Five Female Riders To Watch Out For At The Cheltenham Festival

Lisa O’Neill

A key cog in the Gordon Elliott team, amateur rider Lisa is no stranger to success as she regularly partners the County Meath trainer’s horses into the Winners’ Enclosure in her native Ireland.

With Elliott all set to lead his small army of top class jumpers to the Gloucestershire track, Lisa will certainly pick up a number of nice rides in some of the bigger handicaps and in the three races exclusively open to amateur riders; the Foxhunter Chase, the National Hunt Chase and the Kim Muir.

She has one previous win at the Festival to her name; partnering future Grand National winner Tiger Roll to victory in the 2017 renewal of the National Hunt Chase.

Lizzie Kelly

A trailblazer for women in the sport, Lizzie Kelly will be bidding to emulate her success last year when she gained her first Cheltenham winner aboard Coo Star Sivola in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

2019 could well be the year that she claims a Cheltenham winner aboard her much-loved partner, Tea for Two. The duo lined up in both the 2017 and 2018 Gold Cups and although neither renewal saw them to best effect, the duo have Grade 1-winning form together and will be hopeful that they can get back to winning ways in this year’s Cross Country Chase, a race won last year by Tiger Roll.

Rachel Blackmore

Rachel might be a name lesser known to the British sporting public; but she’s been blazing a trail of her own in Ireland for a number of seasons. So much so that the County Tipperary native is currently fighting it out with Paul Townend to be crowned Irish Champion Jockey.

She’s ridden for a plethora of top Irish trainers including Willie Mullins; but it’s Henry De Bromhead who has provided the springboard for her rise to the top.

During this year’s Festival she will be hoping to make her mark on British soil. The general feeling is that she will again partner Monalee, a 4/1 shot in the Ryanair Chase. In addition, she will take the ride of well-fancied Honeysuckle on Thursday in the Grade 2 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. This sweet-sounding mare comes off the back of a comfortable Grade 3 win last time out and would have every chance of propelling her to Festival glory.

Bryony Frost

This jockey needs no introduction. A household name amongst racing fans and a role model for all female representatives in the industry. A solitary Festival winner aboard Pacha Du Polder in 2017 stands out as a Cheltenham highlight to date, but Frost will no doubt have grand plans to add to that tally next week.

Her most notable ride of the Festival looks to be with Frodon. The duo are long-time partners are a general 6/1 shot in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. Furthermore, as a Conditional jockey to the powerful Paul Nicholls yard, there are likely a number of nice rides she may well pick up during the four day festival.

Bridget Andrews

Still riding the crest of a wave following her maiden Cheltenham Festival victory last year aboard the Dan Skelton-trained Mohaayed, Bridget will be looking for further winner in 2019.

Still closely connected to the Skelton team, Andrews will no doubt have a couple of nice rides when she takes to the track again this year. One of which comes in the form of last year’s winner Mohaayed who has entries in the both the Champion Hurdle and the County Handicap Hurdle.

Between the five of them they certainly have a chance at creating yet more history at the most prestigious Festival of them all, Cheltenham.

If you are yet to see the International Women’s Day video including featured Jockey’s Lizzie Kelly and Bridget Andrews, take a look below!


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