Ruby Walsh

Ruby Walsh is an Irish jockey of some acclaim. In his career he’s amassed over 2500 wins and has won just about everything there is to win. In part this can be put down to his own racing pedigree, on account that he’s the son of former champion jockey Ted Walsh.

Ruby, or Rupert to use his birthname, wasted no time in getting involved in racing. At the tender age of 18, County Kildare born Walsh was already well on his way, and won the Irish amateur jockey title two years (1996/7, 1997/8) in a row before turning professional. To say that he came on leaps and bounds from there is something of an understatement, on account that in the year 2000 he won the jewel in the racing crown, The Aintree Grand National, on Papillon. Papillon, a horse trained by Ruby Walsh’s father was by no means a favourite (starting at 33-1 before being backed in) and so this was quite some achievement for Walsh who was still only 20. The same year the father-son duo won the Irish Grand National too.

In 2004/2005, Walsh went one National better, winning the Irish Grand National (on Numbersixvalverde), the Welsh (on Silver Birch) and the English (on Hedgehunter). he was narrowly beaten in the Scottish Grand National the same year.

This alone is an amazing achievement, but he’s also made serious inroads into becoming something of a Cheltenham Festival legend. In fact he’s accumulated a staggering 58 winners at the Festival. There’s not much he hasn’t ticked off the list, with highlights being winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2004, 2008 and 2009, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice with Kauto Star – in 2007 and 2009 – the first time a horse has reclaimed the title. He’s been leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival on 11 separate occasions. One less than the number of times he’s been made Irish Jump Jockey champion.

The Tingle Creek Chase, King George VI Chase, Champion Hurdle, Hennessy Gold Cup, Walsh has won and done it all. He’s suffered injuries over the years but always came back from them and at age 39 he still seems to have plenty of gas in the tank.

Tony McCoy

Tony McCoy (aka AP McCoy) is a Northern Irish former jockey who was a leader of the pack in terms of achievement. He rode a record 4358 winners over a twenty year plus career in the sport.

His very first win as a conditional jockey came in his teens in 1992 while he was an apprentice for Tony Balding, and 73 others followed that season alone. His successes year on year led to accolades galore. That very year he picked up the Condition Jump Jockey Title. Amazingly, from 1995 onward he won the Champion Jockey title every year until his 2015 retirement.

It was this initial success with Balding and the results that followed that resulted in him getting the attention of and working Martin Pipe, a partnership that would endure and bring about much success.

As would be expected with thousands of wins under his belt, it should be no surprise that McCoy has won all that there is to win from the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Queen Mother Champion Chase and Grand National. It took McCoy 15 attempts to win the Grand National, but he eventually did it on the Jonjo O’Neill trained Don’t Push It in the 2010 race. Don’t Push it won be an impressive five lengths at was 10-1 joint favourite.

The sum of Tony McCoy’s achievements resulted in him winning the RTE Sports Person of the Year, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and also being made an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his contribution to racing. His inrivalled success is a blueprint to success for many jockeys in the sport, but will prove to be an incredibly difficult act to follow.

 

Grand National Jockeys: Who Could Triumph in 2019?

Winning the Randox Health Grand National is understandably high on the wish-list of any National Hunt jockey and the 2019 race will provide yet another chance for one of them to add their name this exclusive list. Very few jockeys are able to land the prestigious Aintree steeplechase and recent stagings of the event have seen the likes of David Mullins, Derek Fox and Ryan Mania break their duct in the race. We take a look at some of the riders who will be hoping to be first past the post on April 6th.

Source: At the Races via Twitter

Davy Russell

The obvious place to start is with last year’s winning jockey – Davy Russell. The County Cork-born rider was the oldest jockey in the field when he partnered Tiger Roll to victory in 2018 and it was an emotional day for the 39-year old, who had endured thirteen failed attempts in the race prior to this triumph. Russell had enjoyed a profitable season prior to his victory although he’d spent some time away from the sport earlier in the year following the death of his mother and the birth of his fourth child.

It was a suitably dramatic finish to the contest with Russell’s mount almost being caught on the line by the impressively fast-finishing Pleasant Company. After the result was officially confirmed, there was a palpable sense of relief amongst connections and the winning jockey was finally able to enjoy the moment alongside trainer Gordon Elliott, who was celebrating his second Grand National success.

Tiger Roll is likely to return to defend his crown in 2019 and the diminutive gelding is likely to be popular in the betting once again. Davy Russell is likely to get the mount once again and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him involved at the business end of the race for the second successive time.

 

Barry Geraghty

The second name on our list is another experienced operator who is likely to be prominent in this year’s renewal. Barry Geraghty suffered a stop-start 2018 campaign and if he manages to stay injury-free this year, he is likely to have his pick of the JP McManus runners.

It’s been sixteen years since Garaghty partnered Monty’s Pass to victory and he is long overdue another winner in the contest. He achieved another career milestone in January when landing the Birchdale at Cheltenham which helped him become the fourth most successful jockey of all-time in Britain and Ireland. His total of 1,875 winners enabled him to surpass Richard Dunwoody’s total, although he’s still a fair way behind the now-retired AP McCoy, who managed 4,348 winners during his illustrious career.

Last season he was on board Anibale Fly who began the race as one of the favourites but was only able to finish fourth. Geraghty talked up his mount’s chances pre-race yet being forced to lug the third highest weight around the energy-sapping course meant that the nine-year-old was running on empty during the final couple of furlongs.

One possible mount for the experienced rider is Sandymount Duke, who is owned by Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

Source: OddsBible Racing via Twitter

Danny Cook

Danny Cook is still searching for his first Grand National winner and is highly likely to partner Vintage Clouds in this year’s contest. The Romford-born rider looks set to participate in the race for the fourth time and will be hoping for better luck this time around.

In 2017, Definitly Red pulled up after being badly hampered at Bechers Brook and the same fence proved to be Cook’s undoing just twelve months later, as I Just Know also came down at the sixth. Cook was later reprimanded by the authorities for helping wave the runners around the iconic fence as they approached it on the second circuit.

As of February 2019, Cook has already chalked up 23 winners this season and he will be hoping to increase that tally during the run-up to the Grand National. He is likely to partner Definitly Red at the Cheltenham Festival in March and barring any accidents, he is also expected to be Sue Smith’s preferred choice for April’s world-famous steeplechase.

Vintage Clouds is currently one of the frontrunners in the betting and has proven stamina. He came third in 2018’s Scottish Grand National and despite being unable to finish his lastest race at Chepstow, the market appears confident of his chances of picking up a second career success at the Merseyside course.

He is around 25/1 in the betting although that price is likely to shorten further over the next couple of months. Those who wish to back the Yorkshire-raider can take advantage of a number of Grand National bonuses, all of which have been collated by Oddschecker. These offers will give all new customers the opportunity to use their free bet on the historic four-miler.

 

Paul Townend

Despite a number of appearances in the Randox Health Grand National, Paul Townend has never experienced the elation of winning the race. His first appearance saw him finish eleventh on Irish Invader and he was unseated at the 15th fence just twelve months later.

In 2018, he was on board Total Recall, who was heavily fancied for success in the race and went off as the 7/1 favourite. Unfortunately, the Willie Mullins-charge made an error at the fourth last and was eventually pulled up. That was the last time that Townend partnered the ten-year-old, although he isn’t likely to be short of offers ahead of this year’s renewal.

KemBoy is a horse who tends to get on well with Townend and the pair could team up once again in April. The seven-year-old was last seen winning the Savills Chase at Leopardstown at the end of 2018 and will be aiming to continue his unbeaten streak when he takes to the Aintree fences.

The pair were last seen together on UK turf in 2018 when finishing fourth in the Grade 1 JLT Novice’s Chase at Cheltenham.

Source: Ladbrokes via Twitter

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is one of the sport’s rising stars and he’s been gradually making a name for himself over the past 18 months. He finished third on board Bless the Wings in 2018 with the Gordon Elliott runner finishing eleven lengths behind stablemate Tiger Roll.

He has been described as the natural heir to AP McCoy and after riding four winners at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, it’s easy to understand the hype surrounding the 19-year old.

2019 will be just his second outing in the race and he will be hoping to go one better this time around. Gordon Elliott is likely to send a number of runners across the Irish sea and Kennedy is likely to feature prominently in this year’s renewal.

He has continued to ride winners for the County Meath stable and recently accompanied Dallas Des Pictons to victory in the Grade B William Fry Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown.

If he isn’t able to pick up a victory in the 2019 Randox Health Grand National, it is unlikely to be long until Kennedy is able to add his name to the select list of winning jockeys.

 

Brian Hughes

Brian Hughes is one of the top northern jockeys in the UK and after finishing eleventh on Seeyouatmidnight last season, he is likely to be back for another crack.

During the 2017-18 campaign, he won 142 of his 810 chase starts and finished second on a further 131 occasions. He is hugely reliable and although he isn’t one of the bigger names in the race, it is ill-advised to write off his chances.

He already has course form at Aintree but is winless in six attempts when it comes to the Grand National. The North Yorkshire-based rider is unlikely to be short of potential suitors and many trainers will be hoping to secure his services ahead of April’s steeplechase.

The 2019 Randox Grand National is likely to be another dramatic and thrilling contest and there are a number of jockeys who will have a chance to add their name to the illustrious list of winning riders. Who will be first past the post on April 6th, 2019

 

 

 

Lester Piggott

Lester Piggott is nothing short of an icon of the sport of racing. Specialising in flat racing he amassed close to 4500 wins over the course of his career and won all that there is to win. With two wins in the 1000 Guineas, five in the 2000 Guineas, nine in the Epsom Derby, six in the Epsom Oaks and eight in the St Leger his dominance of the British Classics clearly is not in question.

Piggott came from a family with deep links to racing that can be traced back hundreds of years. His Grandfather owned a racehorse stable and himself rode three Grand National winners in his time, and in fact several members of Piggott’s family have serious racing pedigree. It wasn’t so much ‘when’ Lester Piggott was introduced to racing, and instead more that it was an ever present part of life.

Lester Piggott was a quick learner, he won his first race at just 12 years of age after learning the ropes at his Father’s stable. He first won the Derby in his teens and in started to rack up the wins for trainer Noel Murless, then later Vincent O’Brien. A trend that would continue for many years.

A real personality in racing Piggott retired as a jockey in 1985 and decided to become a horse trainer. This venture however was rather short lived due to tax issues resulting in a year long jail term. Despite these issues he’s still a much loved individual for racinf fans in the UK and beyond, and is still going strong at the ripe old age of 82.

Frankie Dettori

When it comes to name recognision in racing, Frankie Dettori has it in spades. He’s one of the most well known figures in the sport, due to both his achievements and time in the post.

An Milan, Italian born jockey, his first equine introduction was at age 12 when his Father bought him a Pony. At just 13 he became a stable boy and the following year he came to the UK where he apprenticed for Luca Cumani. In 1990, and still a teenager Dettori rode 100 winners, a staggering achievement demonstrating wisdom and determination beyond his years.

His list of big wins over the years has expanded to include everything but the kitchen sink. 1000 Guineas(x3), 2000 Guineas (x3), Ascot Gold Cup X5), Derby (x2), The Oaks (x4), the list goes on. His racing prowess isn’t limited to these shores either, he’s won everything from the Japan Cup and France’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to the Breeder’s Cup Classic and Canadian International Stakes. He’s ridden over 3000 winners to date.

Detorri’s most memorable achievement in the sport is coined the ‘Magnificent Seven’ and it refer to the September 1996 meeting where he won all seven races at the Ascot meeting. This is no mean feat, as one of those races was the Queen Elizabeth II stakes (a race Dettori has now won six times!). Of course as a man of some reputation, he has his followers/fan, some of whom had bet on all of his selections, and consequently a handful of payouts topped £100,000, and one over £500,000. Life changing money. The combined odds of the selections were  25,051-1.

Frankie Dettori earns prize money of £2 milion plus a year and the enormity of his achievements and contribution to sport have results in him being awarded an MBE. He’s done it all and still has the same love for racing that he had when he started on this now much decorated career.

 

 

 

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