Top Jockey Betting Odds for the Cheltenham Festival 2024

Top Jockey Betting Odds for the Cheltenham Festival 2024

The latest odds for top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival 2024.

With Ruby Walsh being the most victorious rider in the history of the Cheltenham Festival, riding 59 winners and claiming the Top Jockey award on 11 occasions during his career, the award was generously renamed in honour of the man himself, called the “Ruby Walsh Trophy.” 

History maker Rachael Blackmore became the first woman to be crowned Top Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival in 2021 when she rode six winners, but it’s Irish Champion Jump Jockey Paul Townend who is the current Top Jockey, having retained his crown 12 months ago. 

Each year, we often find ourselves trying to evaluate who could be the leading jockey (and trainer, of course) at the four-day meeting, and this year is no exception, as in this special insight piece, we take a look at three jockeys who have a decent chance of taking home the title. 

Not only that, but some relevant information and pointers for each jockey mentioned will be featured, including their Cheltenham record, most famous winners, number of Grade 1 winners, as well as their highest profile chances for the upcoming Festival. So who are the five to look out for? Let’s get started! 


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Paul Townend - 2/5 

Having taken over as the number one rider for Willie Mullins after Ruby Walsh’s retirement from the saddle in 2019, Paul Townend was instantly planted with immense pressure on his back with the hope of continuing to carry forward the dominance of the Closutton stable. 

However, he has continued to prove why he was given the role to begin with, and he remains the leading active rider at the meeting. 

Undoubtedly “Mr. Reliable” when it comes to the Cheltenham Festival, the six-time Irish Champion Jockey has won practically everything Cheltenham has to offer and has been crowned Leading Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival on three occasions. 

His most famous wins at the Cheltenham Festival include three Gold Cups, twice with Al Boum Photo and one with Galopin Des Champs, along with two Champion Chase wins aboard Energumene and a Stayers’ Hurdle win on Penhill, all of which were for Willie Mullins. 

The only race of the four elite races that has eluded him is the Champion Hurdle, and this year he will ride State Man, who was second in the race last year to Constitution Hill. While it will be difficult for the horse to reverse the form this time around, he will give it his best shot. 

Born in Cork, Paul’s association with trainer Willie Mullins has clearly been nothing short of major success, particularly at the Cheltenham Festival, and after riding five winners at the meeting last year, there’s a strong chance he will match, or even better that it this time around. 

He is likely to partner at least five favourites for his boss, including defending Gold Cup Champion Galopin Des Champs, El Fabiolo in the Champion Chase, Ballyburn in the Supreme, Lossiemouth in the Mares’ Hurdle, and Jade De Grugy in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. 

The defending champion is without a shadow of a doubt the one they all have to beat and is most likely going to be crowned Top Jockey for a fourth time next month, given the explicit star power he will ride from the Mullins stable. He is 4/11f to do so, per the latest odds at oddschecker. 

How many Cheltenham Festival winners for Paul Townend? 

Still only 33 years old, the top-class jockey has already ridden 28 Cheltenham Festival winners, including five last year, with plenty more to come.

Famous Cheltenham Festival Winners for Paul Townend: 

  • Cheltenham Gold Cup: x3: Al Boum Photo (2019, 2020), Galopin Des Champs (2023)
  • Champion Chase: x2: Energumene (2022, 2023)
  • Arkle Challenge Trophy: x2: Duc de Genievres (2019), El Fabiolo (2023)
  • Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase: x1: Monkish (2021)
  • Supreme Novices’ Hurdle: x1: Appreciate it (2021)
  • Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle: x2: Sir Gerhard (2022), Impaire Et Passe (2023)
  • Champion Bumper: x1: Ferny Hollow (2022)
  • Mares’ Hurdle: x1: Glen’s Melody (2015)
  • Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle: x2: Penhill (2017), Monkfish (2020)
  • Stayers’ Hurdle: x1: Penhill (2018)
  • Triumph Hurdle: x3: Burning Victory (2020), Vauban (2022), Lossiemouth (2023)
  • Ryanair Chase: x2: Min (2020), Allaho (2020)


Highest Profile Chances for Paul Townend in 2024: 

  • Ballyburn: Supreme Novices’ Hurdle:
  • State Man: Champion Hurdle: 
  • Lossiemouth: Mares’ Hurdle
  • El Fabiolo: Champion Chase:
  • Jade De Grugy: Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
  • Galopin Des Champs: Cheltenham Gold Cup


Mark Walsh - 12/1 

It would be fair to say that Mark Walsh doesn’t get as many quality horses to ride as Paul Townend does, but the Clane, County Kildare-born rider, who is associated with JP McManus-owned runners, has predominantly been at the forefront when it comes to riding in the famous gold and green hoops. At this year’s Cheltenham Festival, he is likely to have a batch of high-quality rides. 

His best Cheltenham Festival came in 2019 and 2022, when he rode two winners at the meeting each time, but there’s every possibility he can improve on that this year. For instance, his rides potentially include two hot favourites, such as Fact To File in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase and Dinoblue in the Mares’ Chase, who are both owned by JP McManus. 

Other potential McManus-owned runners at the Cheltenham Festival who are likely to be his to ride include Zenta, Mystical Power, Capodanno, Iroko, and Majborough. If all of these do line up at Prestbury Park next month, there’s no reason why Mark Walsh can’t accumulate his best tally, because all of them would have a realistic chance in their respective assignments. 

It hasn’t always been a plain-sailing trip to the Cheltenham Festival for the 37-year-old, who has suffered various injuries over the years, but last year he made a remarkable recovery from a serious neck injury to triumphant in the Stayers’ Hurdle just five weeks later aboard Sire Du Berlais. 

This time around, it’s been a smooth run for him, and the 12/1 price tag is too big, as the bookmakers have underestimated his chances. 

How many Cheltenham Festival winners for Mark Walsh? 

He has eight winners to date. His best Cheltenham Festivals came in 2019 and 2022, when he rode two winners at the meeting each time

Famous Cheltenham Festival Winners for Mark Walsh: 

  • Champion Hurdle: x1: Espoir D’Allen (2019)
  • Stayers’ Hurdle x1: Sire Du Berlais (2023)
  • Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle: x1: City Island (2019)
  • Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle: x1: Vanillier (2021)


Highest Profile Chances for Mark Walsh in 2024: 

  • Mystical Power: Supreme/Ballymore
  • Fact To File: Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
  • Saint Roi: Grand Annual 
  • Iroko: Turners Novices’ Chase 
  • Capodanno: Ryanair Chase 
  • Sire Du Berlais: Stayers’ Hurdle
  • Majborough: Triumph Hurdle 
  • Zenta: Mares’ Hurdle/Mares’ Chase 
  • Dinoblue: Mares’ Chase


Jack Kennedy - 11/2 

After being ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival for a second time last year due to breaking his leg for the fifth time in his career, Gordon Elliott’s number one jockey, Jack Kennedy, will undoubtedly be seeking redemption this year and is the 11/2 second favourite. 

The 24-year-old from Kerry has established himself as one of the best jockeys around and has a fine record at the Cheltenham Festival with 10 winners to his name, including six Grade 1 wins, in spite of missing two of the last four fixtures in the Cotswolds through injury. 

Nine of his wins have been for Gordon Elliott, but the biggest of them all came for trainer Henry De Bromhead when he guided Minella Indo to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory back in 2021. Many will remember his famous win aboard Labaik in the 2017 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, who won the Festival opener at a whopping price of 25/1. 

With age on his side and the hope he can stay injury-free going forward, I have doubt he is a future champion jockey, and I believe next month he will give Paul Townend plenty to think about in the race to the Ruby Walsh Trophy. He has a great set of rides to come, with most of them having a good chance. 

The last time he had this many good chances at Cheltenham, he rode three winners at the meeting three years ago. I am astonished he is available at 11/2 because I would have him matched a lot closer to Paul Townend. This could be the year he finally gets his hand on the trophy, in which case he is worth an investment at generous odds.

How many Cheltenham Festival winners for Jack Kennedy? 

The 24-year-old from Kerry has a fine record at the Cheltenham Festival with 10 winners to his name.

Famous Cheltenham Festival Winners for Jack Kennedy: 

  • Cheltenham Gold Cup: x1: Minella Indo (2021)
  • Supreme Novices’ Hurdle: x1: Labaik (2017)
  • Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle: x1: Samcro (2018)
  • Triumph Hurdle: x1: Farclas (2018)
  • Mares’ Hurdle: x1: Black Tears (2021)
  • Turners Novices’ Chase: x1: Shattered Love (2018)


 Highest Profile Chances for Jack Kennedy in 2024:

  • Firefox: Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
  • Found A Fifty: Arkle Challenge Trophy
  • Delta Work: Cross-Country Chase
  • Jalon D’oudairies: Champion Bumper
  • Fil Dor/Conflated: Ryanair Chase 
  • Teahupoo/Irish Point: Stayers’ Hurdle
  • Brighterdaysahead: Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
  • Gerri Colombe: Cheltenham Gold Cup


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