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15th October 2021

Cheltenham Festival Tips and Trends – (DAY THREE: Thurs 18th March 2021)

Each day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival here at TRAINERS-QUOTES we'll give you the quick-fire positive and negative stats for EVERY race. Apply these to the final cards and you will build up a picture and a profile of which horses have historically done the best in recent renewals.

Did you know that 11 of the last 16 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle winners won last time out?

We hope they help narrow down the fields and also help pin-point plenty of winners at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival for you..........................................



Thursday 18th March (New Course)

Cheltenham Festival Trends

 1.20 - MARSH Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 2m 3f 166y ITV

2020 Winner: SAMCRO 4/1
Trainer – Gordon Elliott
Jockey – Davy Russell  


  • 8 of the 10 winners were Irish-trained
  • 9 of the last 10 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
  • Willie Mullins has trained 4 of the last 10 winners
  • 7 of the last 10 winners had won a Graded Chase before
  • All 10 winners ran in a Graded Novice Chase last time
  • 7 of the last 10 winners won a Graded Novice Chase last time
  • 7 of the last 10 winners had 7 or less runs over hurdles
  • 8 of the last 10 past winners had run at the Festival before (5 had won)
  • 9 of the 10 winners came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 7 of the last 10 winners came from the top 2 in the betting
  • 9 of the last 10 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 9 of the last 10 winners returned 7/1 or shorter
  • 8 of the last 10 winners returned 4/1 or shorter
  • 3 outright winning favourites in the last 6 runnings
  • 7 of the last 10 winners won last time out
  • 9 of the last 10 winners French (4) or Irish (5) bred
  • 5 of the last 10 winners ran at Leopardstown last time out
  • 6 of the last 10 winners ran between 47-54 days ago
  • 7 year-olds have won 6 of last 10 renewals
  • 5 of the last 6 winners rated 151+
  • 3 of the last 10 winners owned by Gigginstown House Stud
  • Gordon Elliott is 2 from 3


  • Be careful of horses rated 146 or less
  • Just two British-trained winners so far (0-9)
  • The top-rated horse is just 1 from 10
  • Since 1990 all Festival Novice Chase winners have been aged 8 or younger
  • 4 winning favourites in 10 runnings (1 co)
  • 5 year-olds are 0-from-6
  • Just 1 of the last 10 winners had less than 3 career chase starts
  • Just 2 winners had been off for more than 54 days

TQ VERDICT: The day three opener should be a straightforward task for the two-time Festival winner – ENVOI ALLEN – to grab win number three at this meeting. He landed the Bumper in 2019 and then added the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle to his Festival haul 12 months ago. He’s since made the switch to fences and has looked just as good – winning all three starts. This very talented 7 year-old is now 11-from-11 in all races too and it’s hard to not see him making it 12 on the bounce. Those looking for some sort of angle to take him on might look to the fact he got caught up in the Gordon Elliott saga and has had to move to the Henry De Bromhead yard, but his new team have tried to keep things as similar as they can and are even getting his old head-girl to lead him up here on the day. We know the track suits too and really he’s a very straightforward horse that should be more than settled into his new home now, while the De Bromhead team certainly know the time of day when it comes to getting one ready for the Festival. He can take this and then it will hopefully be a tilt at the Gold Cup in 2022! Of the rest, the Henderson-trained Chantry House and the Dan Skelton runner – Shan Blue – can do best of the rest, but are rated 13lbs and 12lbs inferior to EA, so their task is there for all to see. While Chatham Street Lad won the Caspian Caviar Chase here at the December Meeting so that proven course form will be a plus.

1.55 - Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y ITV

2020 Winner: SIRE DU BERLAIS 10/1
Trainer – Gordon Elliott
Jockey – Barry Geraghty


  • 8 of the last 11 winners started their careers in bumpers (6) or points (2)
  • Irish have won the last 5 runnings
  • Sire Du Berlais has won the last 2 runnings
  • 9 of the last 13 winners placed in their last race (5 won)
  • 10 of the last 20 winners were from outside the top 5 in the betting
  • The last 10 winners were rated 138 or higher
  • 9 of the last 14 winners were rated between 132-142 (inc)
  • 9 of the last 10 winners were rated between 138-148
  • 10 of the last 16 winners had won over at least 2m7f
  • 10 of the last 14 winners had run 10 or less times over hurdles before
  • 6 of the last 8 winners ran 7 or less times over hurdles
  • 6 of the last 7 winners returned 11/1 or shorter
  • 8 of the last 20 winners won their last race
  • 3 of the last 12 winners finished in the first 5 in the Betfair Hurdle
  • Look for Jonjo O’Neill, Twiston-Davies, Mullins and Pipe-trained runners
  • Respect JP McManus-owned horses – won it again in 2019 and 2020
  • Trainer Gordon Elliott has won the last 3 runnings
  • Jockey Davy Russell has ridden 3 of the last 5 winners
  • Respect horses with headgear (7 since 2000)


  • Avoid horses with less than 6 runs over hurdles
  • Horses that have won 3+ times that season have a poor recent record
  • Since 2000 only 1 winner didn’t have a run that calendar year
  • 5 year-olds have won just twice since 1973
  • Just 1 horse rated 150+ since 2000 has finished in the top 2
  • 2 winning favourites in last 15 years
  • Paul Nicholls is currently 0 from 18 (One third and two 2nds in the last 7 runnings)
  • Horses aged 7 or younger and priced in single-figures are just 3 from 44

TQ VERDICT: A tough handicap – as always – to navigate, but with ALL of the last 10 winners rated 138 or higher, this is a good place to start. Of the 24 runners, this is a negative for the horses 13 to 24 (inc), so we can, in theory, knock out 14 runners, that include the fairly well-fancied Come On Teddy and Mrs Milner. Then with 9 of the last 10 winners rated between 138 and 148, of those left, that leaves us with horses numbers from 3 to 12 (inc). It’s also not been a great race for the Paul Nicholls yard (0-from-18), but they have had a few places in recent years – they run Southfield Harvest and Storm Arising. The Fergal O’Brien-trained Imperial Alcazar ticks a lot of boxes and was a good winner at Warwick last time out. He’s had a few months off to freshen up since and should go well despite being raised 8lbs for that last win. The Elliott yard have won the last two runners so with their horses now with Denise Foster – The Bosses Oscar – is considered too, but does have a lot of weight (11-12). Mullins and Twiston-Davies are other yards to respect – Mullins has Dandy Mag, while NTD has Redford Road. But the two that I’ll be siding with here are the Henderson-trained CHAMPAGNE PLATINUM and the Pipe runner – BRINKLEY (e/w). The former was a solid 7th in the Kim Muir here last season but has returned to hurdling this season in good order. He’s only had the two runs, but you feel connections were protecting his mark a bit. He was last seen running second at Haydock in Feb and that should have him spot-on for this. Nico de Boinville rides, plus he’s owned by a certain JP McManus, who loves to target this race – he’s won the last two. The Pipe yard also had a good time in this race with a horse called Buena Vista, who many will remember, so their Brinkley is another to note. This 6 year-old heads here having won 3 of this last 4, including his last two and looks a real improver. He’s up 8lbs for the last of those wins and this is clearly a step up again, but the stiff finish should be right up his street and with only five career runs over hurdles looks the sort we’ve not seen the best of yet.


 2.30 - Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y ITV

2020 Winner: MIN 2/1
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Paul Townend


  • 22 of the 30 winners and runners-up had won at the course before
  • 6 of the last 8 winners were 2nd season chasers
  • All 13 winners (since getting G1 status) had won over 2m4f
  • 13 of the last 16 had won at Cheltenham previously
  • 10 of the last 13 winners had won a Grade 1 Chase before
  • 10 of the last 13 had won or placed at the Festival before
  • The King George VI Chase is often a good guide (7 from 27)
  • The previous year’s renewal is often a good guide
  • 13 of the last 16 winners returned 6/1 or shorter
  • 7 of the last 9 winners were aged 7 or 8 years-old
  • 12 of the last 13 winners were rated 161+
  • 4 of the last 16 winners were placed in the top 3 in the Ascot Chase last time out
  • 12 of last 16 winners were fav or 2nd fav
  • 9 of the last 13 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 14 of the last 16 winners came from the top 3 in the betting
  • 7 of the last 9 winners had 11 (or less) runs over fences
  • Trainers Jonjo O’Neill, David Pipe & Nicky Henderson are respected
  • Respect first time headgear (2 from 9)
  • 9 of the last 13 winners DIDN’T win last time out
  • Last 7 winners were French-bred
  • All winners ran 4 or less times that season
  • 3 of the last 5 winners trained by Willie Mullins


  • The Irish are 4 from 55 runners in this race
  • Avoid horses priced 7/1 or bigger
  • Avoid horses aged 11 or older (1 from 12)
  • Just one winner rated 160 or below
  • Just 4 of the last 13 won last time out
  • No winner was having their Festival debut

TQ VERDICT: A top renewal of this day three Grade One. Another strong Irish presence in the race too – a race they’ve won in four of the last five years. Three of those Irish successes have been for trainer Willie Mullins and he’s mob-handed again this year. He runs Allaho, who was third in the RSA Chase here last season, Min, who is the current champ, Melon, who loves to finish second at the Festival and Tornado Flyer. You can certainly make a string case for the first three mentioned and there probably won’t be a lot between the trio in the betting. Allaho comes here with the least to prove based on recent runs though, after a good win at Thurles last time out, while Min was pulled up after jumping poorly in the Dublin Chase and Melon was fifth in the Irish Gold Cup. For Min, the return this this longer trip will help, but he’s now 10 years-old and only just scrambled home 12 months ago – beaten Saint Calvados, who also runs again, by just a neck. It’s hard to fault Allaho, but if you are clutching at straws, he’s been beaten at the last two Festivals. MELON (e/w), however, will be one for the placepot or e/w players as he loves to finish second at the festival. He’s been runner up in the Supreme, Champion Hurdle (twice) and March Novices’ Chase, so despite never winning here, we know the track is okay. He wasn’t beaten far in the Irish Gold Cup last time and ran well for much of the way. The drop back in trip will help and he should give another bold account. But this could go to one of the home-based yard this year, with the improving DASHEL DRASHER (e/w) and last year’s Festival winner – IMPERIAL AURA – of interest. The last-named took the Northern Trust Novices’ Chase here 12 months ago – beaten Galvin by 3 ¼ lengths – and has picked up where he left off this season with wins at Carlisle and Ascot. Okay, he unseated last time at Kempton, but that was early on and generally he’s a sound jumper, that has form at the track that reads 2-2-1. Then, Dashel Drasher has been one of the talking horses of the season and it would be great for the smaller yard of Jeremy Scott to grab a win on the biggest stage. This 8 year-old likes to get on with things from the front and this season doesn’t know when to thrown in the towel with three wins at Ascot. Many will feel running away from the Berkshire track is a negative, but he’s also won here over hurdles, plus at Haydock, Wincanton and Chepstow and Newbury so he’s certainly not a one-track pony. His progression this season has seen his rating shoot up to 162, but that’s the same as Allaho and only a pound lower than Imperial Aura. Of the rest, Mister Fisher, Fakir D’oudairies and Samcro are others that have run well at the track in the past so can’t be ruled out on their best form.


 3.05 - Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y ITV

2020 Winner: LISNAGAR OSCAR 50/1
Trainer – Rebecca Curtis
Jockey – Adam Wedge  


  • 11 of the last 16 won last time out
  • 12 of the last 20 winners were second season hurdlers
  • 28 of the last 31 winners aged between 6-8 years-old
  • 17 of the last 20 winners came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 8 of the last 19 were French Bred
  • Respect the Cleeve Hurdle and Long Walk Hurdle form
  • 8 of the last 14 ran in the Cleeve Hurdle
  • 15 of the last 19 winners finished 1st or 2nd in all their hurdling runs that season
  • 13 of the last 16 winners started 10/1 or less in the betting
  • Respect past winners of the race
  • 15 of the last 24 winners had won 7 or less times over hurdles
  • The last 3 winners ran in the Albert Bartlett the previous season


  • Avoid horses that didn’t finish either 1st or 2nd last time out (3 from 21)
  • A 5 year-old is yet to win the race
  • Horses that have lost previously in the race don’t fare well
  • Trainer Willie Mullins has only won the race twice
  • Avoid front runners
  • The Irish are have won the race just three times since 1995
  • Avoid horses that were beaten in the race before
  • Previous Albert Bartlett winners have an overall poor record (1 from 16), but horses that ran in the race have won the last 3
  • Horses wearing headgear are 0 from 71
  • Horses aged 10 or older have all been beaten since 1986 (0 from 59)

Stayers’ Hurdle Betting Trends

16/18 – Had raced within the last 10 weeks
15/18 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
15/18 – Had won over at least 3m (hurdles) before
15/18 – Aged 8 or younger
14/18 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
14/18 – Winning distance – 3 lengths or less
13/18 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
13/18 – Placed favourites
13/18 – Had raced that calendar year
12/18 – Went onto run at the Aintree Grand National Meeting later that season
12/18 – Had won over hurdles at Cheltenham before
11/18 – Won their latest race
11/18 – Contested either the Cleeve Hurdle (8) or the Long Walk Hurdle (3) last time out
10/18 – Rated 163 or higher
7/18 – French-bred
7/18 – Went onto win at Aintree later that season
7/18 – Winning favourite
4/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/18 – Irish-trained winners
The average winning SP in the last 18 runnings is 15/2

Stayers’ Hurdle Stats:
Every winner since 1972 has been aged 6 or older
Since 1972 there have been 7 previous winners of the race
Horses that ran at the previous season’s Cheltenham Festival are 22 from 26
Horses that were placed fourth or better last time out have won 32 of the last 33 renewals
The top five in the betting have finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in 7 of the last 17 renewals
Just three Irish-trained winners since 1996 – Solwhit (2013), Nichols Canyon (2017), Penhill (2018)
All of the last 33 winners were aged 9 or younger


Stayers Hurdle – UK v Irish

18/23 – British-trained winners
2/23 – French-trained winners
3/23 – Irish-trained winners
Trainer Paul Nicholls (UK) has trained 4 winners of the race
Willie Mullins (Ire) has trained just 2 winners of the race (2017, Nichols Canyon, 2018 Penhill)
Nicky Henderson (UK) has trained just 1 winner of the race (2000, Bacchanal)
Paul Nicholls (UK) has trained 4 of the last 11 winners
Jonjo O’Neill (UK has trained 2 of the last 16 winners

TQ VERDICT: 12 months ago, we saw a bit of a shock here with the 50/1 shot Lisnagar Oscar winning the race for trainer Rebecca Curtis – he’s back for more this year too and will be looking to become the first horse since Big Buck’s, who won the race four times (2009-2012), to defend his crown. He’d been poor since at the end of last year, but he returned to form to run a close second at Newbury in the Rendlesham Hurdle last time. That was also his first run after a wind op too, while the return to Cheltenham – a track he seems to enjoy – will be in his favour. We’ve also another past champ running though in PAISLEY PARK, and being the top-rated in the field he looks the one to beat again. He’ll be looking to become the first horse to regain his crown since Inglis Drever (2007) and has returned this season looking as good as ever. Yes, he flopped in the race 12 months ago – so that’s a small worry – but really that’s been his only poor showing from his last 10 outings. His main rival – Thyme Hill, who he beat in the Long Walk Hurdle last time, is now also out of the race which has obviously made his task a tad easier. His main challengers look to be the Irish pair of Sire Du Berlais, who is looking for Festival win number three after taking the last two runnings of the Pertemps Hurdle. The track clearly suits and he’s been kept fresh for this after running third in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown last time out – he’s a big threat to Paisley Park. Another leading Irish hope will be Flooring Porter, who won the already mentioned Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle this season and heads here as a fast-improving staying hurdler. This will, however, be his first run at Cheltenham and horses having their Festival debuts don’t have a great record in this race. The consistent THE STORYTELLER (e/w) can go well and looks decent e/w value – he ran Kemboy to 2 lengths in the Irish Gold Cup last time out at Leopardstown, but is a very versatile sort that has 9 top two finishes (from 12 runs) to his name over hurdles. While the other interesting runner for the home-based trainers is VINNDICATION (e/w), for Kim Bailey. The yard are having a cracking time of it this season and the switch back to hurdles for this 8 year-old looks a good move. He’s actually 3-from-3 over hurdles and even though he’s not disgraced over fences (3 wins), he’s been a beaten favourite in his last three runs over the bigger obstacles, so freshening it up back over hurdles looks interesting. Yes, he’s a bit to find on the ratings – 10lbs lower than Paisley Park – but he’s a horse that’s gone well fresh in the past so the 110 day break isn’t a worry and he’s tasted the Festival in the past too, after running an excellent fourth in the Ultima Chase here last season.

3.40 - Paddy Power Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 2m 4f 166y ITV

2020 Winner: SIMPLY THE BETTS 10/3 fav
Trainer – Harry Whittington
Jockey – Gavin Sheehan


  • 27 of the last 33 winners were officially rated 141 or less
  • 10 of the last 12 winners carried under 11-0
  • Look out for French-breds
  • 12 of the last 16 winners had run from 25th Jan onwards
  • 10 of the last 17 winners had won a race in Feb or March
  • Venetia Williams & Pipe-trained runners should be noted
  • The Pipe yard have won 7 of the last 23 runnings
  • 16 of the last 20 winners returned at double-figure odds
  • 21 of the last 29 winners had run at the Festival before (but 7 of last 10 were having Festival debut)
  • 20 of the last 21 winners had run in no more than 16 chases
  • 8 of the last 11 winners had 9 or less chase runs
  • 17 of the last 21 winners came from outside the top 4 in the market
  • The last 5 winners were novices or second season chasers
  • 15 of the last 17 winners had raced that calendar year


  • Avoid horses that are yet to win at Class 3 or better
  • The Irish have only sent out 4 winners since 1951
  • Only 2 of the last 17 winners had run more than 12 times (fences)
  • 3 winning favourites in the last 15 years
  • Only 4 of last 26 won with 11st+
  • Winners of a chase at Cheltenham before have an overall poor record, but the 2019 and 2020 winners did defy this trend.
  • Only 2 of the last 17 winners hadn’t run that calendar year

TQ VERDICT: The versatile Emmet Mullins runner THE SHUNTER will be popular here, but this has not been a good race for the Irish – just 4 winners since 1951. This 8 year-old landed the Greatwood Hurdle here in November and won last time out at Kelso – just a few weeks ago. His chase mark is 12lbs higher though than that Greatwood Hurdle win but with another recent run over hurdles you get the sense the shrewd Emmet Mullins looks to have plotted this race all season. Yes, there is that poor record of the Irish stat, but they do look to hold a strong hand this year in the race. 27 of the last 33 winners were rated 141 or lower, so this would be a plus for the horses numbered 13 to 23 (inc) – another plus for The Shunter (14), while 10 of the last 12 winners carried under 11st – The Shunter has 10-12. A Wave Of Sea is another leading Irish contender and is closely-matched with the selection after beaten him by just over 3 lengths at Leopardstown last time out. But he’s up 9lbs for that and is right on the cusp of the weight trend with 11st. Of the rest, the Denise Foster-trained Farclas is a proven course winner and will be popular too, while another leading Irish hope will be Fils D’oudarires, for Joseph O’Brien. On the home front the challenge will be led by MISTER WHITAKER (e/w) who has won at the Festival in the past (2018) – he has his fair amount of weight (11st 8lbs), but does like Cheltenham. He was a good third in this race here last season and is now rated 2lbs lower. Henderson’s Caribbean Boy is another that will have it’s fans, but if you are looking for something at a bigger price, then the Pipe yard often like to target this race (won 7 of the last 23) so their 10 year-old EAMON AN CNOIC (e/w), might be worth a small interest. He gets in here with just 10-2 (bottom weight) and has been in good form over hurdles of late. His chase mark is a lot higher than over hurdles, but he ran well in this race in 2019 (4th) and is now rated 7lbs lower.

4.15 – Parnell Properties Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Dawn Run) (Grade 2) 2m 179y ITV

2020 Winner: CONCERTISTA 9/2
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Daryl Jacob


  • A new race (Just 5 renewals)
  • Favourites have won 3 of the 5 runnings
  • 3 of the last 5 winners won last time out
  • 4 of the 5 winners were French-bred
  • 4 of the last 5 winners were top or 2nd top rated
  • 4 of the last 5 winners returned 9/2 or shorter
  • All 5 past winners started their careers in France
  • 3 of the 5 winners were unbeaten that season
  • Sullivan Bloodstock owners have won 2 of the 5 runnings (just 4 runners)
  • 4 of the 5 winners have been aged 5 years-old
  • Willie Mullins won the race in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020
  • Owner Mrs Susannah Ricci has won 2 of the last 5 runnings


  • Irish bred mares are just 1-from-44
  • British bred mares are 0-from-15
  • Nicky Henderson is currently 0-from-8

TQ VERDICT: A fairly new race, with just the five renewals. It’s been a good one for the Irish too and also Willie Mullins, who has won them ALL!! He doesn’t seem to have a hot-pot like in some of the past years, but the safest thing here would be to just side with one of his four entries – HOOK UP, GLENS OF ANTRIM, PONT AVAL and GAULOISE. Of that bunch, Hook Up was a fair 4th to Appreciate It last time out and that’s decent form to take into this – she should go well. But it’s slightly interesting that jockey Paul Townend is sticking with the Mullins runner – GAULOISE (e/w) – here as you’d think he’d have had the pick. This 65 year-old was last seen running third at Fairyhouse in Feb, but that was over 2m2f in heavy ground so the drop in trip and on slightly better ground should help. Before that, she’d won twice and I feel that last run might not as been too bad – despite not winning. Yes, the two that finished ahead of her that day – Royal Kahala and Roseys Hollow – go again here too but the change of track and away from heavy ground could give a different outcome this time, while 4 of the last 5 winners were aged 5. Skyace and The Glancing Queen are others to respect, plus the Blackmore/Bromhead combination with Telmesomethinggirl will attract punters. But, of those at a bigger price, it might be worth sticking with Mullins. He’s won this race before with a 50/1 shot, so you can never really rule any of his out! With that in mind, this PONT AVAL (e/w), could run better than her odds suggest. Yes, she’s a bit old at 8 for this race, but is lightly-raced for her age (7 runs). She’s obviously had some issues, but did win well over 2m4f last time out at Punchestown in a 20-runner race, so that proven stamina will be a big asset up the hill – she’ll just have to try and keep tabs on them early doors!

4.50 - Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase 3m 2f RTV

2020 Winner: MILAN NATIVE 9/1
Trainer – Gordon Elliott
Jockey – Mr R James  


  • Respect 8 and 9 year-olds
  • 10 of the last 13 winners failed to win earlier that season
  • 3 of the last 10 winners ran in the BetVictor Handicap Chase (Open Meeting)
  • The last 9 winners ran off a mark of 137 or more
  • 8 of the last 11 winners returned 9/1 or shorter (top three in the betting)
  • 8 of the last 11 winners carried 11st 5lbs+
    9 of the last 12 winners ran in February
  • Look for Elliott, McCain, Pipe and Henderson-trained runners
  • Look for horses in the top half of the handicap
  • 18 of the last 21 winners ran over at least three miles in their last race
  • Look for non-claiming amateur riders
  • 9 of the last 10 winners wore headgear
  • 10 of the last 12 winners came from the top 6 in the market
  • Jockey Jamie Codd has ridden 4 of the last 12 winners
  • Jockey Derek O’Connor 2nd 3 times and 1st in 2019
  • Owner JP McManus often does well in the race (3 of the last 9)
  • 17 of the last 18 winners DIDN’T win last time out


  • Just 4 Irish winners in last 37 years (but have won 4 of the last 7)
  • Horses that fell or unseated that season have a poor record
  • Avoid Paul Nicholls-trained horses – he’s just 1 placed horse from his last 22
  • Trainer Willie Mullins has a poor record in the race
  • Horses carrying less than 10-10 have a poor record
  • French breds are 0 from 64 since 2005
  • Avoid claiming jockeys – 2 from 96 since 2009
  • Just 1 of the last 18 winners won last time out

TQ VERDICT: Normally a race for the amateur riders’ here, but due to the Covid restrictions the horses will be ridden by the pros! It’s another poor race for the Irish – just 4 winners for them in the last 37 years, but this trend might be taking a turn with those 4 Irish wins coming in the last 7 runnings. The last 9 winners had a mark of 137 or more, so of the 24 runners, this is good news for those numbered 1-14 (inc). The main two in the betting this year – Hold The Note and Deise Aba – are British-trained. HOLD THE NOTE returned last time after a wind op to run well at Newbury and was an excellent third in the Northern Trust Novices’ Chase here at the Festival last year. He’s rated 5lbs lower this year and that should give him a big chance. Deise Aba won well at Sandown last time and was a fine fifth in this race last year – he gets in off the same mark as 12 months ago too so another bold bid looks on the cards with Richard Johnson riding. Looking back at last year – Bob Maher was third and Plan Of Attack, who wears the first-time blinkers this time, was fourth, so these are others to respect, while the runner-up KILFILUM CROSS (e/w) also goes. Yes, this Henry Oliver horse has been below-par since but has a result has dropped 3lbs from 12 months ago. The other good news is that his normal jockey – Alex Edwards – can ride as he’s no longer an amateur and he can also claim 3lbs this time. Therefore, Kilfilum Cross is actually 6lbs better off than last year. Other things to note - It’s also not been a great race for trainer Paul Nicholls – he’s had just one placed horse from his last 22 – he runs Shantou Flyer. Of the Irish challenge, the Denise Foster runner – MOUNT IDA (e/w) – is the most interesting. This former Gordon Elliott runner is up in trip and that could bring out the expected improvement here, while the Elliott yard have won 2 of the last 5 runnings. She’s also tasted the Festival before, after running 10th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle here last season, and looks interesting now into a handicap for the first time.



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