The Leading Trainer Award is always competitive with trainers representing Great Britain, Ireland and France aiming for the prize. Willie Mullins capped a memorable 2011 Cheltenham Festival by winning the award for the first time, with four winners and established himself as one of the great in 2013 with 5 winners. Mullins is is the first Irish trainer to take the title since Edward O'Grady shared the award in 1996.
Paul Nicholls has dominated in recent years, having taken the prize at four consecutive Festivals and six times in total (1999, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009).
Previous winners of the Leading Trainer Award are listed below:
2013 Willie Mullins 5
2012 Nicky Henderson 6
2011 Willie Mullins 4
2010 Nicky Henderson 3
2009 Paul Nicholls 5
2008 Paul Nicholls 3
2007 Paul Nicholls 4
2006 Paul Nicholls 3
2005 Howard Johnson 3
2004 Paul Nicholls 4
2003 Jonjo O’Neill 3
2002 Martin Pipe 3
2000 Nicky Henderson 4
1999 Paul Nicholls 3
1998 Martin Pipe 4
1997 Martin Pipe 4
1996 Ferdy Murphy, Edward O’Grady, Martin Pipe 2
1995 David Nicholson 3
1994 David Nicholson, Edward O’Grady, Martin Pipe 2
1993 Nicky Henderson, Martin Pipe, Nigel Twiston-Davies 2
1992 Nicky Henderson, David Nicholson, Simon Sherwood 2
1991 Martin Pipe 3
1990 Nicky Henderson 2
1989 Toby Balding, John Edwards, David Elsworth, Josh Gifford, Martin Pipe 2
1988 Josh Gifford 3
1987 Toby Balding, Nicky Henderson, Fred Winter 2
1986 Nicky Henderson 3
1985 Nicky Henderson 3
1984 Michael Dickinson 3
1983 Michael Dickinson 3
1982 Michael Dickinson, Fulke Walwyn 2
1981 Peter Easterby 3
1980 John Edwards, Edward O’Grady, Bob Turnell, Fred Winter 2
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TRAINERS OF ALL-TIME AT THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL
Fulke Walwyn's record of 40 winners at the Cheltenham Festival between 1946 and 1986 still stands. He trained the winners of four Gold Cups and two Champion Hurdles throughout his illustrious career and is commemorated in the title of the Fulke Walwyn, Kim Muir Memorial Chase at the Festival.
Martin Pipe saddled 34 Festival winners, starting with the 66-1 shot Baron Blakeney's victory over red-hot favourite Broadsword in the 1981 Triumph Hurdle. His other Festival winners included two Champion Hurdles with Granville Again in 1993 and novice Make A Stand in 1997, though victory in the Gold Cup eluded him (Rushing Wild came second in 1993). He retired after the 2006 Festival, handing over the reins to son, David Pipe, who already has five Festival victories to his name. The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival named in his honour.
Also of note is Fred Winter with 28 Festival winners and the only person to have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Grand National as both jockey and trainer. In fact, he won the Gold Cup twice as a jockey and as for the Champion Hurdle, he won that a staggering three times as a jockey and four times as a trainer. He is also remembered at Cheltenham with the naming of the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle.
No trainer has ever won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase in the same season or the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle in the same season. Jim Dreaper won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Queen Mother Champion Chase and World Hurdle in 1975 with Ten Up, Lough Inagh and Brown Lad respectively. Paul Nicholls won the Gold Cup, Queen Mother Champion Chase and World Hurdle in 2009 with Kauto Star, Master Minded and Big Buck's.