We’re less than a month away from the ‘World Cup of Jumps Racing’, the 2022 Cheltenham Festival. The four-day festival is one of the highlights of the National Hunt calendar, attracting the best stayers and steeplechasers across the UK, Ireland and beyond.
Already the ante-post markets are hotting up, with leading tipsters like Andy Holding combing through the pre-race data to pinpoint the top Cheltenham betting trends and odds movements to help you get the best value for your picks.
One of the most popular methods for picking winners at the Cheltenham Festival is based on the trainers of each horse.
There is significant competition among horse racing trainers to finish at the top of the pile at the end of the festival as the most successful trainer.
In years gone by, British trainers have dominated largely at Cheltenham, but more recently the Irish contingent have started to get a hold of the festival.
If you’re someone that likes to bet on horses prepared by a certain trainer, let’s look at five of the leading trainers expected to be in the winner’s enclosure on a regular basis at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
Irish trainer Willie Mullins is considered the undisputed king of Cheltenham. With 57 race wins in 499 races, he is far and away the most successful trainer at this racecourse.
In addition to the 57 winners, Mullins has also seen 157 entries placed at Cheltenham.
At the 2021 Festival, Mullins was crowned top trainer for a seventh time, and he’ll be confident of making that eight with a prevailing wind this year.
Gordon Elliott is widely regarded as the number-two in command in terms of leading trainers at Cheltenham.
Despite his license ban last year, Elliott is set to return to the 2022 Festival and appears to have been active in recent auctions.
The Gigginstown Stud is one of the most prolific in the UK and Ireland, but it has sold some of its most impressive performers, notably Sir Gerhard to rival Willie Mullins.
With Tiger Roll also ageing, there is a feeling that Elliott may struggle for the top trainer crown this year.
Henry De Bromhead
The Henry De Bromhead-trained Minella Times won the 2021 Grand National with Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore on board.
De Bromhead is a trainer with impressive National Hunt pedigree and has 15 Cheltenham Festival winners to his name, the last coming in 2021 when Quilixios cleaned up in the Triumph Hurdle.
Last year’s Gold Cup saw De Bromhead secure a 1-2 with Minella Indo and A Plus Tard, with both likely to run again in 2022.
One of De Bromhead’s most intriguing horses is Honeysuckle, who is one of the most impressive hurdling mares in the sport at present. Honeysuckle will be bidding for a second win in the Champion Hurdle.
Alongside Gordon Elliott, Nicky Henderson is up there as one of the leading challengers to Willie Mullins’ Cheltenham crown. Henderson has amassed 31 wins at Cheltenham from 343 races.
This is one more than Elliott, although Elliott’s 30 Cheltenham victories have been achieved in just 208 races.
Henderson is the lead British trainer in the world of National Hunt racing. The 2021 Festival proved to be a disappointment for Henderson, with both of his main hopes fading fast in the Gold Cup.
This year, Henderson may not have some of his seasoned stars like Altior and Santini to call upon, with his novices more likely to make the headlines in 2022.
Dan Skelton is one of the most talked about up-and-coming trainers and could even be in contention for the top trainer gong at Cheltenham this year.
Having worked under the tutelage of successful trainer Paul Nicholls for nine years, Skelton formed his own stables in Warwickshire back in 2013.
The brother of champion jockey Harry, Skelton already has four wins at Cheltenham in the bag, with two coming in 2019.
If he’s prepared to enter prospects in some of the handicaps and steer clear of the higher Grade 1 races, Skelton could rack up quite a few wins to his name this March.