Leading Jockeys at The Festival

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Previous winners of the Boodles Leading Jockey Award 

2014    Ruby Walsh (3)
2013    Ruby Walsh (4)
2012    Barry Geraghty (5)
2011    Ruby Walsh (5)
2010    Ruby Walsh (3)
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    A P McCoy (5)
1997    A P McCoy (3)


LEADING CURRENT JOCKEYS AT THE FESTIVAL      

Ruby Walsh 41
Barry Geraghty 31
A P McCoy 30
Richard Johnson 20
Robert Thornton 16
Paul Carberry 14
Davy Russell 13
Timmy Murphy 8
Paddy Brennan 6
Graham Lee 5
Jason Maguire 5
Tom Scudamore 5
Ms Nina Carberry 4
Andrew Lynch 4
Mr Sam Waley-Cohen 4


TOP JOCKEYS AT THE FESTIVAL (SINCE 1945)

Ruby Walsh 41
Barry Geraghty 31
A P McCoy 30
Pat Taaffe 25
Richard Johnson 20
Richard Dunwoody 18
Charlie Swan 17
Fred Winter 17
Tommy Carberry 16
Robert Thornton 16
Paul Carberry 14
Mick Fitzgerald 14
Davy Russell 13
Peter Scudamore 13

Hughes has high hopes for more success at The Festival
 
Brian Hughes enjoyed a first victory at The Festival in 2014 as the Tim Easterby-trained Hawk High stormed up the famous Cheltenham hill to take the Grade Three Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle on Ladies Day.
 
The success capped an eventful 24 hours for the 29-year-old South Armagh native, who was narrowly denied a first winin the Listed Rewards4Racing Novices' Handicap Chase the previous day when his mount Attaglance was impeded in the closing stages by Present View - one of the most contentious results of last year's Festival. 
 
Hughes commented: "It was a great buzz to win at The Festival. It was actually the first time I had ridden Hawk High. I had ridden a few winners for Trevor Hemmings (the owner) and he said that the way I ride would suit the horse.
 
"I had a lot of luck in the race. At the second flight, Astre De La Cour fell on my inside and brought down Goodwood Mirage. Clarcam brought down a couple more horses at the second last and I just seemed to keep missing all of the trouble. It was lucky that I had such a good run around.

"It was certainly different to the day before. I had to make a split-second decision on Attaglance - he was lugging a little bit left and Present View was jumping a little bit right. I took a chance to go straight and, as I got to Present View, he was coming back on top of me.
 
"It was just one of those things - I made the wrong call and held my hand up to the owner and trainer but no-one felt it more than me.
 
"It's obviously nice to ride winners at the big meetings. I rode Tidal Bay to finish sixth in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2011 and won the Cleeve Hurdle on the same horse the year before.
 
"He and Hawk High are the only two winners I have had at Cheltenham and it's hard to go to the big meetings with chances when you don't have the big stables behind you."
 
Hughes has firmly established himself as one of the leading jockeys in the North after relocating from Ireland to County Durham in 2005. He was crowned champion conditional for the 2007/08 campaign with 39 wins and is now primarily associated with the stable of Malton handler Malcolm Jefferson, although his ability in the saddle has also caught the eye of several other major trainers.
 
He continued: "I rode 86 winners last year and I am up to 73 so far this season, so things are going well. I am always trying to pick up outside rides and have been lucky to ride for John Ferguson, Mick Channon and a lot of the northern trainers have supported me as well.
 
"I mainly ride for Malcolm Jefferson but his horses haven't really been firing so far this season. I am sure that Attaglance will be given entries in some of the handicaps at The Festival again but you would like to see the horses firing a bit better beforehand.
 
"Urban Hymn was pulled up in the BetBright Novices' Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day but he had run OK in two starts up until then. He didn't feel himself that day but he won the River Don Novices' Hurdle last year and we think the world of him.
 
"Oscar Rock is a bit of a forgotten horse - he ran well in the fixed-brush hurdle at Haydock and then finished second on his chase debut behind Wakanda, who went on to win a Grade Two.
 
"Hopefully, I can pick up a few outside rides and a few for Malcolm at The Festival this year. I hope some of Mick Channon's horses get there and it would great to have a ride or two for John Ferguson. They are great people to ride for and have some very nice horses as well."
 
McNamara hoping to build on last year's double at The Festival in first season as a professional
 
Robbie McNamara enjoyed two winners as an amateur rider at The Festival in 2014, scoring on the Dermot Weld-trained Silver Concorde in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and taking the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase aboard Spring Heeled, trained by Jim Culloty.
 
Both of those horse carried the colours of leading Irish owner Dr Ronan Lambe, who also owned the 2014 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere.
 
McNamara, who was born on September 12, 1988, comes from a family steeped in racing tradition. His brother Andrew is also a jockey (partnered Newmill to victory in the 2006 Queen Mother Champion Chase), while his father, also Andrew, trained the 1985 Arkle Trophy Chase scorer Boreen Prince.
 
In November, 2014, the 6ft 3in McNamara announced that he was joining the professional ranks having begun his career in the 2004/05 season as an amateur.
 
Reflecting on last year's double at The Festival, McNamara said: "Silver Concorde won very well in the Champion Bumper last year. I fancied him before the race. I just was a little concerned about the trip and staying up the hill but he settled well for me.
 
"Spring Heeled's win was a little bit more of a surprise. He had some very good form two or three runs beforehand but had disappointed subsequently at Cheltenham in November and at Leopardstown on softer ground. He jumped and travelled really well in the Kim Muir and was good that day.
 
"Cheltenham has always played a big part in our family, with my father winning the Arkle in 1985 and Andrew winning the Queen Mother on Newmill.
 
"I have ridden at Cheltenham many times and have ridden plenty of well-fancied horses. I have knocked on the door with seconds and thirds, so that made last year's victories even more special."
 
Commenting on his switch to the professional ranks earlier this season, McNamara said: ""I don't find it any harder riding as a professional. In fact my weight is easier to control as I am riding more regularly while as an amateur I was only riding maybe once or twice a week."
 
Ahead of The Festival 2015, McNamara is looking forward to continuing his association with Spring Heeled, who is set to contest the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
 
McNamara continued: "I hopefully have two or three rides lined up and will be riding Spring Heeled in the Gold Cup.
 
"I think the plan for Spring Heeled is to go to Fairyhouse, then Cheltenham and then the Grand National.
 
"Spring Heeled's last run was in the Galway Plate in July when he was giving seven pounds to Roads To Riches and finished fourth.
 
"He improved 18 pounds I think from to 2013 to 2014 and, while I am not saying he would win a Gold Cup, I don't think he would disgrace himself either. It won't be just a prep for Aintree, I think he can run a nice race."

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