UK Jump Season: A Year in Review

With the conclusion of Saturday’s card at Sandown, the UK 2023 / 2024 jump season has come to an end and what a season it was, with plenty of talking points, here our winners and losers from a dramatic season of racing.


Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins managed to do what no Irish trainer has been able to do for 70 years and win the UK Trainers Championship. It’s a remarkable feat for the master trainer who was able to set himself up for victory thanks to victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Grand National and Scottish Grand National.

The top trainer at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, Mullins is clearly the elite trainer in jumps racing and has a stable of stars that are the envy of the industry.

Seemingly able to pick the perfect races and getting his horses into peak condition exactly when he needs them to be, Mullins’ grip on jump racing doesn’t look like ending any time soon.

Whether or not that is a good thing for the rest of the industry remains to be seen.

Dan Skelton 

In the face of much expected Irish dominance, it is British trainer Dan Skelton that can end this season holding his head high. 

The runner up to Willie Mullins in the UK Jumps Trainer championship, Skelton was the best of the British trainers at this year’s Cheltenham Festival and reminded everyone connected to British jumps racing that he has one of the best operations in Britain. 

Skelton deserves enormous credit for throwing the kitchen sink at Mullins and attempting to spoil his party but in the end it was a case of too little too late as Mullins clung onto the top spot.

Skelton has never finished as Britain’s top trainer but few would bet against him achieving the feat next season.

Dan Skelton

Harry Cobden

For several seasons Harry Cobden has held the best job in British racing as the stable jockey for legendary trainer, Paul Nicholls.

Nicholls who is used to dominating the British trainers championship would have to settle for third place in this year’s standings but his jockey was able to land his first ever UK jockeys crown.

Whilst it wasn’t the best of seasons for Cobden and Nicholls when it came to the year’s biggest races, the duo showed that once again they were almost unstoppable when it came to the season’s regular meetings. 

Like the race for the trainer’s title, the race to be crowned as the season’s top jockey went right down to the wire, with Cobden prevailing from rival Sean Bowen by seven winners.

The Grand National and Cheltenham Festivals 

Once again the Grand National and Cheltenham Festivals lived up to their billing and both produced some races which will live long in the memory.

Earning massive exposure thanks to the vast television audiences they both command, both festivals showed that they belong with the other elite sporting events that the UK host.

Both the Grand National and Aintree festivals are vital for the UK jump racing industry and it looks like both will continue to contribute for many years to come. 

Ben Pauling 

Ben Pauling has long been regarded as one of Britain’s most exciting young trainers and he enjoyed a memorable 2023/2024 campaign. 

With Pauling’s stable getting better by the year, he enjoyed a special Cheltenham Festival posting one victory and only being just denied a second. 

Whilst he still had some way to go before he can be considered as one of Britain’s elite trainers, he remains a trainer to keep an eye on next season


Irish dominance continues 

The last few seasons have seen a concerning trend where Irish racing has proved to be in a class of his own, leaving its British counterparts firmly in the dust.

The recent Cheltenham dominance of Irish horses continued once again as they won the majority of graded races at this year’s festival.

With Willie Mullins leading the way, Gordon Elliott, Emmet Mullins and a whole host of others  have helped Ireland dominate jumps racing and that trend looks set to continue. 

With all of the sport's richest owners choosing to operate in Ireland, Ireland’s dominance of jump racing’s biggest prizes looks set to continue for the next few years at least.

Nicky Henderson

It was a mixed season for one of Britain’s greatest ever jumps trainers, Nicky Henderson. A strong end to the season glossed over a miserable few months where his star studded stable was hit with an illness that took his campaign severely off the rails. 

With the illness sweeping through the yard just days before the 2024 Cheltenham Festival, Henderson left this year’s festival without a winner and was left cursing his luck. 

Still able to boast a stable that most could only dream of, Henderson will hope to jump to the forefront of British jumps racing once again next year.

Nicky Henderson

Paul Nicholls 

It might seem harsh to put Paul Nicholls in this category given that he finished third in the UK trainers standings but Nicholls isn’t interested in third place - only winning matters.

Able to post just one winner at the Cheltenham Festival, all of the Festival’s biggest prizes eluded him once again and he will be desperate to prove himself at the top table next season. 

Gordon Elliott

Just a few years ago it looked like Gordon Elliott was set to take the jumps racing scene by storm. 

Producing multiple Grade 1 winners, Elliott’s rise to the very top of the sport has been checked by Willie Mullins.

With Mullins dominant in both the UK and Ireland, Elliott has become somewhat of a forgotten man in jumps racing and will hope that he can re emerge as a major force for the industry’s biggest honours next season.