Barry Geraghty’s loss could well be either Noel Fehily or Mark Walsh’s gain at this year’s Cheltenham Festival with the JP McManus pair picking up some top rides as a result of the Irish jockey missing this year’s event following a fall at Kempton.
And while we’ll all miss watching Bazza in action, you can’t deny the opportunities his enforced absence has afforded his two compatriots.
Fehily is set to partner two of the Festival’s four championship race favourites with Champion Hurdle jolly Buveur D’Air and Stayers’ Hurdle hotpot Unowhatimeanharry his plum rides.
He’ll also be getting the leg up on Neon Wolf, the Harry Fry-trained charge with leading claims in both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Neptune Novices’ Hurdle.
With so much talent at his disposal we’ve been forced to slash the odds on Fehily claiming the 2017 Top Jockey gong from 20/1 to 8/1.
Walsh is available at the same price – despite the fact he’s yet to enjoy a Festival winner in 19 previous attempts and has only recorded just three victories from 44 rides in Britain.
However, it’d be unwise to rule out his chances of beating the likes of Fehily and reigning Presbury Park king, Ruby Walsh.
The latter’s namesake will accompany Alan King’s Champion Hurdle hopeful, Yanworth, as well as Uxizandre in the Ryanair Chase. Jezki (Stayers’ Hurdle) and More of That (Gold Cup) are his other two big bookings.
Meanwhile, Ruby remains the 1/2 favourite to defend his Top Jockey crown and claim the accolade for a 10th time in the last 13 seasons.
Latest Ladbrokes Betting:
2017 Cheltenham Top Jockey
Ruby Walsh – 1/2
Noel Fehily – 8/1
Mark Walsh – 8/1
Bryan Cooper – 10/1
Sam Twiston-Davies – 10/1
Click here for the latest 2017 Cheltenham Top Jockey odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing