he has at his disposal. A closer look at Townend’s potential rides confirms he has all the tools to make a charge for the crown after mustering only three victories in 2021. The sporting world will be expectant of the Irishman, although it promises to be an enthralling week of action.

Can Townend Live Up To Expectations?

Townend will begin with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and he has a good chance to get off the mark with Sir Gerhard, although there will be fierce competition from Constitution Hill and Jonbon out of Nicky Henderson’s yard. Blue Lord faces a battle in the Arkle Chase against Edwardstone, where Townend will require all of his nous. He will need an even better performance to topple Honeysuckle and Blackmore in the Champion Hurdle in the final leading race of day one.

Townend faces a choice in the Mares’ Hurdle, although he could lose his preference and be faced with an outsider in the form of Echoes In Rain behind Concertista and Stormy Ireland. Galopin Des Champs appears to be a dominant horse and should hand Townend a win on day two in the Browns Advisory Novices’ Chase. He may need the confidence boost ahead of a showdown against Shishkin and De Boinville in the Champion Chase, who bested him in the Clarence House Chase.

Energumene is a strong competitor, but it will take a flawless effort to overcome Henderson’s charge. If he can secure the ride, Facile Vega could be a lock in the Champion Bumper, but Danny Mullins may take the lead from his senior partner. Allaho and Klassical Dream present solid opportunities in the Ryanair Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle respectively on day three. The final day is all about Al Boum Photo and the Gold Cup.

Townend and the French thoroughbred have forged an incredible relationship due to their success in the event, winning back-to-back titles in 2019 and 2020 before finishing third in 2021. It will be up to the Irishman to squeeze every ounce out of Al Boum Photo to win a third crown and potentially edge out Blackmore for the top jockey crown.

Elimay and Vauban are also favorites in the Mares’ Chase and Triumph Hurdle, which may be required for Townend in a tense battle for the honor.

Townend may be the leading contender, but there are few true locks for the Irishman other than Galopin Des Champs. He will have to work extremely hard amid the talent of his surrounding competitors to prevent him from losing out on the award for a second season in a row.