Cheltenham Trends: Day One

Well it’s Cheltenham time again, and that means it’s time to get yourself a Cheltenham free bet and make the most of your money – how do we pick a winner at Cheltenham? Well – it’s less difficult than you think. We look at the past years’ trends, and we apply them to the field. In the first of our Cheltenham previews, we look at Day One (well, we had to start somewhere), and some of the past trends that could alert us to this year’s winners.

The Stan James Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

The Irish tend to like this race, although they’ve run out of luck the last couple of years.  Still, 8 out of 13 winners have been trained in Ireland.

So what are we looking for? Well, 9 of the last ten winners of this race had run in the last 45 days, and 8 had won last time out. In fact, in all hurdles races across the season, 9 out of the last ten winners had been placed third or better. So we’re looking for a class horse who hasn’t been out of the places all season. 9 of 10 had actually won at least half of their races over hurdles.

If they’ve been placed in a Grade 1 hurdle, then even better, and the Royal Bond and the Deloitte Novice are the two races to look at when you’re trying to pick a winner. Any bumper race victory is also a good sign.

Price-wise, trends are for longer-priced horses, with favourites winning just 30 out of 10.  The last seven favourites have all suffered defeat, so it may pay to lay.

Our picks: Montbazon to get the better of Steps To Freedom, just, and Cinders and Ashes, who looks like an excellent contender.

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The Racing Post Arkle Trophy

Very few shocks come in the Arkle, and the betting markets are perhaps your first port of call when shortening your list. 9/1 seems to be the maximum for the last ten years, and the top five of the betting call the shots.  However, the favourites don’t have a great record – just 1 in the last ten years.

Indeed, the Irish and the French have dominated recent years – yes, the French, who should never be underestimated. So, you’re looking for a seven or an eight year-old Irish or French-bred horse, who has won a Grade 1 hurdle, and a Grade 1 or Grade 2 chase. A rating of over 140 is beneficial, and if the horse has already won at Cheltenham, then give him another tick.

A good record is also required – first or second in all races appears to be a common pattern when looking at past winners of the Arkle. A maximum of 5 chases throughout the season seems to be the maximum.

The Supreme Novices race from the previous years is a decent guide to this race, and let’s not ignore the Irish Arkle.

Our picks: Al Ferof will have to break the trend of only finishing in the top two all season - but he’s last year’s Supreme Novice winner and that run up the hill stands him in good stead against Spinter Sacre, who is many peoples’ lay of the day. Good, but how good?

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The JLT Specialty Handicap Chase

A grade 3 race here,  and this favours both 7 and 8 year olds, although you can’t outright dismiss 9 and 10 year olds. You can, however, count out the 11-year-olds who don’t have a good record at all.

A top 3 finish last time out is essential, as is a win over 3 miles. Equally, we’re looking for the quality of those wins – a Grade 3 will suffice, but if better than that, give your horse another extra tick.

The official ratings are also a guide here, with ratings around 140 to 143 seeming to hit the mark more often than not. Also look for horses who have hit their maximum rating in their previous race, as this appears to be a very common pattern. A maximum weight of 10-13 is also a guide to follow,  as any horse carrying more than that has failed.

Price-wise, we’re looking at 10/1 or shorter, and if the horse is Irish, bump him up your shortlist. They have a cracking record in this race.

Our picks: Hold On Julio looks to have the profile we like for this race, and we may discount the weight issue thanks to the good ground. Quantitativeeasing may find that weight a little too much to carry in the end, and if we’re looking for a bit more value, Our Mick is a good pick at 10/1. I like the look of Fruity O’Rooney as an each-way shot - he’s 20/1

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Stan James Champion Hurdle

The feature race of the day, and a chance for Hurricane Fly to retain his crown – he’d be the first since Hardy Eustace, and he’d be a very short-priced winner.

It’s the 6 to 9 year olds who dominate this one. Ten year olds can be discounted as their record over the last ten years is rotten.

Once more, the most common Cheltenham trend appears – they have to have won their last race. 8 out of the last 10 did, and all of them had run in the last 50 days, with an average of 4 races over the season and a minimum of ten lifetime races over hurdles. A Grade 1 hurdle is also almost a pre-requisite, with 8 out of 10 claiming one before this race. One exception was Rooster Booster.

Indeed, we’re looking for a horse at a certain stage in their racing career – second,  third and fourth year of hurdling, in fact. A previous win at Cheltenham is useful, and a place over hurdles at the previous year’s festival is also a pre-requisite.

A good guide to this race is the Punchestown Champion Hurdle or the Fighting Fifth, and again, that means the Irish tend to dominate.

Our picks: Hurricane Fly, all the way - with Binocular chasing home, and an each-wayer on Celestial Halo for fun

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Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeplechase

Enda Bolger dominates this race completely, despite a couple of slip-ups in recent years.  The top three in the betting also dominate this race, which indicates that the bookies have a grip on this.

So, what are we looking for? A win over 3 miles, and a win last time out (within the last 40 days), and at least 10 runs over fences. We’re also looking for a horse who had won in November or December Cross Country Chases, and had also run at last year’s Festival.

8 to 10 year olds have a great record since 2005 when the race was brought in, and if you’re looking for other indicators, the Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase is a good one to analyse.

Sizing Australia has a good chance once more against an ageing Garde Champetre, but it’s Scotsirish who catches the eye here for Willie Mullins. This could really suit.

published: 10th March 2012 by Free Bet Bookmaker


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