Ruby Walsh has dominated Cheltenham since winning top jockey for the first time way back in 2004. The Irishman has now won the honour a record ten times in the last thirteen years and at odds of 8/13 to be crowned top jockey again you’d think bettors would see this as a banker.
However, Oddschecker users have been backing Gigginstown’s top jockey Bryan Cooper to ruin the party for Ruby Walsh. Just over 60% of all bets placed placed in the last 24 hours on the Top Jockey market at Cheltenham have been on Bryan Cooper, compared to just 5% on Ruby Walsh.
Walsh still remains as short as 1/2 with some bookmakers, but that is comparatively long when you realise he was 1/3 back in January. Ruby is without Cheltenham bankers Vautour, Min, Annie Power this festival, but thanks to the strength of Willie Mullins stable he’ll still mount plenty of horses with a great chance of winning.
Bryan Cooper’s potential rides include Petit Mouchoir, A Toi Phil, Apple’s Jade, All Hell Let Loose, Shattered Love, Alpha Des Obeaux, Tombstone, Dinaria Des Obeaux, Disko, Sutton Manor, Empire Of Dirt, Lord Scoundrel, Barra, Death Duty, Outlanderc and Tell Us More to name a few.
Below we’ve taken Cooper’s and Walsh’s top five chances and looked at the odds, plus their support in the market:
|Ruby Walsh Rides||Odds||Percentage of bets (in 2017)||Bryan Cooper Rides||Odds||Percentage of bets (in 2017)|
|Vroum Vroum Mag||6/4||24%||Apple’s Jade||11/4||14%|
|Djakadam||9/2||9%||Empire Of Dirt||6/1||16%|
Despite the support coming for the Gigginstown jockey, Ruby Walsh is still a worthy favourite when you examine his rides. That said, it can be argued bookmakers have got too tied up with the connection between Ruby Walsh and Cheltenham. Walsh was 1/3 favourite for the same award last year with a much greater selection of horses. Cooper offers value at 10/1; these odds are expected to keep shortening as we get closer to the festival. The twitter account @oddsracing asked followers if Ruby Walsh was a back or a lay at 8/13 to be Top Jockey. Early indications showed 60% of people think he’s a lay at that price.
Another Walsh has also been backed in to pick up the award. Mark Walsh today announced he will ride Yanworth for the Champion Hurdle, causing his odds to shortened from 16/1 to as short as 6/1 with Boylesports and Paddy Power.
On Monday we have our 3rd live online preview and you can register here: Cheltenham 2017 Preview Show Join in the banter and obtain insights next Monday!