‘If you don’t get a kick out of a Cheltenham winner, you shouldn’t be in this sport’
After what seems like months of build-up and anticipation, the best 4 days on the calendar are almost here. After the success of last years article, I’m back with trends and stats for plenty of the Festival Grade 1’s to help you find the winners, so lets get started.
1.30pm The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle:
41 of the past 48 winners have been aged 5 or 6, while there have been just 3 winners aged 7yo+ in more than 20 years.
Constitution Hill, Dysart Dynamo and Jonbon are fine here along with many others, but its a concern for Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit.
10 of the past 11 winners all won last time out.
All of the market leaders meet this trend, but it’s something to bear in mind if you are planning on looking for an outsider.
Since 2013, only 1 winner has gone in to the race with an official rating of less than 150.
At the current time of writing, the Willie Mullins pair of Dysart Dynamo and Sir Gerhard are the only horses with a rating of 150, Constitution Hill is next best on 148.
Nearly 50% of the winners this century ran in a graded bumper at one of the previous years’ spring festivals.
Not a hugely strong trend, but this is a negative for the Nicky Henderson pair, whilst being a plus for Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit.
Just 1 winner this decade started off on the flat, the rest either started over hurdles in France, or in bumpers.
There are several horses at the current time of writing who are big prices that started out on the flat, if they turn up here, be cautious.
2.10pm Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy:
The past 11 winners were aged 6 or 7.
A positive for Blue Lord and many others, but not for current market leader Edwardstone.
Favourites have a great record, with 7 winning in the past decade.
While not meeting the age trend, this will be something to watch should Edwardstone remain strong in the market.
Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson have been responsible for 8 of the last 10 winners.
Respect Blue Lord, Haut En Couleurs and Saint Sam if they go here.
The race favours those who were previously high class over hurdles, with 7 of the last 10 boasting smart Graded form over timber.
Interestingly for an Arkle, none at the top of the betting won a Grade 1 over hurdles, but there are several that have run well and picked up a place. Blue Lord would have been runner-up in last years Supreme but for a fall.
3.30pm Unibet Champion Hurdle:
Only 2 horses aged 5 have won in the past 25 years whilst there has only been a single 9yo winner in recent history and the last horse to win aged 10yo+ was 1981. It’s best to focus on the horses aged 6 to 8.
A positive for many of the market leaders, but the 5yo’s Teahupoo, Zanahiyr and Adagio would need to buck a very strong trend.
Mares have now won 4 of the past 8 renewals
A positive recent trend is a good mare will beat the boys here, which bodes well for recent winners Honeysuckle and Epatante
8 last time out winners followed up here in the past decade.
The 4 at the top of the betting all won on their last start, but it’s a negative for Adagio,Zanahiyr and plenty of outsiders.
Recent history favours those with previous winning course form.
Teahupoo, Zanahiyr and Tommy’s Oscar fall short here.
There has been no winner in modern history of a horse winning a Champion Hurdle on their first start of the season.
A clear concern for Appreciate It, but Willie Mullins of course has previous with Quevega in the Mares during the last decade
1.30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle:
5 recent winners arrived here unbeaten over hurdles.
A negative for Sir Gerhard should he run here, as well as plenty of outsiders.
Challow Hurdle winners have had a tough time in following up here, the record now stands at 0-18.
This must be a concern for this seasons winner, Stage Star.
The last 10 winners had all won over at least 2m 4f.
Should any of the Mullins or Henderson horses at the top of the Supreme betting head here, this is a negative. Ginto, Journey With Me, Stage Star and Hollow Games all have distance form.
It pays to focus on those near the head of the market, big priced winners are rare in this race, while 6yo’s also are very strong on recent recent trends, winning the past 8 runnings of the Ballymore.
2.10pm Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase:
9 of the last 10 winners had contested at least 3 chase starts prior to arriving at Prestbury Park.
All near the top of the betting meet this trend, but its worth noting for those who aren’t as experienced at bigger prices.
9 recent winners had previously run at the Festival before
Ahoy Senor and Capodanno fall short on this strong trend.
7yo’s have won 11 of the last 15 renewals.
Bravemansgame, L’Homme Presse and Ahoy Senor come out best here at the top of the market.
6 winners since 2010 have come from the previous years’ Albert Bartlett.
A strong trend, but it may not be so relevant this year. Stattler and Vanillierboth could e heading elsewhere.
Recent history favours those who spent just 1 season over hurdles.
Capodanno, Fury Road and Beacon Edge don’t meet this trend.
3.30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase:
15 of the last 19 winners have been rated 164+ before the off.
All market leaders obviously meet this trend, though its a negative for Funambule Sivola, Put The Kettle on, Envoi Allen and many outsiders.
All 10 winners this decade had at least 7 starts over fences previously.
A negative for Energumene, who has only run 6 times over the larger obstacles.
7 of the previous seasons Arkle winners have followed up here, from just 11 runners.
A big plus for favourite Shishkin.
8 recent winners had all been successful at Cheltenham before.
This could sort a few out, as Energumene, Chacun Pour Soi and Funambule Sivola fall short on this trend from those who are prominent.
Other stats to consider here are to respect Nicky Henderson’s entries as he’s won 5 of the past 10 renewals, whilst horses arriving at Prestbury Park on an unbeaten season have won 5 renewals in recent history.
1.30pm Turners Novices Chase:
One of the newer Festival races with it’s debut in 2011, but we still have plenty of trends to get stuck into:
10 of the last 11 winners were aged 6 or 7.
A big plus for market principles Bob Olinger and Galopin Des Champs.
9 of the past 11winners were successful last time out.
A negative for Riviere D’etel, Jungle Boogie, Haut En Colours, Saint Sam and Fury Road should any of them take their chance here.
10 winners returned at a single figure price
It pays to focus on the head of the market, there has been only been a single winner bigger than 9/1.
7 winners this decade had won at Cheltenham before.
Plenty of outsiders in the betting fall short here, so back them with caution.
2.50pm Ryanair Chase:
Previous course form is crucial, only 1 of the past 13 winners had not run at Cheltenham at least twice previously, with 7 of those previous course winners.
Of those with likely entries Conflated hasn’t run here before, while there are several without a Cheltenham win including Shan Blue, Janidil, Melon and Fanion D’Estruval.
10 of the past 13 winners have gained at least 2 wins over the intermediate trips.
Shan Blue, Janidil, Eldorado Allen and Saint Calvados amongst others, don’t meet this trend.
5 of the last 8 winners took part in the previous years Turners Novice Chase.
Shan Blue, Asterion Forlonge and Envoi Allen ran in what was the Marsh Novices Chase in 2021.
Grade 1 winning form is an advantage, with 10 recent winners successful at the top table.
Quite a few without a Grade 1 success, including Eldorado Allen, Melon, Saint Calvados and Mister Fisher.
3.05pm Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle:
Every winner since 2008 was aged between 6 and 9.
Plenty of positives here, but also a negative for Champ and Paisely Park.
8 recent winners of the Stayers also won last time out.
Most of the principles fall short here, but Paisley Park and Royal Kahala both won on their last start.
8 of the last 13 winners had won at Cheltenham before.
Royal Kahala will need to buck this trend, as would several outsiders.
11 of the past 13 winners had won a race that season.
Flooring Porter and Thyme Hill haven’t won so far this term, though both have run with credit in defeat at Grade 1 level.
1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle:
5 of the past 7 winners were unbeaten over hurdles, including the first 2 home last season.
Pied Piper and Knight Salute are unbeaten from those on the first page of the market.
6 of the last 9 winners won last time out.
Fil Dor, Il Etait Temps, and Teddy Blue were all beaten when last seen.
9 of the last 12 winners had no more than 3 previous starts over hurdles.
Fil Dor, Knight Salute and Porticello fail to meet this trend.
2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle:
11 of the past 13 winners had won over at least 2m 7f.
A negative for Ginto, Minella Cocooner, Hollow Games and The Nice Guy if they turn up here.
7 of the past 8 winners went off at a double-figure price.
The prices will no doubt change, but of all the Grade 1’s this week, this is the race that has consistently produced big priced winners recently.
Of the past 10 renewals, 7 winners finished in the top 3 of a Graded race last time out.
Bardenstown Lad, The Nice Guy, Falcon Eight, Ramillies and many of the current outsiders in the market fall short on this trend.
Only 1 winner in recent history was an ex-flat horse.
Stag Horn and Falcon Eight started off on the level, and face a strong negative trend in this contest.
3.30pm Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup:
Focus on horses aged 7 to 9. No 10yo has won since Cool Dawn in 1998 with Long Run the only 6yo winner in 50 years.
Al Boum Photo will hope to repel this trend, with modern history against him.
Every winner of the past 15 renewals had previously won a Grade 1 chase.
Royal Pagaille and Asterion Forlonge have not been successful at the highest level over fences.
Recent history favours those with 12 or less chase starts.
Galvin, Minella Indo, Protektorat and Tornado Flyer come out best on this stat.
Only 1 winner since 2010 had not won a race over fences that season.
Minella Indo and Asterion Forlonge have not tasted success this term.
Other trends to note in the Festivals feature race are to focus on those that are 10/1 or shorter in the betting. Also, last time out winners have a very strong recent record.
Stats and words by Chris Price
Photos – AOL File