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With a remarkable fifteen winners in the last three years and a total of 32 wins to date, Ruby Walsh is the most successful jockey in the history of the Cheltenham Festival. 

He has been leading jockey at six of the last eight Festivals and in 2011 won five races, including both of the championship hurdle races with Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle and Big Buck's in the World Hurdle - a rare double only once achieved before, by John Francombe in 1981 aboard Sea Pigeon and Derring Rose.

Champion jockey Tony McCoy is now up to 25 triumphs courtesy of two more victories in 2011. He was also leading Cheltenham rider in both 1997 and 1998.

Barry Geraghty has 20 Festival wins to his name, ahead of Richard Johnson with 17 winners and Robert Thornton with 16.

THE MOST SUCCESSFUL CURRENT JOCKEYS AT THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL

32 Ruby Walsh
25 Tony McCoy
20 Barry Geraghty
17 Richard Johnson
16 Robert Thornton
11 Paul Carberry
8 Davy Russell
8 Timmy Murphy
6 Paddy Brennan
5 Graham Lee
4 Miss Nina Carberry
3 Andrew Thornton
3 Mr J T McNamara

The Leading Rider Award is a prestigious prize for the most successful jockey at each Festival and provides an added element of competition at Cheltenham in addition to the 27 top-class races. A P McCoy, Richard Johnson, Barry Geraghty, Mick FitzGerald, Robert Thornton and Graham Lee have all won the award, although it is Ruby Walsh who has dominated recently.

The previous winners of the Leading Rider Award are listed below:

2011 Ruby Walsh         
2010 Ruby Walsh         
2009 Ruby Walsh         
2008 Ruby Walsh         
2007 Robert Thornton
2006 Ruby Walsh         
2005 Graham Lee         
2004 Ruby Walsh         
2003 Barry Geraghty         
2002 Richard Johnson
2000 Mick FitzGerald
1999 Mick FitzGerald
1998 Tony McCoy         
1997 Tony McCoy         
1996 Richard Dunwoody
1995 Norman Williamson
1994 Charlie Swan         
1993 Charlie Swan         
1992 Jamie Osborne         
1991 Peter Scudamore
1990 Richard Dunwoody
1989 Tom Morgan         
1988 Simon Sherwood
1987 Peter Scudamore
1986 Peter Scudamore
1985 Steve Smith Eccles
1984 Jonjo O'Neill         
1983 Graham Bradley
1982 Jonjo O'Neill         
1981 John Francome         
1980 Jim Wilson         

THE MOST SUCCESSFUL JOCKEYS AT THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL SINCE 1945

Only a select band of jockeys have had ten or more Cheltenham Festival winners, although honourable mentions should go to Graham Bradley and Mark Dwyer, who both rode nine. In 2010 Ruby Walsh overtook the legendary Pat Taaffe, who rode four Gold Cup and five Champion Chase winners:

32 Ruby Walsh
25 Tony McCoy
25 Pat Taaffe
20 Barry Geraghty
18 Richard Dunwoody
17 Richard Johnson
17 Charlie Swan
17 Fred Winter
16 Robert Thornton
16 Tommy Carberry
14 Mick Fitzgerald
13 Peter Scudamore
11 Jamie Osborne
11 Norman Williamson
11 Paul Carberry
10 John Francombe

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