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Tom Segal - Racing Post 2020 - The Secrets Of Pricewise

'...a factor I have been banging the drum on for about 30 years now - and still I'm amazed to hear punters say they don't consider it an important factor - is jockeys. It's as if many punters think horseracing is like motor racing in that if you put any reasonably competent driver in a Mercedes or a Ferrari they would be at the front.

But horseracing is a totally different kettle of fish, where it's extremely difficult to get any horse from A to B in the quickest possible way. Of course the.. (top jockeys).. make mistakes but the vast majority of the time their mounts are in the right place, they don't go for home too soon, and they very rarely find trouble in running.'

TOP FESTIVAL JOCKEYS - 2018 to 2022 - Townend 17 wins, Blackmore 12, Kennedy 9, de Boinville 9, Geraghty 9 (rtd), Walsh (M) 7, Russell 7 (rtd?), Mullins (P) 4. 

Paul's week but it took two on the Friday to overhaul Rachael and Patrick on countback. They each had three winners but it would have been four to himself if Galopin Des Champs hadn't crumpled on landing. Rachel landed the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup. She's had a wonderful time since A Plus Tard romped the novice handicap chase in 2019. Paul Townend in +2 over this five yr spread. Jack and Nico stay steady on nine. Ruby finally drops away, his 2017 four timer on the Thursday no longer counting. Barry was injured in 2018 so he will remain on this list for another year. Mr PW Mullins also had a fantastic Festival. He came here on a losing run of 23 and then won on Stattler, Facile Vega, and Billaway. A great finishing spurt to thwart poor Bon O'Neill. Patrick overtakes Jamie on the 5 yr amateur private battle, 4 winners to 3.

I said last year that Davy Russell was riding as well as ever. In his last (?) Festival he had three seconds, the unforgettable Tiger Roll being one of them. At least one winner every Festival between 2006 and 2018. Some going. Robbie Power also left the stage last year. Barry in 2020 and Ruby in 2009 are the only two to have won a race on all four days. Ruby had a winner at every Festival from 2002 to 2019. Apart from 2017, when injured, Barry rode a winner at every Cheltenham Festival since 2001. Five winners from 11 rides in 2020. Saint Roi in the County his last ever Festival ride. Impressive.

Level stakes £1 per Festival ride over the last five years - (those with more than one winner) N De Boinville +£36 J Kennedy +£27, M Walsh +£24, R Blackmore +£22, JJ Codd +£15, P Townend - £2 By my calculations, backing the top jockeys blind would seem a way to go?

Best jockey performance at the moment is Keith Donoghue with three Tiger Roll victories in his last 12 Festival rides. Between 2016-20 JJ Codd had with six winners from his 23. That's not bad. Codd's ten festival winners is the post-war record for an amateur, beating Jim Wilson's score of seven including the Gold Cup on Little Owl, and he is now in pursuit of Harry Brown's 14-winner all-time record which was achieved between 1911 and 1928. Harry was actually crowned champion jockey in Britain in 1919 against the pros. Patrick Mullins has ridden seven Festival winners.

Percentages wins to rides over the 5 yrs - Ruby finished on 25%, Jamie C, Paul, Nico and Rachael all on 18% winners to rides.

Currently best all course meetings strike rate recently are might be Niall Houlihan with 3 winners from his last 16 rides (Editeur Du Gite) .  Those with recent difficulty on course include Jack Quinlan none from 44, Stan Sheppard none from 37. 

All Time Jockeys Festival Wins - Walsh 59, Geraghty 43, McCoy 32, Taaffe 25, Russell 25, Johnson 23, Townend 23, Dunwoody 18, Swan 17, Winter 17. The only change here is that Paul Townend moves level with Richard Johson. Davy's run of a winner in 13 successive Festivals came to a stop in 2019 and injury prevented him in 2021.  Nico on 14, Rachael 12, Jack 10.

Jockeys' Festival Rides Cold List - Aidan Coleman, when coming off this list with Paisley Park's Stayers in 2019 said. 'Didn't think it was such a big deal, until it happened.' This sometimes does mirror stable form. For want of a better word then, the current 'leaders' in this category are P Brennan 81 (last winner 2010 Grand Annual, two very decent seconds last year with Alaphilippe and Imperial Alcazar), S Twiston-Davies 72 (2016 G Annual), T Scudamore 50 (2017 Ultima, Gericault Roque caught up the run in by Corach Rambler last year), Current other leading jockeys certainly on a bit of a trot are, H Cobden 47, H Skelton 28, Sean Bowen 26.

It can happen. Edwardstone gave Tom O'Brien his first Festival winner on his 49th attempt. Jonathan Burke's joy noted when Love Envoi gets his first after 46 tries. Robbie Power unfortunately retired on 58 non winning mounts the 2017 G Annual. Very decent second from his final Festival ride.

IMHO Sam Twiston-Davies remains a streak jockey. If and when he rides a Festival winner, don't be surprised if he immediately rides another. He was on fire at the course last season. 10 winners from 42 rides. As I write Paddy Brennan is riding at 28% this season. Tom Scudamore's record in the Ultima is worth noting. Darryl Jacob steered Concertista to success in the 2020 Mares Novice, his first ever success when in 'double green'. Some have said, there is no better steererer of a horse but to me. he has been a different jockey since Concertista. Danny Mullins has been flying since Flooring Porter. Some say it just takes one...


CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS - The record of Conditional Jockeys is addressed in each individual race