Jockeys to watch at the Cheltenham Festival
There is plenty of focus on the jockeys at the Cheltenham Festival and the majority of punters want to be with the well-known names such as McCoy, Walsh, Johnson, Thornton and Geraghty. Although all of those riders feature as the top five in numerical terms of winners ridden at the Cheltenham Festival since 1997 would you have made a profit backing their mounts?
Let's take Tony McCoy first – he's had a breathtaking 222 rides at the Festival since 1997 but has only had 22 winners for a strike-rate of 9.91%, but the shocking part for all of the memorable rides that A.P. has had at the Festival is that if you had backed all of them you would be £87.50 down to a level £1 stake. Taking a closer look inside those figures shows this that McCoy has a much better strike-rate over the bigger obstacles taking 13 winners from 101 rides as opposed to 8 winners from 108 rides. For all his numerical supremacy supporting McCoy blind is not a profitable solution at the Cheltenham Festival – in only three Cheltenham Festivals since 1997 has A.P. McCoy shown a level stakes profit. If you're thinking of backing him with a series of Cheltenham 2011 bets, it probably won't be worth your while.
The other rider that is sought out at the Cheltenham Festival is usually Ruby Walsh especially as he rides for the powerful Nicholls and Mullins stables. Numerically he leads McCoy with 27 winners despite only having ridden at the Festival since 1998, the year he recorded his first winner on Aleaxander Banquet in the Festival Bumper while he was still an amateur. He drew blanks in 1999 and 2000 but every year since then he has ridden a Festival winner with a remarkable seven being his record score in 2009, taking the Cheltenham Gold Cup, World Hurdle and the QM Champion Chase along the way. That year he showed a level stakes profit but overall he is still in the same boat as McCoy riding lots of fancied horses at prices that have the stable and his prowess factored into them so it's probably wise to do a bit more digging when looking at the Cheltenham betting offers.
Out of the top five numerical jockeys the one who has shown the best performance in terms of return on investment backing all of his mounts at the Festival since 1997 is Barry Geraghty, who would have returned a profit of £50.25 if you had backed all of his mounts. The other two jockeys who make up the numerical top five – Richard Johnson and Robert Thornton both show a small level stakes profit at the Cheltenham Festival.
Just taking a quick look at the other side of the coin there are some big names that have a remarkably poor record at the Festival - Tom Scudamore (1/91), Sam Thomas (1/58), Noel Fehily (1/53) and Graham Lee (4/87).
The top jockeys in the
right circumstances are worth supporting but following the majority of them
blind just isn't worth it.