Rising Jockey Star Michael O’Sullivan on the Winning Road to the Cheltenham Festival

Posted 6 months ago in More

BIMM May 29 – Jul 5 – Desktop

Horse racing is one of Ireland’s favorite pastimes. It seems that there is little the Irish love more than watching well trained riders race through the tracks on well-bred horses. When looking at the data, we could see that Ireland is one of the countries where horse riding is most popular. So, it isn’t much of a surprise to learn that some of the best jockeys in the world come from Ireland. 

Who is Michael O’Sullivan

One such jockey is Mr. Michael O’Sullivan. The rising jockey star has recently won his first Grade One race only last week. This victory has brought him one step closer towards Cheltenham. The Cheltenham Festival is, of course, one of the United Kingdom’s most popular horse racing events. 

But what many of you might not know is that Cheltenham is incredibly popular among the Irish population. In fact, taking a look at the top Cheltenham Festival trainers reveals that quite a lot of them are Irish. And the same is true for many of the top Cheltenham jockeys, which soon may include Mr. O’Sullivan. 

Michael O’Sullivan has, thus far, won over 30 races. He mostly competes in Hurdles; of which he has won 13. Apart from that, he has also won 8 Chase races, and 10 National Hunt flat races. Not to mention, Mr. O’Sullivan has also come in 2nd and 3rd place a combined total of 56 times. Overall, his winning percentage is around 8%, which puts him in the higher echelon of jockeys living today.

Michael O’Sullivan’s Road to Cheltenham

Certainly, Mr. O’Sullivan has a ton of backers and supporters who want to see him at Cheltenham. And after his recent trial win, his shot at Cheltenham is bigger than ever. Just last week, O’Sullivan and Sole Pretender teamed up to win the rider’s first ever Grade One.

Sole Pretender and O’Sullivan certainly make a great team. They’ve won several competitions together, and are expected to take Cheltenham, as they are Norman Lee’s best team. Certainly, right now, they remain one of Ireland’s top teams. However, their participation in Cheltenham entirely depends on whether next year’s festival will even take place.

Is Cheltenham Taking Place in 2023?

It seems that the festival is having some trouble. As ponies faithful will know, quite a few of the most notable events of 2022 have either been delayed or have seen a lack of horses, in large part due to poor weather. The reason thus far has been attributed to a draught. The lack of rains paired with the intense heat has led to the tracks being too dry for certain horses to compete. Fearing injury, the trainers have pulled their animals from quite a few important matches.

And there is a possibility that Cheltenham might suffer the same faith. Weather forecasts are suggesting that temperatures will take a dip in the winter. The dry cold might lead to further damage of the tracks. However, even if we can’t have memorable festival moments at Cheltenham, we can, at the very least, enjoy the memorable moments before the festival. Christmas celebrations, New Year parties, and spending time with our families this winter is what truly matters.

Michael O’Sullivan and Sole Pretender

Before the event moves forward, Doncaster will be holding a 9.30 inspection. Should they give a green light, Michael O’Sullivan will have a chance to progress further in the competition. The rider’s skill can be attributed to several things. He is clearly skilled and disciplined. But most importantly, he is paired up with a fantastic horse in Sole Pretender.

Sole Pretender, an 8-year-old Gelding has a 45% success rate. He has won 9 out of the 20 races in which he has competed. Most recently, his big success was Saturday’s handicap race. Now that he is paired up with Michael O’Sullivan, the horse might just go down in history as one of the best of his era. Sole Pretender has quite a bit of experience at Cheltenham, as his last two starts happened at that very festival. 


Fans of horse racing are eagerly awaiting more news on the Cheltenham Festival. We are hoping that the inspections will have a positive result. After all, we all want to see Mr. O’Sullivan and Sole Pretender take the stage. However, as always, the safety of the horses and jockeys comes first. So, while it may be disappointing, we have to accept the results of the inspection, for better or worse.


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