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 2024 Cheltenham Festival
The top trainer for the last five Cheltenham Festivals, Willie Mullins will bring over a team the envy of every trainer in Britain and Ireland. This unparalleled power may well guarantee him a fourth straight trainers’ title at the meeting, with the likes of Galopin Des Champs, Lossiemouth, El Fabiolo and Ballyburn among his very best chances.
With just three winners at the Festival last year, Gordon Elliott will be determined 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 Gerri Colombe, Delta Work, Irish Point and Teahupoo could give him chances of significant success.
The main man tasked with restoring British pride after a spell of Irish dominance 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 with the likes of Constitution Hill, Shishkin and Jonbon give him top chances in a few of the big races.
Henry De Bromhead
Henry De Bromhead holds the record as being the only trainer in history to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup all in the same year in 2021. He won the Gold Cup for a second successive season in 2022, that time with A Plus Tard. He has some big names again at this year’s festival, including Envoi Allen, Slade Steel and Minella Indo, with the last-named running for the first time in the Cross Country Chase.
Six times the Top Trainer at this meeting, Paul Nicholls failed to have a single winner at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. Having won the top prize every year from 2006 to 2009 in the glory days of Kauto Star and Denman, he will want to build on his pair of winners from last season, who were his first for three years. This season, he has the likes of Stage Star, Captain Teague and Ginny’s Destiny among his best chances for a winner at the Festival.
Current Rankings – Top 20 Trainers in Cheltenham Festival History
94 Willie Mullins (Ire)
73 Nicky Henderson
48 Paul Nicholls
40 Fulke Walwyn
37 Gordon Elliott (Ire)
34 Martin Pipe
28 Fred Winter
27 Fred Rimell
26 Jonjo O’Neill
26 Tom Dreaper (Ire)
23 Vincent O’Brien (Ire)
23 Bob Turnell
22 Ivor Anthony
21 Henry De Bromhead
20 Philip Hobbs
19 George Beeby
18 Edward O’Grady (Ire)
17 David Nicholson
17 Nigel Twiston-Davies
15 Alan King
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 2024 Cheltenham Festival.
He is a short-priced favourite to be crowned top trainer at the meeting for the 11th time and for the sixth season in succession. With the raft of talent at his disposal, it is easy to justify his skinny price. Last year saw him land another six winners over the four days, including the Gold Cup with Galopin Des Champs.
Gordon Elliott is another Irish trainer with a wealth of talent at his disposal and he will surely be amongst the winners again this year. Other notable trainers who could boost their Cheltenham Festival winner numbers include Nicky Henderson, Henry De Bromhead and Paul Nicholls. It’s worth noting that Henry De Bromhead is the only ever trainer to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup at the same festival, landing the feat in 2021.
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, and established himself as one of the greats by claiming it a second time in 2013 with 5 winners. Mullins was the first Irish trainer to take that particular title at Cheltenham since Edward O’Grady shared the award in 1996.
Focusing on British trainer, Paul Nicholls dominated in the early 2000s, 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
2023 Willie Mullins 6
2022 Willie Mullins 10
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?
Willie Mullins sits comfortably clear as the most successful Cheltenham Festival trainer of all time, with 94 winners. Next up is Nicky Henderson with 73 winners, whilst Paul Nicholls is currently third with 48 winners.
Fulke Walwyn’s record of 40 winners at the Cheltenham Festival between 1946 and 1986 sees him as the fourth most successful trainer in the history of the meeting. 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.
The only trainer to have ever won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, and Queen Mother Champion Chase in the same season was Henry De Bromhead, who wrote his name in the history books in 2021 courtesy of Put The Kettle On, Honeysuckle and Minella Indo. 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.