With the 2021 Cheltenham Festival just months away, horse racing fans everywhere are trumping Cheltenham odds to try and choose their pick for the famous Prestbury Park meeting. Surely this year’s Festival will look much different compared to previous years. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has hit sport hard, meaning a large proportion of spectators are absent from live sporting events. As is certain to occur for Cheltenham, with the pandemic showing no sign of abating until mass vaccinations are given.
But that does not imply the Festival will suffer in terms of entertainment. For the jockeys particularly, Cheltenham will still be an extremely important event despite the absence of the famous Cheltenham rumble that has long accompanied horses and jockeys in the stable. Last year’s Festival presented some memorable moments for certain drivers, and 2021 promises to be even more drama and excitement for the jockeys who were able to clinch the Festival’s grand prize.
Read on, as we have a look at some of the top performing jockeys at Cheltenham last year, and ponder whether or not they can repeat their success again this year.
The 2020 Cheltenham Festival is one to remember Paul Townend, who produced five winners and as a result snagged top jockey honors from under the nose of the now retired Barry Geraghty. Indeed, it was on Gold Cup Day that Townend really came into his own ultimately year’s Festival – a day that brought glory to both himself and coach Willie Mullins.
After two wins that afternoon, Townend made it through Al Boum’s photo for a second straight Gold Cup victory, cementing the colt’s name in the history books and his first since Best friend to win the race in two consecutive Festivals. Approaching the 2021 meet, can he make three Gold Cups in a row?
While Davy Russell picked up three wins ultimately year’s Cheltenham Festival and enjoyed a good week, it was all put into perspective late in the year when he suffered a neck injury during a race in Limerick in October. After suffering a broken bone and spinal dislocation it could have been much worse for Russell but fortunately he has recovered well.
The aim of this year’s Festival is to be more successful together Envoi Allenwho Russell rode to victory at the Ballymore Novices Hurdle in 2020, and he will be admired once more at Tips Cheltenham.
After winning the Mares Hurdle last year honey plant, Rachael Blackmore is now tasting triumph at the Cheltenham Festival, and will do everything to experience it yet again. All eyes will be on the invincible honey plantand rumor has it that she could enter the Champion Hurdle, which would be the mare’s greatest challenge yet.
But Blackmore is a jockey of immense talent, and has proven his worth time and time again. If anyone has the ability to get the most out of honey plant on the biggest stage, then Blackmore must be one of them.