2021 Cheltenham Festival – Five claiming jockeys to keep an eye on
Five claiming jockeys who could ride a Cheltenham winner
Rachael Blackmore, Paul Townend, Jack Kennedy, Nico de Boinville and Richard Johnson are just five of the big names who will all be fancied to pick up at least one winner during the course of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.
While that quintet and their fellow top jockey counterparts will draw plenty of attention amongst punters in the quest for winners there is plenty of opportunity for claiming riders also to get in on the winning act especially in the handicap contests where the claiming jockeys’ allowances will see several riders’ services in particular demand.
While some will feature away from Cheltenham where many conditionals will pick up rides at the secondary meetings across the UK and Ireland while the best of the action takes place at the greatest show on turf the best conditional riders will be in action across the four days and we’ve picked out five claiming riders who could bag a Cheltenham Festival winner.
2021 CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL – FIVE CLAIMING JOCKEYS WHO COULD GET AMONGST THE WINNERS
24-year old Irish rider Simon Torrens has been making a real name for himself as one of the best conditional riders around, both over the sticks and on the flat. He was a late starter to the racing game having not sat on a horse until he was 15 years old.
His current claim is 5lbs but his talents in the saddle saw him recently land a notable big race double at the Dublin Racing Festival with A Wave Of The Sea winning the €100,000 Matheson Handicap Chase and adding the €125,000 Ladbrokes Hurdle to his CV with Drop The Anchor.
Currently enjoying his best season with 26 winners to date at the time of writing he’s ridden winners for several top trainers including Joseph O’Brien, Ted Walsh and Edward O’Grady and the talented rider could well pick up a couple of rides in some of the big handicap contests as well as the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle on the fourth day of the Cheltenham Festival.
He might only be 18 years old but leading conditional Jack Tudor has already enjoyed some big race success, steering Potters Corner to victory in the 2019 Welsh Granda National and the Welsh-born rider can enjoy even more success in the saddle.
His win on Potters Corner came on only his second season as a jockey and he has built up a relationship with up-and-coming trainer and former jockey Christian Williams for whom he rode Potters Corner to Chepstow glory.
The pair could combine again in the Cross Country Chase on day two of the Cheltenham Festival prior to a possible tilt at the Aintree Grand National.
Excellent value for his current 3lbs claim where he has ridden 19 winners so far this campaign he has taken rides this season in addition to Christian Williams from the likes of David Pipe, Warren Greatrex, Brian Ellison and even Nicky Henderson and his services are sure to be in demand.
Irish rider Hugh Morgan is attached to Henry de Bromhead’s top yard but has taken rides for some other notable names in the Irish jumps game including Joseph O’Brien and Gordon Elliott.
With a 5lbs claim to call upon Morgan has ridden 9 winners this campaign and showed his talents to good effect when steering Triumph Hurdle hope Druid’s Altar to victory at Naas recently.
Given he’s already enjoyed some powerful backing we can expect him to be in action during the Cheltenham Festival it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the talented claimer take the reins on a winner.
Irish-born Kevin Brogan has been making a big name for himself in recent seasons and the County Kildare pilot will enjoy his biggest thrill in the saddle to date when taking the reins on Buzz for top trainer Nicky Henderson in the Betfair Hurdle.
Formerly with Gordon Elliott until relocating to the UK where he joined with Jonjo O’Neill the 5lbs claiming rider has seen his move vindicated with a 20% strike rate at the time of writing where he’s ridden 19 winners to date.
His talents have attracted the attentions of the likes of Paul Nicholls, Harry Fry and Ben Pauling and his burgeoning reputation could be enhanced with a Cheltenham Festival winner. Brogan’s Betfair Hurdle mount Buzz is in the entries for the Champion Hurdle on day one of the Festival and a big performance at Newbury could cement his place in the line-up and Brogan could well come in for the ride again in that instance.
23-year old Carver’s career has been hampered by injuries, but there’s no denying he’s a top talent in the saddle and his relationship with Paul Nicholls has seen the Irish-born rider jump into the top league of conditional riders.
Hailing from Cork he’s been riding horses since 16 so is another late-comer to the jockey ranks; but he rode plenty of winners between the flags before moving to the UK and David Pipe prior to his latest switch to Ditcheat via Will Biddick’s point-to-point yard.
Having turned conditional in the 2019/20 season Carver hasn’t looked back and he has proven excellent value for his claim with 24 winners this campaign for Nicholls as well as the likes of Chris Honour, Charlie Mann and Harry Fry.
More success surely beckons for Carver whose claim is now 3lbs and he has struck up a good partnership with the classy Magic Saint this term. The pair could combine again at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival where the Saint Des Saints gelding holds a Champion Chase entry although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the seven-year old pitched into one of the handicaps such as the Grand Annual.