CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TRAINERS

Looking for information on the most successful trainers in the history of Cheltenham Festival? Well, look no further, because our expert writers and racing gurus have compiled all the information you need to read up on the best trainers to grace the Cheltenham races – past and present.

Scroll on down and see who the best trainers currently, and who holds the all-time records….

Top Trainers at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival

Willie Mullins

The top trainer for the last three Cheltenham Festivals, Willie Mullins will bring over a team the envy of every trainer in Britain and Ireland. In half of the markets for the 28 races, Mullins holds either the outright or joint favourite. This unparalleled power may well guarantee him a fourth straight trainers’ title at the meeting, with the likes of Allaho, Facile Vega, Sir Gerhard and Vauban among his very best chances.

Gordon Elliott

Officially absent from last year’s Festival when Denise Foster briefly took the reins, Gordon Elliott will be looking to renew combat with Mullins for the trainers’ title. His yard claimed the most winners in both 2017 and 2018. Though he may not possess quite the number of favourites as his great rival, the likes of Minella Crooner, Pied Piper and Galvin could give him chances of significant success, especially on the Friday.

Henry De Bromhead

Henry De Bromhead was only pipped to the Top Trainer award in 2021 in the final race of the Festival. Galopin Des Champs’ victory in the Martin Pipe handicap hurdle secured a sixth win for Mullins that drew him level with De Bromhead. On countback, that was enough for Mullins to win, but De Bromhead claimed the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup in 2021. A repeat of any of those successes would be a prized scalp once again for him.

Nicky Henderson

The main man tasked with restoring British pride after last year’s mauling is Nicky Henderson. He has won or shared the Top Trainer prize on nine occasions, the most recent when he saddles six winners in 2012. He would be lucky to see that number again this term, but the likes of Constitution Hill, Shishkin and Champ give him top chances in a few of the big races.

Paul Nicholls

Six time the Top Trainer at this meeting, Paul Nicholls is set to have his smallest team at Cheltenham for a number of years this season. He won the top prize every year from 2006 to 2009 in the glory days of Kauto Star and Denman. This season, the veteran Politologue and younger pretenders such as Stage Star and Bravemansgame join Hunter Chaser Bob And Co among his best chances.

Current Rankings – Top 25 Trainers in Cheltenham Festival History

78 Willie Mullins (Ire)

70 Nicky Henderson

46 Paul Nicholls

40 Fulke Walwyn

34 Martin Pipe

28 Fred Winter

27 Fred Rimell

27 Jonjo O’Neill

26 Tom Dreaper (Ire)

25 Gordon Elliott (Ire)

23 Vincent O’Brien (Ire)

23 Bob Turnell

22 Ivor Anthony

20 Philip Hobbs

19 George Beeby

18 Edward O’Grady (Ire)

17 David Nicholson

17 Nigel Twiston-Davies

15 Alan King

15 David Pipe

Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer odds

It will be no surprise to many that Willie Mullins is the current favourite to be the top trainer at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.

He is a best priced 1/2 favourite to be crowned top trainer at the meeting for the ninth time and for the fourth season in succession. With the raft of talent at his disposal, it is easy to justify his skinny price.

However, he was pushed all the way last season by Henry De Bromhead and only claimed the top trainer title in the final race of the meeting. De Bromhead broke records himself last season, becoming the first handler to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup at the same Festival.

Leading Trainer Awards History

The Leading Trainer Award is always competitive with Cheltenham 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 the first Irish trainer to take the title at the Cheltenham racecourse 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 Leading Trainer Award Winners

2021 Willie Mullins 6

2020 Willie Mullins 7

2019 Willie Mullins 4

2018 Gordon Elliott 8

2017 Gordon Elliott 6

2016 Willie Mullins 7

2015 Willie Mullins 8

2014 Willie Mullins 4

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

Who are the most successful Cheltenham festival trainers of all time?

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 a 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 amidst a pick of Cheltenham trainers 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, operating as one of the best Cheltenham festival trainers, won the Gold Cup, Queen Mother Champion Chase and World Hurdle in 2009 with Kauto Star, Master Minded and Big Bucks.