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Top Cheltenham Festival Jockeys: Johnny Haine
Fri, Jan 3rd, 2014

Johnny Haine won 9 Cheltenham Festival races between 1963 and 1973 with his biggest win coming in the 1966 Champion Hurdle on the Bob Turnell trained Salmon Spray. He was acknowledged as the most stylish rider of his time with Brough Scott commenting in a Horse and Hound piece in 2011:

What should come first – how good the rider looks or how well the horse is going? Of course it should be the latter but in all disciplines but most especially in racing "the outward visible sign" of jockeyship, to sacrilegiously borrow a religious term at Christmas time, is too often put in front of "the inward spiritual grace" of horsemanship.

It always has and it is getting worse. In my pre replay, pre ATR and RUK day (40 years ago god help me), all we had was pictures in the Horse and Hound and in the newspaper. Now every aspiring rider also gorges on the internet and berates themselves like some tortured anorexic that they don't ride as short, and poised and "stylish" as their heroes. Back then we just had to look at our reflection as we walked, crouched over the mane, past cottage windows. Then we dreamed of being Johnny Haine.

Johnny Haine who died far too young in 1998, was the artist of his era. He brought forward-balanced, short-stirrup flat race poise to the longer-leathered more upright jumping stance. On Salmon Spray in the 1966 Champion Hurdle he made Pat Taafe and Flyingbolt look like a policeman on a plough horse, but even more amazing to those of us who battled alongside him, he rode with his toe in the iron and kept so forward during the jump that he didn't need to slip his reins. He even did it round Aintree on Charter Flight in The Topham. We worshipped him.

But we shouldn't have. For Johnny was indeed an artist, a one off. He did things his own way and if horses did not run for it, too bad. But he could do it because he had freakish balance and understanding. To imitate him was to lock yourself into your own inadequacy, it was absolutely putting how you looked in front of how best to ride.

There is a short clip of that 1966 Champion Hurdle ( thanks to mimbrenos on youtube) in the middle section of this video:

It should be pointed out that Flying Bolt won the Champion Chase the day before losing out to Salmon Spray !

Johnny Haine Cheltenham Festival Wins (9)

Race

Year

Horse

Age

Trainer

Supreme Novices Div 2

1963

Buona Notte

6

Bob Turnell

RSA Chase

1964

Buona Notte

7

Bob Turnell

Festival Trophy

1965

Rondetto

9

Bob Turnell

Champion Hurdle

1966

Salmon Spray

8

Bob Turnell

Supreme Novices Div 1

1967

Chorus

6

Harry Thomson Jones

Supreme Novices Div 2

1971

Barnard

7

Fulke Walwyn

Festival Trophy

1971

Lord Jim

10

Fulke Walwyn

Triumph

1973

Moonlight Bay

4

Ryan Price

Mildmay of Flete

1973

Vulgan Town

7

Toby Balding

The odds for Leading Rider at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival are tabled below:

Thomas Pink Cheltenham Festival

Leading Rider Award 2014

Odds Table at 16/02/14

FREE BET OFFER - UP TO £200 £25 £50 £25 £50 £10 £30 £50
Ruby Walsh 4/7 4/7 4/7 1/2 4/7 4/7 8/15 8/11
Barry Geraghty 10/3 4 3 4 9/2 4 7/2 11/4
A P McCoy 8 8 8 8 8 10 9 9
Bryan Cooper 14 14 16 14 14 16 16 12
Daryl Jacob 20 20 14 16 20 20 16 12
Sam Twiston-Davies 20 20 20 20 16 25 20 14
Richard Johnson 25 33 33 33 20 33 33 33
Tom Scudamore 33 33 33 33 25 40 40 33
Noel Fehily 33 33 33 33 20 50 33 33
Paul Townend 33 50 33 40 50 50 33 25
Jason Maguire 50 50 50 50 33 50 50 40
Aidan Coleman 50 66 - - 50 66 50 66
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