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13th April 2021

Cheltenham Festival Tips and Trends – (DAY TWO: Weds 17th March 2021)

Each day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival here at TRAINERS-QUOTES 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 18 of the last 22 Champion Chase winners came from the first three in the betting?

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

 

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY TWO:

Wednesday 17th March (Old Course & Cross Country)

 

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

2020 Winner: ENVOI ALLEN 4/7 fav
Trainer – Gordon Elliott
Jockey – Davy Russell

Pluses….

  • 14 of the last 16 winners came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 5 of the last 7 winners were unbeaten over hurdles
  • 10 of the last 12 winners came from the top two-rated on BHA ratings
  • 16 of the last 20 winners returned 17/2 or shorter
  • 20 of the last 26 winners won last time out
  • 25 of the last 26 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • The Irish have won 11 of the last 18 (6 of last 7)
  • Horses rated 150+ do well
  • 9 of the last 12 winners had won a Graded Novice Hurdle
  • 21 of the last 26 winners (including last 11) had won at least one bumper race
  • All of the last 15 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
  • 9 of the last 10 winners were aged 6
  • In the last 10 runnings Irish-trained horses have filled 18 of the 30 top 3 places
  • 20 of the last 22 were NH bred
  • 14 of the last 22 had won a graded race before
  • Look for past Irish point-to-point winners (7 of the last 11 had won an Irish Point)
  • Respect Willie Mullins – 4 winners and 8 placed in last 15 years
  • Gordon Elliott has won 2 of the last 3

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 17 Challow Hurdle winners have all been beaten
  • Avoid ex-flat horses (since 2005 all have been beaten. 0 from 30 in the last 15 years)

TQ VERDICT: Just the seven runners here, which is a bit of a shame, but we are still set for a fascinating renewal of the day two opener. However, even though the likes of Bear Ghylls, Keskonrisk, Does He Know, who is the only CD winner in the field, and Optimise Prime all set fair standards at the right level, this is another step up for them and really the three to focus on are Bob Olinger, Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame. It’s a race the Irish have done well in recently – winning 6 of the last 7 – so, of the main trio mentioned, the Paul Nicholls and UK-trained Bravemansgame will be trying to defy that trend, with the other two both Irish runners. He was an impressive winner of the Challow Hurdle last time out at Newbury and it’s no secret the Nicholls camp hold him in high regard – I remember an interview with jockey Bryony Frost a few years back, when she was asked to give a horse to look out for and she said this one – she wasn’t wrong. However, this will be his biggest test so far and the only niggle is that ALL of the last 17 Challow Hurdle winners have been beaten in this race. Of the Irish pair - Gaillard Du Mesnil – was a nice winner at the Dublin Racing Festival last time out and the Willie Mullins yard have a fine record in this race too. He stays further, so the hill will be fine and it really is hard to crab his chance. So, it’s a tight call – I really can’t put you off any of the main three – after all there is only a pound between them on the official ratings! But I’ve got to stick my neck out and the Henry De Bromhead runner – BOB OLINGER – gets the verdict. He’s won two of his three starts over hurdles and was very impressive last time at Naas when landing a Grade One. He had Blue Lord just over 6 lengths back that day, so you feel Mullins will have a rough idea where he stands with his runner - Gaillard Du Mesnil. However, I just feel that Bob Olinger might just have a bit too much pace for the other two, having won well over 2m4f the last day and travelling so strongly through the race. Yes, he’s got another furlong to go here, but wasn’t stopping that day and with only four career runs under rules can be expected to have more in the locker too.

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

2020 Winner: CHAMP 4/1
Trainer – Nicky Henderson
Jockey – Barry Geraghty

Pluses….

  • 4 of the last 12 winners ran in the Flogas Chase (Leopardstown, 4th Feb) that season
  • The last 19 winners had run in a Graded Novice Chase
  • 13 of the last 14 winners finished 1st or 2nd in a G1/G2 over fences
  • 23 of the last 26 winners had only one previous season over hurdles
  • Respect 7 year-olds – won 11 of the last 14 (16 of last 21)
  • 9 of the last 15 winners won last time out
  • 7 of the last 11 winners were beaten on their chase debut
  • 8 of the last 13 winners had won a bumper before
  • 6 of the last 14 favourites won
  • 18 of the last 20 winners had run between 3-5 times over fences
  • Every winner since 1997 had their chase debut the previous year
  • Irish bred horses are 20 from the last 24
  • 9 of the last 14 winners had won a Grade 1 or 2 Chase
  • 6 of the last 12 winners were trained in Ireland
  • Trainers Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls often do well in the race (10 of the last 17 between them)
  • 23 of the last 28 were novice hurdling last season
  • 5 of the last 11 winners ran in the Albert Bartlett the previous season
  • Look for horses that ran that same calendar year (52 of the last 54 winners had)
  • 11 of the last 14 winners had raced at the Festival the previous year
  • The last 6 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 21 winners had run less than 3 times over fences
  • The last 22 winners of the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Feltham, Kempton 26th Dec) have lost
  • Avoid unbeaten horses (only 2 of the last 21 winners)
  • Mares are currently 0-from-11 in the race
  • Horses in headgear are currently 0 from 30

TQ VERDICT: This race won’t take long! Barring accidents, it will be one of the shocks of the Festival if the Willie Mullins-trained – MONKFISH – isn’t taking this race. He was a gutsy winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Festival last season and since switching to fences is 3-from-3. His jumping has caught the eye of many and this recent win at Leopardstown was his best yet, when an easy 11 length winner of the Flogas Novices’ Chase. His previous Festival experience will help too and we know if this should (probably won’t) get into a scrap with another horse, then he’s gutsy based on his win at the Festival last year. Of the rest, Eklat De Rire can go well for the Henry De Bromhead yard, while the reports coming out of the Colin Tizzard camp are their The Big Breakaway is working well at home. But the dark horse in the race could be SPORTING JOHN (e/w), who bounced back to form when beating Shan Blue last time at Sandown. He travelled well that day and this former useful hurdler could be ready to make a name for himself over fences. He does, however, have this longer trip to cope with and he’s still rated 11lbs inferior to Monkfish, but that last run was very encouraging, and he could be the one to follow home the Mullins horse if finding a bit more improvement for the step up in trip.

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

2020 Winner: DAME DE COMPAGNIE (5/1 fav)
Trainer – Nicky Henderson
Jockey – Barry Geraghty

Pluses….

  • 11 of the last 16 were 2nd season hurdlers
  • 17 of the last 20 winners raced less than 10 times over hurdles
  • 9 of the last 11 winners had run at the Festival before
  • 9 of the last 12 winners hailed from the top 8 horses in the weights
  • 9 of the last 12 winners were rated in the 140’s
  • 13 of the last 21 winners aged 6 or 7
  • 7 of the last 11 winners DIDN’T win last time out
  • 12 of the last 15 winners hailed form the top 7 in the betting
  • 19 of the last 26 winners won earlier that season
  • Respect JP McManus-owned runners
  • Respect trainers Nicky Henderson & Gordon Elliott (6 wins in last 11 years)
  • 10 of the last 19 winners were FRENCH-BRED
  • 14 of the last 27 won last time out
  • Respect Irish-trained runners (5 of the last 12)
  • Look for horses that had raced 4 or less times that season (last 12 winners)
  • 14 of the last 16 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)

Negatives….

  • Just one winning favourite in the last 17 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 – 41 runners – just two placed inside the top 2 (1 from 36 in last decade)

TQ VERDICT: Top owner – JP McManus – has often done well in this race so his three runners – Palmers Hill, Blue Sari and Birchdale can’t be ruled out. Blue Sari was a close second to Envoi Allen here in the 2019 Bumper but has failed to progress since as many thought. He’s been pulled up the last twice, but a return to Cheltenham might spark him back to life and with just 10-9 in weight could be dangerous for the Mullins yard. But this is a race Mullins doesn’t have a great record in – yes, he won the race in 2018, but is just 1 from 36 in the last decade. He also runs Koshari, Dysart Diamond and Sayo. The Gordon Elliott yard have done well in this contest too, so even though the horses are not running in his name – their Grand Roi looks to have a big chance and is probably the likely favourite. He’s run well in two Graded hurdles this season and should have more to come with only 5 runs over hurdles. But should he go off as the market leader, it’s worth noting we’ve only had one winning favourite in the last 17 years. Nicky Henderson is another trainer that’s done well in the race – he runs an army this year too! Monte Cristo, Birchdale, Craigneiche and Janika. Of that bunch, I think the Nico De Boinville-ridden BIRCHDALE (e/w) is worth an interest. He was a fair 8th in this race last year – beaten just over 9 lengths, but is 2lbs lower this time and also another year older. He returned with a third in a NH Flat race at Kempton last month and is also a course winner at Cheltenham. He’s clearly a horse that’s had his issues over the years, but is lightly-raced for his age (8 career runs) and most importantly runs in the famous green and gold McManus silks that often do so well in this race. Another Henderson runner – Craigneiche – returned from a year off to win well at Ascot last time, but his up 12lbs for that here and you’d be a bit worried about the dreaded ‘bounce factor’ after such a time off. So, their other runner – MONTE CRISTO (e/w) – is the second pick. This 5 year-old ran on well to win at Kempton on Boxing Day and it’s interesting that he’s not been out since – maybe to protect his handicap mark? He’s only 5 and has also ran at the track before too (Jan 20), so certainly looks an interesting runner for the Seven Barrows camp. At bigger prices, recent winners – Boreham Bill, Heaven Help Us and Shang Tang can go well, but the other of interest here is the Gary Moore runner – BOTOX HAS (e/w). This 5 year-old was well back behind Craigneiche last time at Ascot, but the big plus is the return to Cheltenham – his record here is impressive 2-2-1! He won here back in October and back in December 19 beat last Saturday’s Imperial Cup winner, Langer Dan, easily at the track too. He also kept on well to suggest the longer trip, that he’s trying for the first time, here will suit and is also dropped 2lbs from that last run. 10st 13lbs looks a nice racing weight too so it would be no shock to see him bounce back to form at a venue he loves.

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

2020 Winner: POLITOLOGUE 6/1
Trainer – Paul Nicholls
Jockey – Harry Skelton

Pluses….

  • 13 of the last 20 winners ran in the Tingle Creek Chase that season
  • 4 of the last 8 winners won the Clarence House Chase (Ascot) that season
  • 23 of the last 36 had won at the Festival before
  • Paul Nicholls & Nicky Henderson have won 9 of the last 13 between them
  • Nicky Henderson has won 5 of the last 9
  • 14 of the last 20 winners aged between 7-9
  • 14 of the last 19 winners won last time out
  • 16 of the last 18 winners had run that calendar year
  • 37 of the last 39 winners returned 10/1 or shorter
  • 15 of the last 21 winners returned 5/1 or shorter
  • 7 of the last 14 winners were French-bred
  • 11 of the last 18 winners were second season chasers
  • 14 of the last 16 winners had run 2 or 3 times that season
  • 18 of the last 22 winners came from the top 3 in the betting
  • 15 of the last 21 winners ran in the previous season’s Arkle or Champion Chase
  • 6 of the last 10 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 37 years
  • Just 1 winner in last 16 had run 4+ times that season
  • Horses that didn’t run in that calendar year are 2-from-30
  • Top Irish trainer, Willie Mullins, is yet to win this race (0-from-10)
  • Just 1 of the last 19 winners hadn’t won a Grade 1 Chase before
  • 12 of the last 15 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 42 years
  • No Mare has ever won the race

 

Queen Mother Champion Chase Betting Trends

16/18 – Had raced within the last 8 weeks
16/18 – Had won at least 5 times over fences before
16/18 – Had run over fences at Cheltenham before
14/18 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
13/18 – Returned 5/1 or shorter in the betting
13/18 – Won last time out
11/18 – Placed favourites
11/18 – Winning distance – 5 lengths or more
10/18 – Had won over fences at Cheltenham before
8/18 – Irish bred
8/18 – French bred
7/18 – Winning favourites
6/18 – Won by an Irish-trained horse
6/18 – Won the Arkle Chase the previous season
4/18 – Ran in the Tied Cottage Chase (Punchestown) last time out
4/18 – Had won the race before
3/18 – Ran in the Game Spirit Chase (Newbury) last time out
The average winning SP in the last 18 runnings is 9/2

 

Other Queen Mother Champion Chase Stats

 

14 of the last 20 winners ran in that season’s Tingle Creek Chase (Sandown)
22 of the last 36 winners had previously won at the Cheltenham Festival
38 of the last 39 winners returned 11/1 or shorter in the betting
16 of the last 19 Arkle Chase winners to run the next season in this have finished placed or better
18 of the last 19 winners had won a Grade One Chase previously

 

Champion Chase – 23 Year Trends

17/23 – British-trained winners
6/23 – Irish-trained winners
Willie Mullins (Ire) is yet to train the winner
Nicky Henderson (UK) has trained 5 of the last 9 winners (won the race 6 times in total)
Paul Nicholls (UK) has trained 6 of the last 21 winners
Henry de Bromhead (Ire) has trained 2 of the last 10 winners
Jessica Harrington (Ire) has trained 2 of the last 18 winners

TQ VERDICT: 12 months ago, the Willie Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi and the two-time winner of this race – Altior – both had to pull out of contest, which left the door open for the Paul Nicholls grey – Politologue – to grab the headlines and record an incredible six wins in the race for his trainer – he needs just one more to become the all-time winning hander in the race! Having said that, the Nicky Henderson yard have also secured six Champion Chase wins – however, just as I write this the news is coming through that Henderson’s Altior is out of the race again!! He’s scoped badly by all accounts, so will miss the race for a second time in as many years and you wonder if connections will pull stumps for this former champion now – we’ll see! Anyway, it’s also a race at the Cheltenham Festival that’s so-far eluded the powerful Willie Mullins team – surprising, I know – but I think they can put that record straight here with CHACUN POUR SOI. This talented 9 year-old is the clear top-rated in the field (173), and his record of 6 chase wins from 8 is impressive. He’s returned this season with three more wins – the last being an easy success in the G1 Dublin Chase at Leopardstown, which is the best form heading into this. He’s been a fragile horse to train for Mullins, but many feel at the age of 9 he’s now peaking and that’s been backed up with his slick jumping and three easy wins this term. He’s also still lightly-raced for his age (8 chase runs and 11 in total), so there could be even more to come. Those against him might look this this being his first taster of the Festival and also Cheltenham, but there is no obvious reason to think it won’t suit him. He’s won over slightly further this season (2m 1 1/2f) so the hill and stamina needed to win this should be okay. Oh and – as mentioned – his jumping has been spot-on this season. With one of his main rivals – Altior – now out of the race, this has also made his task that bit easier. Of course, we can’t rule out last year’s winners – Politologue. But, you would say this year’s race is a lot hotter than the one Politologue won 12 months ago, while he needs to bounce back after First Flow bet him 7 lengths in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January. Of the rest, the winning machine that is First Flow – as mentioned - beat Politologue by 7 lengths last time at Ascot in the Clarence House and probably didn’t get the credit that he deserved for that. He’s a fast-improving chaser in this division and we can expect another bold and gutsy display from the front from his underrated jockey David Bass. Nube Negra also falls into the category of ‘improving 2m chaser’ and with only 5 runs over the bigger obstacles there could be more to come. He’s already beaten Altior this season and is a horse that goes well fresh, plus is versatile with the ground. The slight concern is that he’s run at Cheltenham three times now (all hurdles) and is yet to win – so do the flatter, tighter tracks suit him better? Sceau Royal is a strong traveller that’s run well in the race before, so it would be no shock if he bagged a place. But the other to have a small interest in is last year’s Arkle Chase winner – PUT THE KETTLE ON (e/w). Arkle winners have a fair record when stepping up into this race and being a mare she gets a handy 7lbs from the rest too. She’s been kept fresh for the race and her trainer – Henry De Bromhead – is no stranger to winning this race after landing he prize in 2011 with Sizing Europe and in 2-17 with Special Tiara. Her main asset is her love for Cheltenham – she’s 3-from-3 here at Prestbury Park and wasn’t disgraced last time at Leopardstown when around 8 lengths behind Chacun Pour Soi. But back at her favoured Cheltenham, she’ll at least have an advantage over the Mullins horse, who is yet to race here. She likes to be held up and come late and with First Flow expected to blast out in front, this should set things up nicely for her to come with her customary late finish and stay on well up the hill.

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

2020 Winner: EASYSLAND 3/1
Trainer – David Cottin
Jockey – Jonathan Plouganou

Pluses….

  • The Irish have won 13 of the last 16 runnings
  • Respect Enda Bolger-trained runners (won the race 5 times)
  • 19 of the last 23 winners came from the top three in the betting
  • 9 of the last 16 ran in the December Cross Country race here
  • 13 of the last 16 winners had run on the course before
  • Respect Keith Donoghue, Richard Johnson and Davy Russell have 2 wins each
  • 13 or the last 16 winners were aged 10 or younger
  • 7 of the last 10 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 4 runnings
  • 7 winners since 2005 owned by JP McManus
  • 8 of the last 16 winners had run in the NH Chase before
  • 3 of the last 6 winners were owned by the Gigginstown Stud House

Negatives….

  • Debutants over these fences/course have a poor record
  • Horses aged 7 or younger are only 3 from 98, but last year’s winner was 6
  • Trainer Willie Mullins is 0 from 15
  • Trainer Paul Nicholls is 0 from 13

TQ VERDICT: A win for the two-time Grand National winner – Tiger Roll – here would bring the house down and he’s no stranger to winning this race either after taking it well in 2019. But, he was put in his place here 12 months ago by the French raider EASYSLAND and it could be more of the same this time. Yes, Easysland was beaten here at the November Meeting, but that race is a handicap so had to give plenty of weight away, but still ran well to finish a fair fourth. But on level weights, he’s the clear one to beat and the top-rated in the field. At just 7 years-old he’s also got plenty of time on his hands and, as he showed last year, the younger legs can get the better of Tiger and Co again. Of the rest, Potters Corner was third over the course in November, but has run two average races since. Kingswell Theatre won that November Cross Country race so his course experience is a plus, but it would be a big ask now at level weights – he’s rated 28lbs inferior to Easysland. Previous Festival winners - Balko Des Flos and Le Breuil - would be interesting if taking to the fences, but this race does tend to go to horses that have tried the course before. The likes of Some Neck, who won here over CD in December and will be ridden by Richard Johnson, ticks that trends, while the likes of Defi Des Carres (2nd) and Out Sam (4th) have shown they can handle the obstacles too.

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

2020 Winner: CHOSEN MATE 7/2fav
Trainer – Gordon Elliott
Jockey – Davy Russell  

Pluses….

  • 16 of the last 21 winners carried 11st or less
  • 14 of the last 17 winners had run at the Festival before
  • 8 of the last 17 winners ran in the previous renewal
  • Irish have won 4 of the last 8 runnings
  • 8 of the last 11 winners came from outside the top 5 in the betting
  • 9 of the last 12 winners novices or second season chasers
  • 11 of the last 17 winners were aged 8 or older
  • Henderson, Nicholls, King-trained horses are respected
  • Paul Nicholls has won 4 of the last 17
  • Respect JP McManus-owned horses (4 winners, 9 placed)
  • The last 10 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 12 runnings
  • 5 of the last 6 winners won after a 91+ day break
  • 7 of the last 10 winners were rated between 140-147
  • The last 10 winners rated between 138-150
  • 8 of the last 10 winners carried 10-11 or more in weight
  • 19 of the last 21 winners had run no more than 12 times over fences

Negatives….

  • Horses aged 10+ are just 2 wins from the last 25 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
  • Just 2 winners rated 147+ since 1992
  • 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: The Gordon Elliott-trained Chosen Mate won this race 12 months ago – he’ll be looking to become the first horse since 1976 to win the race back-to-back. He’s also rated 9lbs higher this time, but connections are offsetting the bulk of that with the jockey’s 7lb claim – based on that he can’t be ruled out. The last 10 winners were officially rated between 138 and 150, so the ones the tick this trend are ASHUTOR, ON THE SLOPES, ENTOUCAS, ZANZA, EMBITTERED, AMOOLA GOLD, GLEN FORSA, MOONLIGHTER, US AND THEN and BUN DORAN. Just outside that rating trend is Sky Pirate (152) and he was a good winner here at the December Meeting. He’s since run well behind Allmankind and beat Amoola Gold at Warwick. He is rated 18lbs higher than that last Cheltenham win though, but is clearly an improving sort that has to enter calculations. Paul Nicholls has a good record in the race too – he runs Duc Des Genievres and ASHUTOR (e/w), the former gets in with a low weight and could go well at a fair price. It’s also another race owner JP McManus does well in – his only got the one runner this year – Entoucas – who is sure to be well-supported from the Joseph O’Brien yard, but the worry with him in a race like this is that he’s yet to win a race over fences ( 0 from 5). Expect Moonlighter to go well from the front, but he might just set things up for the others. - he might still be worth chancing (more below). But the main pick here is the Philip Hobbs runner ZANZA (e/w). This 7 year-old fell when still going well in the race Sky Pirate won here back in December. He gets in off the same mark though – whereas Sky Pirate has shot up the ratings. There was every chance he might have even won that race, and the fact he’s been kept off since suggests connections are trying to protect that mark. Yes, that fall last time isn’t ideal, but he’s had a lot of time to get over it and was also a nice winner the time before at Newbury. He’s also tasted the Festival before, when down the field in the County Hurdle 12 months ago, so that experience will help. Of the Irish challenge, Embittered is respected, as is last year's winner - Chosen Mate with a 7lb claimer on, but the Joseph O'Brien runner - ENTOUCAS (e/w) - is the other worth a play. This 7 year-old will run in the JP McManus silks and he loves to target this race. A weight of 10-13 looks a nice racing weight for this race and even though it's not ideal that he's yet to win a race over fences, he's run some fair races in defeat and ran well again at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown last month (4th of 20).

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

2020 Winner: FERNY HOLLOW
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Paul Townend

Pluses….

  • 26 of the last 28 had won last time out (all of last 17)
  • 21 of the last 28 winners trained in Ireland
  • Respect Irish-trained runners (21 from 37)
  • 19 of the last 28 came from the top 6 in the betting
  • 21 of the last 28 were Irish-bred
  • 10 of the last 20 winners were second season horses
  • 14 of the last 15 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
  • 18 of the last 28 winners aged 5 years-old
  • 18 of the last 20 had their debut runs in Ireland
  • 12 of the last 18 had been beaten in a race before
  • 6 of the last 11 winners returned between 14/1 and 40/1
  • Respect Willie Mullins (10 winners) – also had first three in 2018 and first and second in 2020
  • The Irish lead the British 22-7 in the race history
  • Trainer Gordon Elliott has won 2 of the last 4 runnings
  • 9 of the last 18 winners came from the top 3 in the betting
  • Mares are 3-17 in the last 18 runnings
  • The last 5 winners had run in February
  • Last 2 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: Always a tricky race to end day two with and a prize the Willie Mullins and Elliot yards have dominated in recent years. Mullins has won the race a staggering 10 times and will be hoping for win number 11 with Cool Jet, Ramillies, Grangee, Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit running under this name. Plus, with the last two named the first duo in the betting then he’ll be a short price to simply train the winner of the race. The Cheveley Park Stud have owned the last two winners of this race so their Sir Gerhard will be a popular choice to land the three-timer for connections. He beat a horse called Letsbeclearaboutit by 4 ½ lengths last time in December and it cold have been more. He’s been kept off the track since and with all the Gordon Elliot saga, he has since been moved to Mullins to strengthen their team – he’s, of course, a big player. But, it was hard to not be impressed with the other Mullins runner – KILCRUIT – when bolting up at Leopardstown last month. The key form line is that this 6 year-old had that same horse – Letsbeclearaboutit – also beaten into second, but he was 12 lengths ahead (and growing) at the line.  Of course, this is a much more competitive race and something else could come out of the woodwork – don’t forget Mullins took this with a lesser fancied sort 12 months ago to beat his Appreciate It. But the first two in the betting are the two clear top-rated in the field and this year I’m happy to stick with the more fancied Mullins runners and recent Leopardstown scorer – Kilcruit. Of the rest, mares have a fair record so another Mullins runner – GRANGEE (e/w) – could go well at a nice price. She gets a handy 7lbs allowance off the male horses in the race and having won two of her three starts knows where the winning line is. Her only defeat came at the hands of Eileendover, who is a nice sort that is Aintree bound, so didn’t lose anything in defeat that day, in my opinion.

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