Cheltenham Festival RACING

LUCK OF THE IRISH: The rise of Irish dominance at Cheltenham Festival

Over the last few decades Irish Jockeys have taken a hold of the winning places at the Cheltenham festival with a huge rise in the number of winning horses for the Irish.

The trend started back in the mid 2000’s where the Irish really started to show their dominance in the competition, whereas before that time, the Irish were lucky to bag five or more winners in a given year.

This graph shows the rise of Irish fortune at Cheltenham and shows the huge swing from British winners to Irish over the last four decades since 1975.

During the 2021 races, Irish trained horses won a huge 82% of races despite the fact they were only actually fielding 40% of festival runners, which gives an idea of the level of improvement in performance for Irish horses and jockeys in recent years gone by.

In the same year, the overall record for Irish to trained horses to British was 23-5 in favour of the Paddies, with the top trainers being Willie Mullins and Henry De Bromhead, both of whom are Irish.

Surprisingly though, British trainers still dominate the top ten table for all-time trainers, with seven of the ten being British. Irishman Willie Mullins is the most successful of all-time with 78 winning horses. British legend Nicky Henderson is not far behind in second with 70 winning horses.

Can the Irish continue their recent dominance and guide more horses to victory once again this year at the 2022 Cheltenham festival?

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