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6th December 2022

2022 Cheltenham Festival Tips and Trends – (DAY ONE: Tues 15th March 2022)

Each day of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, here at TQ, we'll give you our quick-fire positive and negative trends 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 - 32 of the last 38 Champion Hurdle winners won last time out?

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 ONE:

Tuesday 15th March 2022 (Old Course)   

 

1.30 - Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y ITV

2021 Winner: APPRECIATE IT 8/11 fav
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Paul Townend

Pluses…..

  • 22 of the last 25 winners won their last race
  • 14 of the last 18 winners had raced in at least 4 hurdles races before
  • 10 of the last 12 winners came from the first 4 in the market
  • 9 of the last 10 winners have all won a graded Novice Hurdle before
  • 21 of the last 27 winners ran in the last 45 days
  • Irish-trained horses have won 17 of the last 30 runnings
  • 5 & 6 year-olds have the best record – winning 15 of the last 17 runnings
  • Willie Mullins has won the race 7 times in total and for 5 of the last 9 years
  • 25 of the last 27 winners had raced that same calendar year
  • Owner Rich Ricci & trainer Willie Mullins have won 3 of the last 9 runnings
  • 6 of the last 8 winners had been rated 153 or more
  • 9 of the last 10 winners had won a graded Novice Hurdle before
  • 8 of the last 9 winners returned a single-figure price
  • 9 of the last 13 winners were previous bumper winners

Negatives…..

  • Horses that FAILED to win last time out before coming here are just 3 from the last 25. In other words, look for horses that won last time out!
  • Since 1992 all horses (38) wearing head-gear have been beaten
  • We’ve seen just two ex-flat horses win since 2008
  • Just 2 of the last 19 winners came here unbeaten
  • Just 1 of the last 19 winners aged 7 or older
  • Just 2 outright winning favourites in the last 17 runnings
  • Betfair Hurdle winners are 0-from-8 in the last decade
  • Nicky Henderson is 2 from 39 since 1993 (Shishkin (2020) and Altior (2016) his two winners for this period)

TQ VERDICT: Plenty of reputations on the line here, with the first three in the betting all unbeaten, while the first four in the betting are trained by Henderson (Jonbon & Constitution Hill) and Mullins (Dysart Dynamo & Kilcruit) so it could be a straight shootout between the two trainers here. Constitution Hill was an eye-catching winner of the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January, but I’m not totally convinced about that form. The second - Jetoile - has since finished last in the Betfair Hurdle and Sandown is a very different track to Cheltenham. Jonbon has lived up to his hype so far - winning all three hurdles starts - being related to Douvan. I’ve been impressed with his slick jumping and it’s hard to knock his chance. However, Mullins has won the race five times in the last 9 years and I’m happy to side with him again. DYSART DYNAMO looks their main hope with Paul Townend preferring him.  He’s 4-from-4 now (2 NH Flat and 2 hurdles) and has won his last two by an aggregate of 38 lengths. Having also won over further is a plus and looks the sort to go to the very top. KILCRUIT was a close second in the Champion Bumper last season here and even though he’s taken his time to get going over hurdles was a nice winner of a Grade Two at Punchestown last time and also represents last year’s winning connections. Of the rest, you can’t rule out Mighty Porter for the Gordon Elliott yard after a nice G1 win at Leopardstown over Christmas - the negative though would be that 25 of the last 27 winners ran that calendar year.

2.10 - Sporting Life Arkle Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y ITV

2021 Winner: SHISHKIN (4/9 fav)
Trainer – Nicky Henderson
Jockey – Nico de Boinville

Pluses….

  • 14 of the last 17 winners had won (or been placed) at Cheltenham before
  • 16 of the last 22 winners had won a Grade 1 or 2 chase before
  • The last 12 winners won last time out (plus 17 of the last 21)
  • 20 of the last 22 winners returned 9/1 or shorter
  • 12 of the last 16 winners had won at least twice over fences before
  • 14 of the last 15 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
  • 15 of the last 19 winners had run 3 or 4 times over fences
  • 13 of the last 18 winners at run at the previous year’s Cheltenham Festival
  • 12 of the last 21 winners were the top or second top-rated hurdler in the field
  • 8 of the last 10 winners were unbeaten over fences
  • Nicky Henderson has won the race 7 times
  • Willie Mullins has won 4 of the last 7 runnings (all French-bred)
  • 8 of the last 10 winners trained by Willie Mullins or Nicky Henderson

Negatives…..

  • Only 2 of the last 35 winners failed to win of finish second last time out
  • Just 3 of the last 31 winners started 11/1 or bigger in the betting
  • Only 3 of the last 30 winners were older than 7 years-old
  • The last horse aged 9 (or older) to win was in 1988
  • The last 29 ex-flat horses to run have all lost
  • Only 1 winner since 2000 won with headgear
  • 5 year-olds are 0-13 in the last 13 years
  • Shishkin (2021), Douvan (2016) and Altior (2017) were the first Supreme Hurdle winners (prev season) that have followed-up in this race since 1965
  • Trainer Paul Nicholls has had 12 unplaced from his last 13 runners

TQ VERDICT: It’s hard to crab what Edwardstone has done this season - winning his last four starts over fences - he’ll be popular for the Alan King yard. However, the worry is that 14 of the last 15 winners were aged 6 or 7, so at 8 years-old this is a big negative. He’s also raced at Cheltenham (all hurdles) three times and been unplaced each time. Blue Lord just got the better of Riviere D’Etel in the Irish Arkle last time (1/2) and there shouldn’t be much between them again. But RIVIERE D ETEL was hampered late on that day and you feel that without that interference would have won that race. This Gordon Elliott runner has won three of her 5 starts over fences and being a mare also gets a handy 7lbs allowance again here. Of the rest, Haut En Couleurs, Saint Sam, who was third in the Irish Arkle and Magic Daze are other players here, but the second pick is COEUR SUBLIME (e/w). This Henry De Bromhead runner got off the mark at the third try over fences last time at Gowran Park by 12 lengths and jockey Rachael Blackmore also prefers him over the other De Bromhead runner - Magic Daze. He was also runner up in the 2019 Triumph Hurdle here, so has a bit of Festival pedigree under his belt.

    2.50 - Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f ITV

2021 Winner: VINTAGE CLOUDS (28/1)
Trainer – Sue Smith
Jockey – Ryan Mania

 

Pluses….

  • 17 of the last 22 winners were officially rated 143 or less
  • 15 of the last 21 came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 17 of the last 21 winners returned 11/1 or shorter
  • 15 of the last 21 were novices or second season chasers
  • 8 of the last 14 winners were rated between 142-146 (7 between 142-145)
  • Horses rated 140+ have won 13 of the last 21 runnings
  • 9 of the last 19 won last time out
  • Horses that have run well in the race before have a good record
  • 3 of the last 12 winners ran in the Cleeve Hurdle that season
  • 9 of the last 10 winners wore headgear
  • 9 of the last 12 winners had run at Cheltenham that season
  • Jonjo O’Neill, Alan King, Nicky Henderson, Tony Martin & David Pipe are trainers to note
  • All winners since 2000 had won over 3m+ before
  • 5 of the last 7 winners ran at Cheltenham’s January meeting
  • 4 of the last 8 winners ran in the Ladbrokes Trophy that season
  • 11 of the last 13 winners had run at the Festival before

Negatives….

  • Be a bit wary of horses carrying 11-04 or more in weight – 11 of the last 17 carried 10-12 or less, although the 2017 winner carried 11-12 & the 2019 winner won with 11-8. The 2020 winner, Vintage Clouds, carried 10-11
  • Horses aged 11 or older are just 3 from 52 to even get placed (but last year’s winner was an 11 year-old)
  • Be wary of Paul Nicholls-trained horses – he’s currently 0 from 23
  • Only 2 winners in the last 13 hadn’t raced at a previous Festival
  • Only 5 winners since 2000 have returned bigger than 11/1
  • The Irish have won just 2 of the last 53 runnings (since 1967)
  • Irish-trained runners are 0-28 in the last 15 runnings

TQ VERDICT: Some class acts here, including former King George and Ryanair Chase winner - Frodon - but this Paul Nicholls runner is into a handicap here and has to lump 11-12 around and give weight away all round. Nicholls is also actually 0-from-23 in this race. The Irish have a poor record too (2 wins in the last 53 runnings!) - therefore, their entries Death Duty, Noble Yeats, Floueur, Ben Dundee, Foxy Jack, Doctor Duffy and Discordantly are overlooked. Horses wearing headgear is another plus - 9 of the last 10 winners had some kind of extra head attire - Lostintranslation, Floueur, Foxy Jacks, Doctor Duffy, Tea Clipper, Vintage Clouds, Discordantly, Kiltealy Briggs, Corach Rambler, Our Power and Gericault Roque fit the head-gear trend. We’ve also got last year’s winner - Vintage Clouds - back for more (also runner up in 2019). This 12 year-old ran well after a wind op last time at Donny and is rated only a pound higher this year - this will be his sixth Festival run. The trip is a small concern for both Tea Clipper and Kiltealy Briggs, while the consistent Fantastikas looks to hold a big chance for the Twiston-Davies yard. Gordon Elliott said a few weeks ago he felt his Death Duty was well-handicapped and Does He Know has won 3 of his 4 chase starts - but you just worry about his lack of experience in a race like this. So, the three I like are OUR POWER, CORACH RAMBLER and GERICAULT ROQUE. The former was a fair third in the Coral Trophy Chase last time at Kempton and is in here just 2lbs higher. Trip and ground are fine, but also only has 10st to carry this time. Corach Rambler unseated at Ascot last time in the race Does He Know won. But was favourite that day and staying on at the time. He’s a course winner for the Lucinda Russell yard too and is another with a featherweight of just 10st 2lbs. Finally, Gericault Roque has been runner-up in his last three races and comes from the Pipe yard that have a fair record in the race. Another with a light weight (10st) and we know he stays further, having run well in the Classic Chase last time at Warwick over 3m5f.

 

    3.30 - Unibet Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y ITV

2021 Winner: HONEYSUCKLE (1st 11/10 fav)
Trainer – Henry De Bromhead
Jockey – Rachael Blackmore

Pluses….

  • 32 of the last 38 won last time out
  • Horses unbeaten that season often do well (9 of last 11)
  • The Irish and Nicky Henderson have won 19 of the last 23 runnings between them
  • 9 of the last 13 winners came from the Henderson or Willie Mullins yards
  • The Irish have won 14 of the last 23 runnings
  • Owner JP McManus has won 6 of the last 12 (10 in total)
  • Trainer Willie Mullins has won 4 of the last 11 runnings
  • 27 of the last 32 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old (11 of last 15)
  • 13 of the last 23 winners had won at the Festival before
  • 24 of the last 37 winners were placed in the first 4 at the previous season’s festival
  • The Fighting Fifth Hurdle is a good guide (4 winners, 5 places in last 14 runnings)
  • 14 of the last 26 winners started as flat horses
  • The last 7 winners were unbeaten that season
  • Look for horses that have raced at least once that calendar year
  • Trainer Nicky Henderson has won the race 8 times, including 3 of the last 5 years
  • 6 of the last 13 winners contested the Christmas Hurdle (Kempton)
  • Mares are currently 3 from the last 6

Negatives….

  • Avoid horses that failed to finish in the top three last time out
  • 5 year-olds are just 2 from 108 since 1985, but the 2019 winner was a 5 year-old
  • Since 1927 we’ve only seen 2 winners aged 10 or older (0-29 in the last 39 runnings)
  • Just 1 of the last 15 winners had raced more than 12 times over hurdles
  • Christmas Hurdle (Kempton, 26th Dec) winners are just 4 from 31, but – Epatante 2020) – did the Christmas Hurdle/Champion Hurdle double.
  • Just 2 horses have regained the race since 1975
  • International Hurdle winners are 0-from-13 (last 18 runnings)
  • Only 2 of the last 23 winners hadn’t raced at the Festival before

TQ VERDICT: It’s anyone’s guess to the level of form and fitness last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner - Appreciate It. He’s looked top class and has won all four hurdles starts for the powerful Willie Mullins yard. But he’s not been seen since winning at the Festival 12 months ago and that’s the worry for all his backers. Therefore, it’s hard to get away from the current champ - HONEYSUCKLE. She’s won all 14 starts over hurdles now after landing her third Irish Champion Hurdle last month at Leopardstown and gets the handy 7lbs allowance again. Of the rest, 5 year-olds don’t have the best record in the race so Teahupoo, although I do think this horse will be useful in time, Zanahiyr and Adagio all have this trend to overcome. The 2020 winner - Epatante - has returned this season to win the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdles and getting the mares’ allowance is another you can’t rule out. But the safe call is to stick with Honeysuckle, with TEAHUPOO and EPATANTE the clear e/w value calls in the race for me.

    4.10 - Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y ITV

2021 Winner: BLACK TEARS (11/1)
Trainer – Denise Foster
Jockey – Jack Kennedy

Pluses….

  • Follow Irish-trained mares (12 of last 14)
  • The favourite (or 2nd fav) have won 11 of the last 14 runnings
  • 8 of the last 14 favourites have won
  • 13 of the last 14 winners had won over at least 2m4f
  • Willie Mullins has trained 9 of the last 13 winners
  • Look for Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson, Paul Nolan & Alan King runners
  • Novices generally do well
  • 10 of the last 14 winners had won a Grade 1 or 2 before
  • 6 of the last 10 winners had won over 2m6f+ before
  • Horses that began their careers in bumpers have done well
  • Respect French-bred mares – won 9 renewals
  • 11 of the last 14 winners returned 6/1 or shorter
  • 12 of the last 14 winners had won (or placed) in a graded race against the males

Negatives….

  • Avoid front-runners
  • British-bred mares are currently 2-81
  • Just one winner from last  31 runners to wear headgear have won
  • Be wary of Paul Nicholls, Philip Hobbs and Noel Meade runners
  • Benie De Deaux is the only ex-flat horse to win the race

TQ VERDICT: ‘Girl Power’ next for the Mares’ Hurdle. Telmesomethinggirl won the Mares’ Novice Hurdle last season and is a big player. But he’s not won a race since and that’s the worry. Queens Brook was runner up to Burning Victory last time and I’m not sure she can reverse that form. Mrs Milner (Pertemps) and Heaven Help Us (Coral Cup) were both Festival winners last season and have to command respect on that alone. The home-based yards have fair chances in Marie’s Rock (Henderson) and Martello Sky (Wadham) - both winners last time out too. But you feel Paul Townend would have had the pick of the Mullins runners - Echoes In Rain, Burning Victory and STORMY IRELAND, so the fact he’s gone for the last-named is significant. This 8 year-old has returned to form since going back to Mullins - winning the Relkeel Hurdle at this track on New Year’s Day. She was also 5th in 2020 in this race and a close second in 2019 - this will be her fourth Festival run and she’s the joint top-rated in the line-up. Of those at bigger prices - INDEFATIGABLE (e/w) - is interesting too. She’ll be better for a recent run at Warwick after 2 months off, but the return to this track is the key. She was a fair 4th in this race last season and her overall runs at the track read 5-1-2-1-4-2, having also won the Martin Pipe at the 2020 Festival.

    4.50 - Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle (Handicap Hurdle) 2m 87y) ITV

2021 Winner: JEFF KIDDER
Trainer – Noel Meade
Jockey – Sean Flanagan

Pluses….

  • 10 of the last 17 winners had run just 3 times over hurdles before
  • French bred horses have a good record
  • 9 of the last 17 winners started their careers in France
  • Respect Fillies
  • 8 of the last 17 winners won last time out
  • 8 of the last 11 winners all came from the bottom half of the weights/handicap
  • 11 of the last 17 had run in the last 25 days
  • David Pipe, Paul Nicholls, Gordon Elliot (3 of last 9) and Alan King-trained horses often do well
  • 6 of the last 10 winners returned between 25/1 and 40/1 (7 of the last 10 priced 25/1+)
  • 11 of the last 17 winners returned a double-figure price
  • Respect horses wearing headgear
  • 13 of the last 17 winners were rated between 124-134
  • 8 of the last 14 winners were British-trained
  • Trainer Paul Nicholls has won 3 of the last 12 runnings
  • 12 of the last 17 winners had won no more than once over hurdles

Negatives….

  • Just 2 recent winners had last raced in January or further back
  • Trainers Willie Mullins, Philip Hobbs and Venetia Williams are 0 from 36 between them
  • Just 2 of the last 17 winners rated 135+
  • Horses bred in Britain are 0-55 (last 123 years)
  • Willie Mullins runners are 0 from 16 (just 1 placed in top 5 too)
  • Only 3 winners had run in a handicap hurdle before
  • No winner had raced at Cheltenham before
  • Horses with 2+ wins over hurdles are just 2 from 17

TQ VERDICT: The Willie Mullins-trained Gaelic Warrior has been all the rage for this for a while, but he looks poor value for a horse that is yet to run in this country and is also yet to win a race. He’s raced three times in France. Mullins also doesn’t have a great record in the race - is currently 0-from-16. Trainer Paul Nicholls often does well in this though - he runs Bell Ex One. Gordon Elliott is another handler to note - he’s won three of the last 9 - he’s got The Tide Turns, Iberique Du Seuil and Doctor Churchill, but it’s his BRITZKA (e/w) and EBASARI (e/w) that are of more interest. Jockey Davy Russell rides the last-named and despite having ground to make up in Brazil, who beat him last time by 16 lengths, things should be different into a handicap. He’s also only had three runs over hurdles and the first time cheekpieces catch the eye too. Britzka also has the first-time headgear (blinkers), but ran the useful Fil Dor to around 9 lengths at Leopardstown in a Grade 2 on Boxing Day and that form looks solid - Robbie Power rides. Of the rest, Champion Green, Petit Tonnerre, HMS Seahorse and the already mentioned - Brazil - are respected, but the final pick is SAINT SEGAL (e/w), for the Jane Williams yard. He’s won two of his three hurdles runs and wasn’t disgraced to be second in the G1 Coral Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow in December. The winner of that race - Porticello - has since franked the form too. The first-time tongue is one and the useful Chester Williams takes off 3lbs from the saddle.

 

    5.30 – National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase) (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y RTV

2021 Winner: GALVIN 7/2
Trainer – I R Ferguson
Jockey – Jack Kennedy

Pluses…..

  • 12 of the last 20 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 11 of the last 16 winners were aged 7 or 8 years-old (22 of the last 31)
  • Favourites have won 3 of the last 12 runnings
  • 9 of the last 12 winners had run 5+ times over fences
  • 4 of the last 11 winners were top-rated
  • 10 of the last 12 winners had run in a Graded Novice chase
  • 5 of the last 11 winners had run in a Grade One Novice Chase that season
  • 8 of the last 15 had run in a chase at Cheltenham before that season
  • 8 of the last 12 winners had run at a previous Cheltenham Festival
  • 8 of the last 11 winners returned a single-figure price
  • Note horses wearing headgear
  • 8 of the last 11 winners were rated 145 (or more)
  • Look out for JP McManus-owned runners (6 winners)
  • Jonjo O’Neill has trained 6 winners in the race (5-from-22)
  • Jockey Derek O’Connor has 2 wins / 4 places (from 15 rides)
  • Derek O’Connor, Jamie Codd & Patrick Mullins have won 7 of the last 11 (3, Codd, 2 Mullins, 2 O’Connor)
  • Jockey Jamie Codd has won 3 of the last 7
  • Gordon Elliott has won the race 4 times from just 8 runners

Negatives….

  • 5 and 6 year-olds are just 2 from 81 since 1989
  • Just 2 of the last 31 winners were aged 6 years-old
  • Trainer Paul Nicholls has NEVER won this race - he’s currently 0 from 19
  • Trainer Nicky Henderson has NEVER won this race
  • Horses with less than 3 chase starts don’t fare well
  • Horses rated in the 130’s have a poor record (1 from 12)
  • Just 2 winners in the last 14 returned bigger than 12/1

TQ VERDICT:  A bit disappointing that we’ve only seven runners here and really Beatthebullet can’t win based on the ratings. Mullins has two - On The Ropes and Stattler - both have a chance, but the last-named looks their slightly better hope having won both starts over fences and also represents last year’s winning connections. Pats Fancy will be flying the flag for the British (Rebecca Curtis) but he was a solid second to the useful Bravemansgame last time at Newbury and can’t be ruled out on that form. Last year’s Albert Bartlett winner - Vanillier - was impressive that day and can’t be discounted but was 18 lengths behind Stattler last time at Naas so has a bit to find. That leaves RUN WILD FRED and BRAESIDE (e/w) - the two Gordon Elliott runners. The first one will be popular with leading amateur Jamie Codd riding. The ‘Codfather’ has ridden the winner of this race 3 times in the last seven years. This 8 year-old wasn’t disgraced to be second to Fury Road in a G1 Novice Chase at Leopardstown at the end of December and prior to that won well at Navan. He’s been kept fresh for this since and is expected to go well. Braeside won the Cork Grand National last October, so stamina is assured, and even though he’s not done much in his last two races, but had excuses as one was a fair handicap and the other a Grade Two.

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