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Leading Festival Jockeys – Ruby Walsh Nearing Historic Landmark

Ruby Walsh overtook Tony McCoy as the most successful current rider at The Festival thanks to an unprecedented seven victories in 2009.

Ruby Walsh

Ruby Walsh

After scoring on Quevega in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle on day one, Walsh rattled off three successes in as many races on the second day, winning on Mikael D’Haguenet and Cooldine for Willie Mullins and guiding the Paul Nicholls-trained Master Minded to a second successive victory in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase.

He also triumphed in Thursday’s championship contest, the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, on Big Buck’s and ended a phenomenal week by winning on American Trilogy in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle and partnering Kauto Star to an historic second victory in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Walsh has now enjoyed 24 Cheltenham Festival victories and only needs one more success to equal the all-time record set by Pat Taaffe. His nearest rival among the current ranks, Tony McCoy, rode a single winner at The Festival for the third consecutive year last season, courtesy of a tremendous effort from off the pace on Wichita Lineman in the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase and has a total of 21 triumphs.

Barry Geraghty moved onto 16 Festival wins after enjoying a successful Cheltenham in his first season as retained rider for Nicky Henderson, recording a first Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle triumph with Punjabi and partnering Zaynar to success in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. A trio of victories for Geraghty also included a battling success on the Tom Cooper-trained Forpadytheplasterer in The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase.

With only Walsh and Geraghty registering more than one victory, several new faces made their first visit to the winner’s enclosure at The Festival including Tom O’Brien, nephew of five-time Festival-winning trainer Aidan, and prolific point-to-point rider Jamie Codd. Paddy Flood, Aidan Coleman, Wayne Hutchinson, Will Biddick and Felix de Giles all broke their Festival ducks alongside Brian O’Connell, who partnered Dunguib to a devastating 10-length success in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.


The winners of the Thomas Pink Leading Rider Award are listed below.

2009 Ruby Walsh (7)

2008 Ruby Walsh (3)

2007 Robert Thornton (4)

2006 Ruby Walsh (3)

2005 Graham Lee (3)

2004 Ruby Walsh (3)

2003 Barry Geraghty (5)

2002 Richard Johnson (2)

2001 Cancelled - foot & mouth

2000 Mick Fitzgerald (4)

1999 Mick Fitzgerald (4)

1998 Tony McCoy (5)

1997 Tony McCoy (3)

1996 Richard Dunwoody (2)

1995 Norman Williamson (4)

1994 Charlie Swan (3)

1993 Charlie Swan (4)

1992 Jamie Osborne (5)

1991 Peter Scudamore (2)

1990 Richard Dunwoody (2)

1989 Tom Morgan (2)

1988 Simon Sherwood (2)

1987 Peter Scudamore (2)

1986 Peter Scudamore (2)

1985 Steve Smith Eccles (3)

1984 Jonjo O'Neill (2)

1983 Graham Bradley (2)

1982 Jonjo O'Neill (1)

1981 John Francome (3)

1980 Mr Jim Wilson (3)



Ruby Walsh 24

Tony McCoy 21

Barry Geraghty 16

Robert Thornton 15

Richard Johnson 13

Paul Carberry 11

Timmy Murphy 8

Carl Llewellyn 7

Davy Russell 5

Graham Lee 4

Paddy Brennan 4

Miss Nina Carberry 4



Pat Taaffe 25

Ruby Walsh 24

Tony McCoy 21

Richard Dunwoody 18

Charlie Swan 17

Fred Winter 17

Tommy Carberry 16

Barry Geraghty 16

Robert Thornton 15

Mick Fitzgerald 14

Richard Johnson 13

Peter Scudamore 13

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