Cheltenham: Price analysis of previous Festival winners

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RACING fan Tommy Buckley (@tbuckleythinks) has analysed all the odds of previous Cheltenham Festival winners, pointing out any key trends to follow from a price perspective ahead of 2019's Greatest Show On Turf.

Cheltenham Festival | Price Analysis | 12th-15th March 2019

The Cheltenham Festival is the absolute focal point of the main jump racing season in England and Ireland, it's essentially the Olympics of the jump racing scene and with over 60,000 excited punters gathering at Prestbury Park on each of the four days, it’s the best, most exciting action jump racing has to offer.

Ahead of every Cheltenham Festival I like to do my own kind of analysis, I will of course look at form, ground, jockey and trainers etc when it's time to do so but examining and analysing the Starting Price (SP) of winners is something I started five years ago and it's an approach that has helped massively.

My analysis below looks at a range of Festival races with the SP of the winner since 2005 up to 2018, highlighting races that have proved to be incredibly punter-friendly and those that have been largely bookmaker benefits.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

SP winners (2005 – 2018): 20/1 – 6/1 – 40/1 – 17/2 – 2/1 – 2/1 – 10/1 – 10/1 – 5/1 – 7/2jf – 2/1f – 4/1 – 25/1 – 9/1

Since 2005 the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has very much been a mixed bag for punters with the winner priced at 6/1 or below seven times but winners coming home at 10/1 twice, 25/1, 20/1 and an incredible 40/1 in 2007 (made even more incredible by the fact Willie Mullins was the victorious trainer).

Thoughts for 2019

Al Dancer shot to the head of the market, around the 4/1 mark, after a very impressive win in the Betfair Hurdle. Connections are very confident and he's very exciting, but I'm not sure I'd want to be playing at the prices now.

I won't be doing any serious Cheltenham bets until the week of the Festival but right now I must say I like the form profiles of Fakir D'oudairies, Elixir De Nutz and Mister Fisher – the latter two are 10/1 and could go off a few points shorter on the day.

Arkle Chase

SP winners (2005 – 2018): 7/1 – 15/2 – 7/2- 6/1 – 8/1 – 6/1 – 6/1 – 8/11f – 8/15f – 33/1 – 4/6f – 1/4f – 2/7f – 5/6f

Thirteen of the last 14 to past the post first have been priced 8/1 or under with 10 of them 6/1 or less whilst of the last seven have been odds-on.

The Arkle clearly has been incredibly favourable for those towards the head of the market with only the 2014 shock 33/1 winner spoiling the party for punters and giving bookmakers the only real joy in the race since 2005.

Thoughts for 2019

What can be guaranteed for 2019 is that the winner of the Arkle will not be odds-on – current market leader Le Richbourg sits around the 3/1 mark, while my idea of the most tempting Arkle contender Lalor sits around 9/2.

Recent impressive Sandown winner Glen Forsa rates a 6/1 shot at present.

Mares Hurdle

SP winners (2008 – 2018): 20/1 – 2/1f – 6/4f – 5/6f – 4/7f – 8/11f – 8/11f – 6/1 – 4/6f – 4/1 – 9/2

The 20/1 champion in 2008 is the only time the Mares Hurdle winner has been priced bigger than 6/1 – seven times the winner was priced 2/1 or shorter. Of course, that was due to the brilliance of Quevega, winning it six times on the bounce.

For six years the safest bet at Cheltenham was Quevega for the Mares Hurdle.

Thoughts for 2019

Apple's Jade and Laurina are both very short-priced options at present but both more likely to run in the Champion Hurdle so their likely absence means that last year’s champ Benie Des Dieux will surely go off shorter than the 7/4 on offer.

Lady Buttons and Stormy Ireland might be the best each-way options if they line up on the day – they are around 12/1 and 8/1 respectively at the moment – but the main advice has to be wait until final declarations given all the doubts about runners.

Ballymore Novice Hurdle

SP winners (2005 – 2018): 17/2 – 17/2 – 20/1 – 5/2f – 7/1 – 7/1 – 2/1f – 7/2 – 6/4f – 9/2 – 3/1 – 14/1 – 8/11f

This fascinating Novice Hurdle has only produced two winners with an SP bigger than 17/2 in last 12 years – Willougby Court won it at 14/1 in 2017, before that the previous eight champions were all 7/1 or under.

Thoughts for 2019

Last year this contest was all about odds-on favourite Samcro and he delivered, as expected.

This year the ultra-impressive and progressive looking Champ head the market around 3/1 and I'd expect him to be one of the most popular horses at this year’s Festival – he could well go off shorter than 2/1 on the day.

Of course, the problem with assessing this race is many of the main contenders are also potential runners for the Supreme Novice, perhaps the likes of Beakstown, Commander Of Fleet and Champagne Platinum are interesting each-way shots around the 12/1 mark if they line up.

Fred Winer Handicap Hurdle

SP winners (2005 – 2018): 20/1 – 40/1 – 9/2jf – 14/1 – 11/1 – 4/1f – 9/1 – 40/1 – 25/1 – 33/1 – 25/1 – 13/2 – 33/1 – 33/1

This race should be called the Fred Winter Bookies Benefit Handicap Hurdle given the incredible SPs of the winners since 2005 – there have been two winners at 40/1, three winners at 33/1, including three of the last five all coming in at 33/1.

Add to that two 25/1 shots and winners at 20/1, 14/1 and 11/1 whilst just four winners were 9/1 or shorter, and only one favourite and one joint-jolly has won since 2005.

Thoughts for 2019

Whilst the well regarded and impressive winner Band of Outlaws heads the markets currently at 6/1, my only thoughts for this race will be that I will wait until the day itself and throw a few big-priced darts at it.

The statistics certainly favour the big prices, it's just finding the right one.

Champion Bumper

SP winners (2005 – 2018): 7/2f – 33/1 – 11/2 – 12/1 – 9/2 – 40/1 – 14/1 – 16/1 – 25/1 – 16/1 – 9/2f – 5/1 – 7/1 – 25/1

2005 was a good year for the punters in the Champion Bumper with a 7/2 favourite winning, so was 2009 as the winner returned at 9/2. After that though, punters had to wait until 2015 to strike back in the race with another 9/2f winning.

Six winners since 2005 have been priced 7/1 or shorter but there have also been winners at 40/1, 33/1 25/1 twice, 16/1 twice and 14/1 so the Champion Bumper definitely represents a mixed bag for punters, although Willie Mullins has trained some of those massive-priced winners including last year when he had the first three home.

Thoughts for 2019

As is always the case for the Champion Bumper ante-post market, it evolves around those representing Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott; with Mullins-trained Blue Sari currently favourite around 9/2, but closely followed by the Elliott trio of Malone Road, Envoi Allen and Andy Dufresne.

I won't be nominating anything for the Champion Bumper yet and won't get involved in the race until the day itself as there are just too many questions to answer at this stage.

Pertemps Handicap Hurdle

SP winners (2005 – 2018): 10/1 – 50/1 – 14/1 – 18/1 – 16/1 – 16/1 – 20/1 – 14/1 – 25/1 – 9/2f – 9/1 – 14/1 – 10/1 – 6/1

The heavily gambled 2014 winner Fingal Bay stands out in this race having won as 9/2f and last year Delta Work was very well backed to come home in front as a 6/1 winner.

Apart from those two well-punted winners, every other champion since 2005 has been priced at 9/1 or bigger with nine of those returning at 14/1 or larger.

Thoughts for 2019

I have to offer similar thoughts here as those I did for the Champion Bumper and the Fred Winter – it's currently 10/1 bar in the ante-post betting for this race and again I'll be waiting until the day of the race to get involved.

Ryanair Chase

SP winners (2005 – 2018): 20/1- 10/3f – 9/2 – 4/1 – 6/1 – 14/1 – 6/1 – 7/2f – 7/2 – 3/1f – 16/1 – 1/1f – 15/8f – 8/1

The Ryanair Chase produced a 20/1 winner back in 2005 but since then only two winners have returned bigger than 8/1 and 10 of the winners since 2005 have had a starting price of 6/1 or shorter.

Thoughts for 2019

The ante-post list for the Ryanair Chase is probably the most exciting in terms of depth of quality = Min, Monalee, Frodon, Fox Norton, Top Notch, Un De Sceaux, Waiting Patiently, Kemboy, Shattered Love and many more.

Min heads the market around 7/2, Monalee at 4/1, Footpad at 6/1 and Frodon at 7/1 – I can't pick one of those now but you'd have to believe punters will get the edge over bookies again in this race.

Festival Plate

SP winners (2005 – 2018): 25/1 – 14/1 – 12/1 – 66/1 – 33/1 – 18/1 – 25/1 – 9/2f – 50/1 – 12/1 – 33/1 – 16/1 – 16/1 – 5/1f

The Festival Plate had a 9/2 winning favourite in 2012 and last year The Storyteller was hammered into 5/1f on the day but apart from that this race has been all about double-figure priced winners and very big prices with winners at 66/1, 50/1, 33/1 twice, 25/1, 18/1 and 16/1 twice.

County Handicap Hurdle

SP winners (2005 – 2018): 16/1 – 4/1f – 12/1 – 50/1 – 20/1 – 20/1 – 10/1 – 20/1 – 10/1 – 11/1 – 25/1 – 8/1 – 20/1 – 33/1

Ruby Walsh rode the heavily backed 4/1f winner in 2006 but that's the only winner that's been 8/1 or shorter since 2005 and 12 of the last 14 have been 10/1 or bigger with winners at 50/1, 33/1, 25/1 and 20/1 four times.

Other Races

The Conditional Hurdle has only been run for the last 10 years but all 10 winners have had a SP of 11/1 or bigger – three of those 16/1 or bigger.

The Gold Cup has been pretty kind to those backing the market leaders – 13 of the last 14 Gold Cup winners were priced 8/1 or under. Six favourites have won at 4/1 or shorter.

I hope you find this analysis of Starting Price of winners to be interesting and useful in some way and I of course hope it helps you find those winners and the races/prices to potentially avoid.

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About Author

I've been into football since first going to Man United as an 8 year old, lucky enough to have season ticket in the mid 90's. I've been into horse racing since first going to Doncaster as a kid and I love a day out at the races. Sports betting and writing has been a passion of mine for the last 20 years, just love sharing thoughts with people and there is no bigger buzz than knowing my work has helped somebody make a few quid. I'm also into Darts and Snooker, love watching and playing both but I watch much better than I play, although I did once get my hands on the World Snooker Championship trophy at the Crucible. My most recent sporting highs have come from watching T20 cricket with my son, we just love watching Derbyshire beat Yorkshire every time. My 23 years of working life to date have been spent in the newspaper/news media business and the betting industry including working at football grounds/racecourses.

2 Comments

  1. Great stuff Tommy!
    Very interesting article, an angle I will be looking at now thanks to your research is to have an ew acca on those races that have traditionally had bigger winnners, a treble or 4 fold of 20/1 and above shots will do me thank you lol…would have never done this research myself so really appreciate you sharing your work with us.
    Getting excited now, nearly time for the traditional preview nights and an overload of information….love it!

  2. Hello Dave

    thanks for taking the time to read it and give your views, it’s a different approach and another way of assessing what looks a very complicated Cheltenham picture.

    I love doing work like this and I’ll also be doing a few other Cheltenham pieces on here so keep any eye out.

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