The biggest winners from this year’s Cheltenham Festival

It almost feels like an age since the 2020 Cheltenham Festival came to an end. The sporting world has since been thrown into turmoil as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown measures. Horse racing had continued behind closed doors for a while, but eventually the government guidelines meant that there was no option but to suspend racing indefinitely.

As we sit and pine for more live racing action, there’s no better time to cast our minds back to the action at this year’s Cheltenham Festival and analyse who the biggest winners were at Prestbury Park.

UK JockeyWillie Mullins

It was Willie Mullins who captured the Leading Trainer title at this year’s Festival, and although Gordon Elliott (who we’ll come to later) also bagged seven winners, Mullins’ superior number of third-place finishes earned him the accolade. Despite getting off to a relatively slow start, Ferny Hollow got Mullins off the mark with a win on day two of the Festival, and from there the victories kept on coming.

His other winners included Min, Concertista, Burning Victory, Saint Roi and Monkfish, but the icing on Mullins’ Cheltenham cake came in the showpiece race of the meeting. After winning the Gold Cup last year, Al Boum Photo made it a memorable double, winning a closely fought battle with Santini to win the coveted trophy and ensure another moment to savour for a trainer who can do little wrong at the moment.

Paul Townend

Mullins owed a lot to jockey Paul Townend for the triumph in the Gold Cup, as it was he who successfully guided Al Boum Photo to that famous win. It was the culmination of a fine Festival for the jockey as well, making it five wins in total, three on Gold Cup Day, and the coveted Top Jockey title.

Townend has long been regarded as one of the sport’s best jockeys, and the best jockeys are regarded so because of their ability to perform in the biggest occasions under incredibly high pressure. Townend did this at Cheltenham this year, epitomised by his performance in the Gold Cup in which he admirably held off the challenge of Nico de Boinville on Santini. Al Boum Photo winning the Gold Cup was the one bet on horse racing many people had banked on ahead of the Festival, and Townend brightened the days of many happy punters.

Gordon Elliott

As already mentioned, trainer Elliott also enjoyed a fine Festival with seven winners, and although he was pipped at the post for the Leading Trainer accolade, it was still a strong showing from Elliott’s horses. It started with a win on the opening day for Ravenhill, and further triumphs for Envoi Allen, Aramax, Samcro, Sire Du Berlais, Milan Native and Chosen Mate ensured it was a Festival to remember for the trainer.

It had looked for all the world as though Elliott was cruising towards that Leading Trainer title, but Mullins’ trio of winners on Gold Cup day meant he agonisingly missed out to his fellow Irishman.

Barry Geraghty

The sight of Barry Geraghty’s smiling face became a familiar one at Cheltenham this year, as he notched five wins in total. His success was well spread out over the course of the Festival, as he got off to the perfect start in the Champion Hurdle on day one, on Epatante. This strong performance was backed up the following day as victories on Champ and Dame De Compagnie gave a showcase of Geraghty’s class in the saddle.

Further victories with Sire Du Berlais and Saint Roi capped off a fine Festival for the Irish jockey, and there can be no doubting that we’ll be seeing plenty more wins for Geraghty at Cheltenham in the years to come.