2019 Cheltenham Festival Tips and Trends – (DAY ONE: Tues 12th March 2019)

Cheltenham Festival Tips and Trends - (Tues 13th March 2018)

Each day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, here at TRAINERS-QUOTES 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 29 of the last 35 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 2019 Cheltenham Festival for you……………………………….



Tuesday 12th March 2019


13:30 – SkyBet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle   2m ½f

2018 Winner: SUMMERVILLE BOY 9/1
Trainer – Tom George
Jockey – Noel Fehily


  • 19 of the last 22 winners won their last race
  • 13 of the last 15 winners had raced in at least 4 hurdles races before
  • 7 of the last 9 winners came from the first 4 in the market
  • 18 of the last 24 winners ran in the last 45 days
  • Irish-trained horses have won 15 of the last 27 runnings
  • 5 & 6 year-olds have the best record – winning 13 of the last 14 runnings
  • Willie Mullins has won the race 4 times since 2007 and for 3 of the last 6 years
  • 22 of the last 24 winners had raced that same calendar year
  • Owner Rich Ricci, Trainer Willie Mullins & Jockey Ruby Walsh have won 3 of the last 6 runnings.


  • Horses that FAILED to win last time out before coming here are just 3 from the last 22. In other words, look for horses that won last time out!
  • Since 1992 all horses (35) wearing head-gear have been beaten
  • We’ve seen just two ex-flat horses win since 2008

Both Al Dancer and Angels Breath have been well-supported in the build-up and big runs are expected from both, who are also both owned by Dai Walters. Of the two AL DANCER was impressive in the Betfair Hurdle and with course winning form too then he’d be the pick of the pair for me. It’s no secret the Twiston-Davies camp think a lot of him and just feel the experience he has over Angels Breath will win the day for him. Grand Sancy is another that can go well and was only ½ a length off the selection in the Tolworth, while the Irish challenge is decent too with Klassical Dream, Fakir D’oudaries and Vision D’honneur their main hopes. Of that bunch, the proven course winner – Fakir D’oudaries gets the nod and gets a handy 8lb 4 year-old allowance.

14:10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase   2m

2018 Winner: FOOTPAD 5/6 fav
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Ruby Walsh


  • 12 of the last 14 winners had won (or been placed) at Cheltenham before
  • 12 of the last 14 winners had won a Grade 1 or 2 chase before
  • The last 9 winners won last time out (plus 14 of the last 18)
  • 18 of the last 19 winners returned 9/1 or shorter
  • 11 of the last 12 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
  • 11 of the last 15 winners at run at the Cheltenham Festival previously
  • 11 of the last 18 winners were the top or second top-rated hurdler in the field
  • Nicky Henderson has won the race 6 times


  • Only 2 of the last 32 winners failed to win of finish second last time out
  • Just two of the last 28 winners started 11/1 or bigger in the betting
  • Only 3 of the last 27 winners were older than 7 years-old
  • The last horse aged 9 (or older) to win was in 1988
  • The last 28 ex-flat horses to run have all lost
  • Only 1 winner since 2000 won with headgear
  • 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

All of the last 9 Arkle winners won that last race. With that in mind, Glen Forsa, Defi Du Seuil, Duc Des Genievres and Paloma Blue catch the eye from the principles in the race. Glen Forsa slammed Kalashnikov by 19 lengths last time at Sandown and this front runner could easily lead them a merry dance if getting into a rhythm up top – he’s respected and ticks a lot of the trends. Defi Du Seuil is a past Festival winner (2017 Triumph) and after losing his way in 2018 has bounced back this season with some top efforts – he’s also in the JLT Novices Chase though and that might be the preferred route over the longer trip. Hardline is a Grade One Chase winner too that stays further than this – he can go well if lining-up as he looks to give trainer Gordon Elliott his first win in the race. However, it might be worth taking a chance on PALOMA BLUE (e/w). This 7 year-old has a lot of key trends on his side and don’t forget was a close fourth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle here last season. A win last time out at Leopardstown on only his second start over fences was a decent effort and it’s interesting he’s been kept fresh since then – there could be more to come and we know he’s fine on the track, albeit on the hurdles course.

14:50 Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase  3m 1f 

2018 Winner: COO STAR SIVOLA 5/1 fav
Trainer – Nick Williams
Jockey – Lizzie Kelly


  • 15 of the last 19 winners were officially rated 143 or less
  • 13 of the last 18 came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 15 of the last 19 winners returned 11/1 or shorter
  • 14 of the last 18 were novices or second season chasers
  • 7 of the last 11 winners were rated between 142-146
  • Horses rated 140+ have won 11 of the last 18 runnings
  • 8 of the last 16 won last time out
  • 3 of the last 9 winners ran in the Cleeve Hurdle that season
  • 6 of the last 7 winners all wore headgear
  • Jonjo O’Neill, Alan King, Nicky Henderson, Tony Martin & David Pipe are trainers to note
  • All winners since 2000 had won over 3m+ before


  • Avoid any horses carrying 11-04 or more in weight – 9 of the last 14 carried 10-12 or less, although the 2017 winner carried 11-12
  • Horses aged 11 or older are just 2 from 48 to even get placed
  • Be wary of Paul Nicholls-trained horses – he’s currently 0 from 22
  • Only 1 winner in the last 10 hadn’t raced at a previous Festival

A tough contest as always. Last year’s Close Brother’s Chase winner – Mister Whitaker – will be popular but he needs to prove he can get this longer trip and is also rated 14lbs higher now. If getting into the race the recent Kempton scorer – Walt – would be one for the shortlist too He beat Double Shuffle by a length that day and we all know that horse is a decent yardstick. He’s up 7lbs but looks an improving chaser. Give Me A Copper has been popular in the build-up but his trainer, Paul Nicholls, doesn’t have the best of records in the race (0 from 22). It’s hard to get away from last year’s winner – COO STAR SIVOLA (e/w) – who loves it here. He’s up just 3lbs from last year and would have had this as a target all season. The other interesting one is MINELLA ROCCO (e/w) – this 9 year-old was second in the 2017 Gold Cup and has been running in much better races than this. Yes, he’s only won once from 14 starts over fences, but his mark of 152 makes him very well-handicapped on old form (rated as high as 166) and he’s also a past Festival winner when landing the 4m contest back in 2016.

15:30 Stan James Champion Hurdle   2m ½f

2018 Winner: BUVEUR D’AIR 4/6 fav
Trainer – Nicky Henderson
Jockey – Barry Geraghty


  • 29 of the last 35 won last time out
  • The Irish and Nicky Henderson have won 16 of the last 20 runnings
  • The Irish have won 12 of the last 20 runnings
  • Trainer Willie Mullins has won 4 of the last 8 runnings
  • 9 of the last 12 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
  • 23 of the last 34 winners were placed in the first 4 at the previous season’s festival
  • The Fighting Fifth Hurdle is a good guide (4 winners, 4 places in last 11 runnings)
  • 14 of the last 23 winners started as flat horses
  • Look for horses that have raced at least once that calendar year
  • Trainer Nicky Henderson has won the race 7 times, including the last two years


  • Avoid horses that failed to finish in the top three last time out
  • 5 year-olds are just 1 from 101 since 1985
  • Since 1927 we’ve only seen 2 winners aged 10 or older
  • Just 1 of the last 12 winners had raced more than 12 times over hurdles
  • Christmas Hurdle (Kempton, 26th Dec) winners are 3 from 26

One of the best renewals for some time and really it looks between three – the winner of the race for the last two seasons – Buveur D’Air – plus the two classy mares – Apple’s Jade and Laurina. All three are very much respected and the trio will all have their supporters – you really can make a case for them all. One is the current champ so has to be respected, Laurina has won all her starts since coming over from France, while Apple’s Jade was a very impressive winner of the Irish Champion Hurdle last time. The two mares also get a handy 7lbs allowance off Buveur D’Air and with that help brings all their official ratings very close. There is a case to say that Buveur D’Air has probably won two below-par Champion Hurdles and he only just got home last year by a neck. Connections did offer a few excuses for that below-par run but he’s still got the job done twice now and it’s hard to knock him. However, this will be his toughest task in this race and having to give 7lbs to two classy mares won’t be easy – especially two that are both proven Festival winners too. Laurina will want the rain to come, so we’ll have to see if it does. Should the ground be soft or worse then expect to see her price come in – she still could be anything and it’s no secret that the Mullins camp like here an awful lot. She is rated 7lbs lower than APPLE’S JADE though and it’s hard to crab her recent Irish Champion Hurdle win. Yes, her form at Cheltenham is a bit patchy – but she’s yet to finish out of the top three (3 runs) and landed the Mares’ Hurdle here in 2017. She looks a better and stronger horse this season and if allowed to get into a rhythm up top then her proven stamina might just get her home. For me, her pace up front will be a big asset if the ground is on the quicker side and she’ll be hard to peg back – if the rain comes then even though she’s won in soft conditions I just feel this might blunt her pace and she might not be able to get away from them. All-in-all, a fascinating contest that is certainly one of the Festival highlights. Finally, of the rest, if you are looking for some bigger-priced each-way value then last year’s narrow runner-up Melon looks the obvious shout. Yes, he’s not fired this season but does seem to save his best for Cheltenham and it would be no shock to see this this Willie Mullins-trained runner fill one of the places.

16:10 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle   2m 4f

2018 Winner: BENIE DES DIEUX 9/2
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Ruby Walsh


  • Follow Irish-trained mares
  • The favourite (or 2nd fav) have won 10 of the last 11 runnings
  • 7 of the last 11 favourites have won
  • Willie Mullins have trained 9 of the last 10 winners
  • Look for Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson, Paul Nolan & Alan King runners
  • Novices generally do well
  • 6 of the last 8 winners had won over 2m6f+ before
  • Horses that began their careers in bumpers have done well


  • Avoid front-runners
  • All 25 runners to wear headgear have been beaten (just 1 placed)
  • Be wary of Paul Nicholls, Philip Hobbs and Noel Meade runners
  • Just 1 winner of the race to date began their career racing on the flat

Really it’s hard to get away from BENIE DES DIEUX here. The Mullins camp and jockey Ruby Walsh have made it clear this is their banker of the meeting so the hint should be taken. She’s won 4 times from 8 starts over hurdles and was a top winner of this race 12 months ago. She’s not been out for 318 days but the yard used to do the same in this race with Quevega, so that’s not a concern. Mullins can win this for the 10th    time in the last 11 runnings.

16:50 The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase   2m 4½f

2018 Winner: MISTER WHITAKER 13/2
Trainer – Mick Channon
Jockey – Brian Hughes


  • 10 of the last 14 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 13 of the last 14 winners raced in the last 45 days
  • Respect 7 year-olds
  • Look for any horses wearing first-time headgear
  • 6 of last 10 won last time out
  • 12 of the last 14 winners returned 12/1 or shorter
  • Respect JP McManus-owned runners (1 win, 2 2nds, 1 3rd)
  • Look for Henderson, O’Neill & Hobbs runners


  • Avoid horses outside the top five in the betting
  • Avoid horses with less than 4 starts in the last 12 months
  • The Irish are just 2 from the last 14 runnings

The 6 year-old Riders On the Storm looks likely to be a big player here for the Tom Taaffe yard. A good winner last time out at Punchestown and he ticks a lot of the main trends – most notably, running in the top two last time out and also within the last 45 days. Despite the competitive nature of the race, it’s one the punters generally get right – 12 of the last 14 returned 12/1 or less. JP McManus likes to target the prize too – so anything he runs should be noted – Tower Bridge and Movewiththetimes – could be two for him. The Irish don’t have the best of records either (2 from 14), so with that in mind the four I like here are HIGHWAY ONE O ONE, LOUGH DERG SPIRIT, WALT and AZZERTI. All four come here off the back of good runs and have several leading trends on their side. Of the four, the consistent Highway One O One has only finished out of the frame once from six runs over fences (2 wins) and got a taster for the track last time with a fine second here at the end of January, so he’d get the nod as the main pick of the quartet.

17:30 National Hunt Chase   4m

2018 Winner: RATHVINDEN 9/2
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – P Mullins


  • 11 of the last 17 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 9 of the last 13 winners were aged 7 or 8 years-old
  • Favourites have won 3 of the last 9 runnings
  • 4 of the last 8 winners were top-rated
  • 5 of the last 8 winners had run in a Grade One Novice Chase that season
  • 6 of the last 12 had run in a chase at Cheltenham before that season
  • 6 of the last 9 winners had run at a previous Cheltenham Festival
  • Note horses wearing headgear
  • 6 of the last 8 winners were rated 146 (or more)
  • Look out for JP McManus-owned (6 winners) runners
  • Jonjo O’Neill has trained 6 winners in the race
  • Jockey Derek O’Connor has 2 wins / 4 places (from 13 rides)


  • 5 and 6 year-olds are just 2 from 78 since 1989
  • Trainer Paul Nicholls has NEVER won this race – he’s currently 0 from 18
  • Trainer Nicky Henderson has NEVER won this race

We end day one with the 4m race. Ok Corral has been well-touted for this and there is every chance that top amateur – Derek O’Connor – will ride. He’s won this race twice and been placed 4 times from 13 rides, while his owner – JP McManus – has a cracking record in the race (6 wins). However, trainer Nicky Henderson has never won this prize, so that would have to be a concern – at the prices he’s plenty short enough for me. The Mullins-trained Ballyward is another that is sure to be popular, as is Discorama. However, the booking of Jamie Codd to ride LE BREUIL (e/w) for the Ben Pauling yard looks very interesting. The Codd-father is certainly one of the best jockeys in the race and based on that he’s sure to attract interest. He was down the field in the Coral Cup last year at the Festival but since going chasing has done well – 5 runs, and only been out of the top three once (1 win). He’s also run twice over fences at the track (2nd both times) so we know the course holds no issues either. Yes, the 4m trip is a big unknown as he’s done most of his running over 2m4f, but he’s sure to be ridden with patience and connections clearly feel he’s got the stamina to go well. He looks the value call against the main players in the market and will have no better pilot to steer him round.