Four jockeys waiting for their first Cheltenham Festival victory
Riding a winner at the Cheltenham Festival is considered by most jockeys to be the pinnacle of their careers but there are some big names who are waiting for their first success at Prestbury Park in March. Here are four riders who have yet to strike at the big meeting.
Leighton Aspell has won the Grand National twice thanks to Pineau De Re and Many Clouds but has yet to enjoy victory at the festival. A Grade 1 winner with United in the 2005 Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown, Aspell has not had the best of fortune at the meeting, but more recently finished second on Deputy Dan in the 2014 Albert Bartlett after leading going to the second-last.
Adam Wedge has built up a fruitful partnership with Evan Williams and had one of the biggest wins of his career on Court Minstrel in the 2013 Scottish Champion Hurdle. Wedge has also built up an excellent rapport with the talented Silver Streak, a 25-1 shot for the Unibet Champion Hurdle.
James Bowen has already achieved a huge amount after only turning professional in May 2017 but the Welsh National-winning rider will be hoping he can better last year's defeat in the Ultima Handicap Chase when he finished a head second on Shantou Flyer behind Coo Star Sivola. The 17-year-old has some powerful backing in the shape of Nicky Henderson and has enjoyed more big-race success this season, including with Supreme Novices' Hurdle hope Mister Fisher, a general 10-1 shot for the opening contest, and French recruit Valtor.
David Mullins has won the Punchestown Gold Cup and Savills Chase on Gold Cup contenders Bellshill and Kemboy and is likely to pick up an enviable book of rides as an important member of the all-conquering Willie Mullins team. The trainer, who has yet to saddle the Gold Cup winner, looks likely to run four runners in this year's race and it could be worth keeping an eye on David Mullins' mount.
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