Cheltenham Festival Tips and Trends – (DAY TWO: Weds 16th March 2022)

Each day of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival here at TQ we give you our quick-fire positive and negative stats for EVERY Cheltenham Festival race.  Apply these trends 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  -27 of the last  35 Champion Chase were aged between 7 and 9.

We hope they help narrow down the fields and also help pin-point plenty of winners at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival for you..........................................

 

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CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY TWO:

Wednesday 16th March (Old Course & Cross Country)

 

1.30 - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 5f ITV

2021 Winner: BOB OLINGER (6/4 fav)
Trainer – Henry De Bromhead
Jockey – Rachael Blackmore


Pluses….

  • 15 of the last 17 winners came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 5 of the last 8 winners were unbeaten over hurdles
  • 11 of the last 13 winners came from the top two-rated on BHA ratings
  • 17 of the last 21 winners returned 17/2 or shorter
  • 21 of the last 27 winners won last time out
  • 26 of the last 27 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • The Irish have won 12 of the last 19 (7 of last 8)
  • Horses rated 150+ do well
  • 10 of the last 13 winners had won a Graded Novice Hurdle
  • 22 of the last 27 winners (including last 11) had won at least one bumper race
  • All of the last 16 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
  • 10 of the last 11 winners were aged 6
  • In the last 10 runnings Irish-trained horses have filled 18 of the 30 top 3 places
  • 21 of the last 23 were NH bred
  • 15 of the last 23 had won a graded race before
  • Look for past Irish point-to-point winners (8 of the last 12 had won an Irish Point)
  • Respect Willie Mullins – 4 winners and 9 placed in last 16 years
  • Gordon Elliott has won 2 of the last 4

Negatives….

  • Only one winner aged older than 6 has won since 1974
  • Avoid 4 year-olds too – just one winner since 1991
  • Horses aged 7 or older are 0 from 56 (since 1988)
  • Only two of the last 35 winners came from outside the top 5 in the betting
  • The last 18 Challow Hurdle winners have all been beaten
  • Avoid ex-flat horses (since 2005 all have been beaten. 0 from 30 in the last 16 years)

TQ VERDICT: In the end SIR GERHARD’s connections opted for this race over a longer trip, rather than Tuesday’s Supreme Novice’s Hurdle, and it’s easy to see why. This Willie Mullins-trained 7 year-old has made a decent transition to hurdling this season, winning both starts - and was impressing in beating another runner here - Three Stripe Life - at Leopardstown last time out. Mullins has also won this race twice since 2014 and the way Sir Gerhard runs you feel he could get even better now upped in trip. Of the rest, Stage Star is 3-from-3 over hurdles, including winning at Newbury last time (Challow Hurdle) and would have a chance for the Paul Nicholls yard - but the last 18 Challow Hurdle winners to come here have all been beaten.  I Am Maximus is another of the bigger-priced runners for the Nicky Henderson yard that can’t be ruled out, but JOURNEY WITH ME, for last year’s winning connections is the danger. He’s won both starts over hurdles and beaten some fair sorts in Minella Crooner and Choice Of Words in the process - there could be a lot more to come, Rachael Blackmore rides.

 

2.10 - Brown Advisory Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y ITV

2021 Winner: MONKFISH (1/4 fav)
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Paul Townend  

Pluses….

  • 5 of the last 13 winners ran in the Flogas Chase (Leopardstown, 6th Feb) that season
  • The last 20 winners had run in a Graded Novice Chase
  • 14 of the last 15 winners finished 1st or 2nd in a G1/G2 over fences
  • 24 of the last 27 winners had only one previous season over hurdles
  • Respect 7 year-olds – won 12 of the last 15 (17 of last 22)
  • 10 of the last 16 winners won last time out
  • 7 of the last 12 winners were beaten on their chase debut
  • 8 of the last 14 winners had won a bumper before
  • 7 of the last 15 favourites won
  • The last 7 winners were rated 150+
  • 9 of the last 10 winners returned single-figures in the betting
  • 19 of the last 21 winners had run between 3-5 times over fences
  • Every winner since 1997 had their chase debut the previous year
  • Irish bred horses are 21 from the last 25
  • 10 of the last 15 winners had won a Grade 1 or 2 Chase
  • 7 of the last 13 winners were trained in Ireland
  • Trainers Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls often do well in the race (11 of the last 18 between them)
  • 24 of the last 29 were novice hurdling last season
  • 6 of the last 12 winners ran in the Albert Bartlett the previous season
  • Look for horses that ran that same calendar year (53 of the last 55 winners had)
  • 12 of the last 15 winners had raced at the Festival the previous year
  • The last 7 winners came from the top 3 in the betting market

Negatives….

  • No winner aged 9 or older since 1992
  • Just 4 winners younger than 7 since 1978
  • Avoid horses that had had 2 full seasons over hurdles prior
  • Just 2 of the last 22 winners had run less than 3 times over fences
  • No winners of the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Feltham, Kempton 26th Dec) have won gone onto win this race
  • French bred horses are 0-from-36 (last 15 years)
  • Colin Tizzard is 0-from-10 over the last 10 years
  • Avoid unbeaten horses (only 2 of the last 22 winners)
  • Mares are currently 0-from-11 in the race
  • Horses in headgear are currently 0 from 30

TQ VERDICT: L’Homme Presse has been very impressive in winning opening four races over fences and could be ready to improve again not upped to 3m. The concern though would be the Venetia Williams yard reporting a virus in the camp recently and even though L’Homme Presse has meant to have escaped it, it’s still a worry. The half a mile extra is also an unknown. So, the safer option is the Paul Nicholls runner - BRAVEMANSGAME - who we know stays this 3m trip and seems to be getting better by the race. He’s now 4-from-4 over fences and could be a much-needed new Nicholls superstar in the making. Of the rest, Ahoy Senor has a chance too - but saw the back of the selection at Kempton on Boxing Day in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. Others with chances are Capodanno and the Nicholls other runner - Threeunderthrufive - plus the Gigginstown trio - Beacon Edge, Fury Road and Farouk D’alene, but it’s the Henderson runner - DUSART (e/w) - that looks a shade overpriced to me. This 7 year-old has only had two runs over fences but has won them both in easy fashion. He wasn’t a bad hurdler either - running a close third in a Grade One at Aintree last April. It’s hard to know how good he is as he’s been winning with ease, but coming from the Henderson yard and with Nico riding he does have the potential to close the gap a bit more on the main players here being so lightly-raced.

 

    2.40 - Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 5f ITV

 

2021 Winner: HEAVEN HELP US (33/1)
Trainer – Paul Hennessy
Jockey – Richard Condon

Pluses….

  • 12 of the last 17 were 2nd season hurdlers
  • 18 of the last 21 winners raced less than 10 times over hurdles
  • 10 of the last 12 winners had run at the Festival before
  • 9 of the last 13 winners hailed from the top 8 horses in the weights
  • 9 of the last 13 winners were rated in the 140’s
  • 14 of the last 22 winners aged 6 or 7
  • 8 of the last 12 winners DIDN’T win last time out
  • 12 of the last 16 winners hailed form the top 7 in the betting
  • 20 of the last 27 winners won earlier that season
  • Respect JP McManus-owned runners
  • Respect trainers Nicky Henderson & Gordon Elliott (6 wins in last 12 years)
  • 10 of the last 20 winners were FRENCH-BRED
  • 15 of the last 28 won last time out
  • Respect Irish-trained runners (6 of the last 13)
  • Look for horses that had raced 4 or less times that season (12 of last 13 winners)
  • 15 of the last 17 winners had run 32 days or longer ago (look for horses that have had a small break)
  • Trainer Gordon Elliott is 2 from 11
  • 5 year-olds do well from the small % that have run (win and place)
  • The last 3 winners wore headgear

Negatives….

  • Just one winning favourite in the last 18 years (2020)
  • Only 3 winners since 2000 had run in 10+ hurdles races
  • Horses aged 10+ are just 3 from 308 to even place since 1999
  • Just 4 winners since 2000 aged 8+
  • Horses rated 150+ don’t have a great record, although the 2019 winner was rated 151
  • Only 3 winners since 2000 had run more than 9 times over hurdles
  • Willie Mullins won the race in 2018 and had the second in 2019, but overall has a bad record – 45 runners – just two placed inside the top 2 (1 from 42 since 2010

TQ VERDICT: Not many 5 year-olds run in this race but the ones that do often go well - there is only one in the race this year - Saint Felicien. Lightly-raced and trained by Gordon Elliott, who also has a fair record in this race - winning it last in 2016 - and was a decent third in a G3 race at Naas last time. He could easily be better than a handicapper in time, but that lack of experience in a race like this with 20+ runners is the worry. Unexpected Party and Gowel Road have consistent profiles to be considered, while The Shunter was a winner at this meeting last year when taking the Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase, but hasn’t won since. The three of interest though are DROP THE ANCHOR, INDIGO BREEZE and MCFABULOUS. The former was a close 7th in the County Hurdle last season and is actually rated 3lbs lower this time. He’s only had one run this year too so will be a lot fresher than most. Indigo Breeze is another from the Gordon Elliott yard and looks interesting on handicap debut after two nice efforts at Gowran Park and Fairyhouse. It’s also interesting they are helping him out with the useful Jordan Gainford riding to claim 3lbs. The final pick - McFabulous - will like the drop back in trip as he doesn’t seem to really stay 3m. He was a nice second in the Relkeel Hurdle here on New Year’s Day and from his 11 runs over hurdles has only been out of the first three on three occasions (4 wins). The Nicholls also yard have a fair record in the race (last won it in 2015) and this 8 year-old should also find the drop back into handicap company to his liking. Harry Cobden rides and the first time cheekpieces are on this time as well.

 

    3.30 - Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 99y ITV

2021 Winner: PUT THE KETTLE ON (17/2)
Trainer – Henry De Bromhead
Jockey – Rachael Blackmore

Pluses….

  • 13 of the last 21 winners ran in the Tingle Creek Chase that season
  • 4 of the last 9 winners won the Clarence House Chase (Ascot) that season
  • 24 of the last 37 had won at the Festival before
  • Paul Nicholls & Nicky Henderson have won 9 of the last 14 between them
  • Nicky Henderson has won 5 of the last 10
  • 27 of the last 35 winners aged between 7-9
  • 14 of the last 20 winners won last time out
  • 16 of the last 19 winners had run that calendar year
  • 38 of the last 40 winners returned 10/1 or shorter
  • 15 of the last 22 winners returned 5/1 or shorter
  • 7 of the last 15 winners were French-bred
  • 11 of the last 19 winners were second season chasers
  • 15 of the last 17 winners had run 2 or 3 times that season
  • 19 of the last 23 winners came from the top 3 in the betting
  • 16 of the last 22 winners ran in the previous season’s Arkle or Champion Chase
  • 7 of the last 11 Arkle winners (previous season) to run have won
  • Past champions do well – 13 horses have won the CC more than once

Negatives….

  • Only two winners priced 11/1 or bigger in the last 38 years
  • Just 1 winner in last 17 had run 4+ times that season
  • Horses that didn’t run in that calendar year are 3-from-31
  • Top Irish trainer, Willie Mullins, is yet to win this race (0-from-12)
  • Just 1 of the last 20 winners hadn’t won a Grade 1 Chase before
  • 12 of the last 16 winners had run in no more than 16 chases
  • Be wary of horses older than 10 – just 2 winners since 1977
  • Only 3 winners aged 6 or younger in the last 47 years
  • Just one 11 year-old winner in the last 43 years
  • Just one Mare has ever won the race (Put The Kettle On, 2021)

TQ VERDICT: Likely to be one of the races of the meeting as all eyes will be on the unbeaten SHISKHIN, who will be looking for his third Festival win after taking the 2000 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and last year’s Arkle Chase. He’s now 7-from-7 over fences and battled on well to beat his main rival here Energumene in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot last time. The Cheltenham Hill will suit - as he’s proved in the past - and after that hard race last time out has had almost 2 months off. Of, course Willie Mullins’ Energumene won’t be a pushover, but those against him might look to the fact this is his first try here at Cheltenham. Chacun Pour Soi (last year’s third) is another big player for Mullins and he’s a very decent 2m chaser on his day, but his big question mark at the moment is he’s run poorly both times he’s raced outside Ireland. Last year’s winner - Put The Kettle On hasn’t kicked on since taking this, but does love the track so it would be no shock if she bounced back here to run well at a big price and gets the mares’ allowance (7lbs) again. Envoi Allen could be the forgotten horse in the race - this time last year he was billed as the second coming but fell in the Marsh Novices’ Chase. He’s had a wind op recently though and bounced back to winning form last time at Leopardstown - you never know! But the other pick is NUBE NEGRA (e/w). This Dan Skelton runner was runner-up by ½ a length and was an impressive winner of the Shloer Chase here back in November. He’s only been out of the first three once from 9 starts over fences and looks to have his conditions again to be a player for the places.

 

    4.10 - Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y ITV

 

2021 Winner: TIGER ROLL (9/2)
Trainer – Denise Foster
Jockey – Keith Donoghue  

Pluses….

  • The Irish have won 14 of the last 17 runnings
  • Respect Enda Bolger-trained runners (won the race 5 times)
  • 20 of the last 24 winners came from the top three in the betting
  • 9 of the last 17 ran in the December Cross Country race here
  • 14 of the last 17 winners had run on the course before
  • Respect Keith Donoghue (3 wins) and Davy Russell (2 wins)
  • 13 or the last 17 winners were aged 10 or younger
  • 7 of the last 11 winners were aged 8 or 9
  • Trainer Philip Hobbs is 2 from 11 (5 placed in the top 5 too)
  • Trainer Gordon Elliott has won 3 of the last 5 runnings
  • 7 winners since 2005 owned by JP McManus
  • 9 of the last 17 winners had run in the NH Chase before
  • 4 of the last 7 winners were owned by the Gigginstown Stud House
  • The last 6 winners all wore headgear

Negatives….

  • Debutants over these fences/course have a poor record
  • Horses aged 7 or younger are only 3 from 99, but the 2020 winner was 6
  • Trainer Willie Mullins is 0 from 15
  • Trainer Paul Nicholls is 0 from 13

TQ VERDICT: The roar for TIGER ROLL will probably be the loudest at the meeting, should he take this again. He’s won the Cross Country three times before and a Festival legend with five overall wins at this meeting. He’s no spring chicken at 12, but the reports coming out of the Elliott yard are that he’s in great form and should be spot on after a spin over hurdles at Navan at the end of January. We know that course form is key, and he’s got that in abundance. His stablemate - Delta Work - is classy on his day, but his lack of experience over these unique fences is the worry for him. Enda Bolger loves to target the race and has won it 5 times, but has just one win in the last 10 (2016, Josies Orders) - he runs Prengarde, Shady Operator and Midnight Maestro. All three are owned by JP McManus and certainly have squeaks. Back On The Lash and Diesel D’Allier are both proven course winners and could run into places, but the other pick is the 2000 winner - EASYSLAND (e/w). He’s not kicked on since taking this a few years ago, but is still only 8 and has changed stables (Jonjo O’Neill) since. He’s been running in races that are not suited recently so we can ignore those, but his form at the course is decent 1-1-4-2, so of those at bigger prices he looks the most solid.

 

    4.50 - Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 62y ITV

 

2021 Winner: SKY PIRATE (14/1)
Trainer – Jonjo O’Neill
Jockey – Nick Schofield

Pluses….

  • 7 of the last 8 winners carried 11st or more
  • 15 of the last 18 winners had run at the Festival before
  • 8 of the last 18 winners ran in the previous renewal
  • Irish have won 4 of the last 9 runnings
  • 8 of the last 12 winners came from outside the top 5 in the betting
  • 9 of the last 13 winners novices or second season chasers
  • 11 of the last 16 winners aged between 6-8
  • 12 of the last 18 winners were aged 8 or older
  • Henderson, Nicholls, King-trained horses are respected
  • Paul Nicholls has won 4 of the last 18
  • Respect JP McManus-owned horses (4 winners, 10 placed)
  • The last 11 winners were rated at least 138
  • 5 year-olds have a good record (from few runners of that age that have run)
  • Novices have won 6 of the last 13 runnings
  • 5 of the last 7 winners won after a 91+ day break
  • 9 of the last 11 winners were rated between 138-147
  • 10 of the last 11 winners rated between 138-150
  • 8 of the last 11 winners carried 10-11 or more in weight
  • 19 of the last 22 winners had run no more than 12 times over fences

Negatives….

  • Horses aged 10+ are just 2 wins from the last 26 runnings
  • Horses that last ran 45 days or more ago have seen just 8 winners since 1990
  • Last time out winners are just 1 from last 15
  • Horses aged 6 or younger (from top 3 in the market) are just 1 from 30 since 2005
  • Only 2 of the last 16 winners were favourites
  • Just 2 winners since 2000 had run in more than 12 chases
  • Horses that won a handicap chase that season have a bad recent record

TQ VERDICT: Sky Pirate won this race last season and is only 4lbs higher in the ratings. He’s not won a race since but has seen running okay all season to suggest he’s a player again. With 9 of the last 11 winners rated between 138 and 150, then this is good news for these horses - For Pleasure, Capuccimix, Gumball, Poseidon, Frero Banbou, Thyme White, Il Ridoto, Dancing On My Own, Amarillo Sky, Elixir De Nutz, Buddy Rich, Embittered, Before Midnight, Exit Poll and A Wave Of Sea. Outside that bunch, the likes of Andy Dufresne and Editeur Du Gite have been popular in the betting, but the three I’m siding with here are EMBITTERED, DANCING ON MY OWN and THYME WHITE. The last-named is from the Paul Nicholls yard that like to do well in this race and heads here off a nice win at Donny. Up 8lbs for that but did it well and Bryony Frost, who was on that day, keeps the ride. Was also only 1 ½ lengths behind Amarillo Sky at Wincanton on his chase debut in November and should have more to offer with just 3 runs over fences. Embittered is interesting too for the Joseph O’Brien yard. He was going well when falling in this race as favourite last year and even though that tumble is a small worry, he’s done well to win twice since and not fallen in his last nine. A recent run at Leopardstown in a G1 would have him spot on for this in much calmer waters. Finally, Dancing On My Own is another that has to be noted as a possible improver. Yes, he fell last time at Punchestown, but did beat another fancy here - Buddy Rich - on his chasing debut in October so has clearly got potential on that evidence.

 

    5.30 - Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y RTV

 

2021 Winner: SIR GERHARD
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Rachael Blackmore

Pluses….

  • 27 of the last 29 had won last time out (all of last 18)
  • 22 of the last 29 winners trained in Ireland
  • Respect Irish-trained runners (22 from 38)
  • 20 of the last 29 came from the top 6 in the betting
  • 22 of the last 29 were Irish-bred
  • 11 of the last 21 winners were second season horses
  • 15 of the last 16 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
  • 18 of the last 29 winners aged 5 years-old
  • 18 of the last 20 had their debut runs in Ireland
  • 12 of the last 19 had been beaten in a race before
  • 6 of the last 12 winners returned between 14/1 and 40/1
  • Respect Willie Mullins (11 winners) – also had first three in 2018 and first and second in 2020 and 2021
  • The Irish lead the British 23-7 in the race history
  • Trainer Gordon Elliott has won 2 of the last 5 runnings
  • 10 of the last 19 winners came from the top 3 in the betting
  • Mares are 3-18 in the last 18 runnings
  • 5 of the last 6 winners had run in February
  • Last 3 winners owned by Cheveley Park Stud

Negatives….

  • Avoid horses with 4 or more NH Flat runs
  • Just 2 winners failed to win last time out
  • Just 2 of the last 11 winners hadn’t run that calendar year
  • 4 of the last 11 winners were won by UK-based trainers
  • 4 year-olds are 1 from 64 since 2000 (Cue Card)
  • Gigginstown, Paul Nicholls & Nicky Henderson don’t often focus on the race

TQ VERDICT: With 11 wins in this race (3 of the last 4), the Willie Mullins yard are always respected - he’s got another army of 7 runners, but it’s his Facile Vega that’s been grabbing all the headlines. This 5 year-old has won both starts in impressive fashion - including at the Dublin Racing Festival last time out. He looks a star of the future, but also doesn’t look great value in a race that can produce some shocks. These young and lightly-raced sorts can improve a lot between races so there could easily be something lurking in the woodwork and Mullins is also no stranger to winning this race with one of his bigger-priced runners in the field. Facile Vega’s main challenger though looks to be AMERICAN MIKE, who also heads here with a big reputation after two easy wins. Trained by Gordon Elliott, who has won 2 of the last five runnings, and ridden by Jamie Codd, who has two wins since 2017 to his name too. Of the rest, you have to respect all the other Mullins runners - Redemption Day, James’s Gate, Madmansgame, Houlanbatordechais, Seabank Bistro and Viva Devito, but a chance is also taken on the Fergal O’Brien runner - POETIC MUSIC (e/w). She’s 3-from-3 so far and ran on well to win at this track on New Year’s Day too. Of course, this is tougher, but being a 4 year-old mare gets a massive 17lbs off all the others in the race barring Rosy Reddrum and that’s a big weight pull. Paddy Brennan rides.

 

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