Jockey Charlie Swan rode his first Cheltenham Festival winner on the Mouse Morris trained Trapper John in the 1990 World Hurdle. While his career includes big wins over fences in an Irish Grand National win on Ebony Jane and a Champion Chase on Viking Flagship it continued to be over hurdles that he had most Cheltenham success. Of his 17 Cheltenham Festival winning rides 14 were over the smaller obstacles.
Charlie was twice leading rider at the Festival landing that prize with 4 winners in 1993 and 3 in 1994.
Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (1993 Fissure Seal)
3 Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdles (1994 Danoli, 1996 Urubande and 1997 Istabraq)
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (1994 Time For A Run)
3 Champion Hurdles (1998, 1999 and 2000 Istabraq)
Cheltenham Festival Bumper Wins (2)
2 Champion Bumpers (1994 Mucklemeg and 2000 Joe Cullen)
Cheltenham Festival Chase Wins (1)
Champion Chase (1995 Viking Flagship)
Charlie Swan rode his first winner at the age of 15 on his father Donald’s Final Assault in a two-year-old maiden at Naas in March 1983. After a successful spell as an apprentice on the Flat, he turned his attention to the National Hunt scene.
He won his first Irish jockeys' championship in 1989/90 and retained that title for nine successive years up to and including the 1997/8 season. In the middle of that sequence Swan had a (still) record 147 winners in Ireland in 1995-6. He was understandly much in demand and his biography says he turned down offers from leading English trainers Martin Pipe and Nicky Henderson during this time.
Charlie Swan was the first jump jockey based in Ireland to win over 1,000 races. In all he won 1,188 under NH rules (1,127 in Ireland, 61 in UK). His career tally including flat race wins amounted to 1,312 victories.
The odds for Leading Rider at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival are tabled below: