Cheltenham Champions Nominated For March Jockey Of The Month
Jockeys Harry Skelton, Paul Townend and Barry Geraghty have all been nominated for March’s Jockey of the Month following their outstanding performances during the prestigious Cheltenham Festival.
In light of the coronavirus outbreak it has been agreed by the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and Great British Racing, and with the consent of all three jockeys that the full £2,500 of prize money available for this month’s competition will be donated to the Jockeys Association Trust – a fund designated to provide jockeys with support during the pandemic.
Paul Struthers, CEO of the PJA said, “This is an incredibly difficult time for many people across the country at the moment and within racing, and especially for jockeys, the majority of whom are self-employed. It’s therefore incredibly sporting of Harry, Paul and Barry to agree that this month’s prize money be used for the good of all jockeys in the weighing room via the Jockeys’ Association Trust which will fund the first tranche of the Jockeys Hardship Grant Fund, details of which we’re finalising right nowd.”
For all information on each Jockey’s thoughts and respective acheivments this month continue to scroll down.
For all information on their respective month’s continue to read below.
Skelton’s standout victory during the month came in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on day two of The Festival, (Wednesday 11th March) where he stormed to victory with the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue, in what was his first ride in the Grade 1 race.
A superb performance by Politologue to win the Champion Chase
— Great British Racing (@GBRacing) March 11, 2020
Discussing that victory, Skelton said: “It was a massive win for me personally, on my first ride in the race, and to do it for Paul Nicholls and the Owners, it’s funny how it all came together. I started off at Paul’s, so to have now won such a big race for him proves all the hard work pays off.”
On being nominated, he said: “It’s great to be nominated, I have enjoyed another fantastic season and winning the jockey of the month competition would top it off.”
Townend enjoyed another sensational Cheltenham Festival, retaining the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup with Al Boum Photo and clinching the top jockey prize following his five victories.
What a special horse! Back-to-back Gold Cup's! 🏆🏆
A hugely brave run from Santini who just couldnt quite get there! pic.twitter.com/XIWSzRZTmz
— Great British Racing (@GBRacing) March 13, 2020
On this year’s victory, the 29-year-old said: “It was huge – to win one Cheltenham Gold Cup is every jockey’s dream come true, so to win two back-to-back is amazing and very hard to come by. I didn’t think anything would beat last year’s win but to retain the Gold Cup felt really special.”
Townend secured another four wins during The Festival – opening his account aboard Ferny Hollow in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper on Wednesday 11th March, which was then followed by victory in the Ryanair Chase with Min the next day.
Townend continued: “It was a fantastic few days with five great wins. Monkfish looks a great horse for the future, and the win with Min was special, he deserved a big day at Cheltenham. I actually didn’t realise I was top jockey, as you get lost in the moment, so it came as a surprise, but it was a truly special feeling.”
Geraghty also enjoyed a rewarding Festival, equalling Townend’s total of five wins, however he missed out on the top jockey prize due to him riding less places than Townend.
The 40-year-old opened his account with a win on the first day of The Festival (Tuesday 10th March) aboard Epatante in the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy – a win that saw Geraghty join Ruby Walsh and Tim Molony as the only jockeys to have four successes in the race’s history. Geraghty then secured a double on the Wednesday with a scintillating comeback victory aboard Champ in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase followed by Dame De Compagnie in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle.
A superstar! The mare Epatante wins the Champion Hurdle 🏆
— Great British Racing (@GBRacing) March 10, 2020
The Irish-based jockey then went on to clinch victory in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle with the Gordon Elliot-trained Sire Du Berlais on Thursday 12th March, before securing his fifth win of The Festival aboard Saint Roi in the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle on the final day.
Geraghty said: “It was a fantastic week and I was delighted to get the ball rolling on the first day with Epatante. It’s always a relief to get that first win of the Festival, and to get that on the opening day in the feature race was great.
“The win with Champ was an obvious highlight – it was a brilliant, hard-fought performance from the horse and it was great to celebrate with everyone after, especially young Archie McCoy, he’s a great kid.”