The Cheltenham Festival is now fast approaching and punters across the country are gearing up for the biggest four days of sport of the year. There are 27 races to take in during the Festival week but there is plenty more besides, with the top jockey market is one of the most popular side bets on offer during this hectic week. Having a bet on which jockey will pick up the most winners during the Festival is a great way to keep an interest through the four days and can offer some good value at the same time.
At this stage there are joint favourites for the armband this year with Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh difficult to split. Geraghty is of course the stable jockey for Nicky Henderson which will ensure he gets his chance on some of the best horses in training at Prestbury Park. Punters will also remember Barry Geraghty winning the award last season when he scored five times at the Festival and a repeat of that number will surely see him pick up the Jockeys crown once again in 2013.
Barry Geraghty will be on board the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Bobs Worth and Simonsig at Cheltenham this year among many others which highlights the strength of his book of rides. Taking that into account it is easy to see why Ladbrokes rate him as a 5/4 shot to be the Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey this season. He looks to have a leading chance in all the big races and we are yet to mention the likes of Grandouet, Oscar Whisky and Riverside Theatre who are three more potential winners for Geraghty.
Punters looking elsewhere will want to take a closer look at Ruby Walsh who has won this title on a number of occasions during his illustrious career. Walsh has his pick of rides from the Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls yards and that alone ensures he has to be considered carefully. The Irishman will be on board the likes of Quevega, Hurricane Fly and Silvinianco Conti among others meaning that he could well develop into a major threat to Geraghty this year.
Willie Mullins looks to have a very strong team indeed ready for the Festival this season and that can only benefit the chances of Ruby Walsh. Punters wanting to back Ruby to take the top jockey award this season can currently back him at 5/4 with Ladbrokes Bookmakers. He has been at the top of the game for a decade now and it would be no surprise to see him win the pink arm band for the seventh time.
The bookmakers are struggling to split Walsh and Geraghty this year and it really is hard to imagine any jockey outside of the big two claiming the award. Davy Russell might be a little bit of value at around 16/1 bearing in mind he has the Gigginstown yard behind him but the simple fact is that Geraghty and Walsh have that much more ammunition at their disposal. Deciding between the market leaders is tough but we have to think that Barry Geraghty has the slight advantage here. The Nicky Henderson team are in rude health at this stage of the season and the quality they have in their arsenal is frightening with Cheltenham just around the corner.
5/4 Barry Geraghty
5/4 Ruby Walsh
6/1 AP McCoy
16/1 Davy Russell
20/1 Jason Maguire
33/1 Richard Johnson
33/1 Robert Thornton
33/1 Daryl Jacob
33/1 Tom Scudamore
All markets are supplied courtesy of Ladbrokes.com
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