Cheltenham Tips: Key trends and 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 2021's Greatest Show On Turf.

Cheltenham Festival | Price Analysis | 16th-19th March 2021

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 2020, highlighting races that have proved to be incredibly punter-friendly and those that have been largely bookmaker benefits.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

SP winners (2005 – 2019): 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 – 6/1 – 6/1

Since 2005 the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has very much been a mixed bag for punters with the winner priced at 6/1 or below nine 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 2021

At the time of writing the Willie Mullins trained APPRECIATE IT clearly heads the market around 7/4 and deservedly so on the back of his impressive wins so far in which he has shown plenty of speed and should be well suited to Cheltenham.
Harry Fry trained METIER commands respect and plenty of support to sit 2nd around 6/1 whilst impressive Newbury winner SOARING GLORY was cut to 10/1 for this after that, one more of interest at a big price is the Willie Mullins trained BLUE LORD, don't think he'll be 20/1 if he lines up in this.

Arkle Chase

SP winners (2005 – 2019): 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 – 5/1 – 16/1

Fourteen of the last 16 to past the post first have been priced 8/1 or under with 11 of them 6/1 or less whilst six of the last eight 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 and last year's 16/1 winner Put The Kettle On spoiling the party for backers of the market leaders, and giving bookmakers the only real joy in the race since 2005.

Thoughts for 2021

Going into this year's Festival, The Arkle could end up proving to be one of the races of the entire festival if current market leaders SHISKIN, ENERGUMENE and ALLMANKIND do all take their chances.
For many Shiskin has been their idea of the Arkle winners since the season began but no doubt Willie Mullins has a serious contender based on what ENERGUMENE has done this season.
ALLMANKIND has the engine to make them all go but will have to prove his jumping holds up.

Mares Hurdle

SP winners (2008 – 2019): 20/1 – 2/1f – 6/4f – 5/6f – 4/7f – 8/11f – 8/11f – 6/1 – 4/6f – 4/1 – 9/2 – 10/1 – 9/4

The 20/1 winner in 2008 and 10/1 winner in 2019 are the only times the Mares Hurdle winner have 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 playing the role of festival banker year after year.

Thoughts for 2021

Last year's impressive winner HONEYSUCKLE still holds an entry here but is highly likely to go for the Champion Hurdle, so that's likely to leave the race to Willie Mullins star CONCERTISTA who is currently favourite around 5/4 and Dan Skelton's star mare ROKSANA who will also have plenty of supporters at around 3/1.

Ballymore Novice Hurdle

SP winners (2005 – 2019): 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 – 8/1 – 4/7f

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

Five of the last nine winners 3/1 or under.

Thoughts for 2021

Last year Envoi Allen went into this race as a rock solid, short priced favourite and delivered the Ballymore win that everybody expected. This year it looks far more open and competitive with the three market leaders priced from 5/2 to 4/1.
GAILLARD DU MESNIL has looked seriously impressive for Willie Mullins so far this season and to be fair so has BRAVEMANSGAME for Paul Nicholls, whilst BOB OBLINGER has to be respected from the Henry De Bromhead yard.
Right now, you'd expect the winner to come from those three.

Fred Winer Handicap Hurdle

SP winners (2005 – 2019): 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 – 7/2 – 15/2

The punters who landed the gamble on last year's winner Band Of Outlaws and backed him into 7/2f certainly took plenty from the bookmakers but overall the 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 six winners have gone off 9/1 or shorter, and only two clear favourites and one joint-jolly have won since 2005.

Thoughts for 2021

As things stand right now, 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 about hopefully finding the right one.

Champion Bumper

SP winners (2005 – 2019): 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- 2/1f – 11/1

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, 2015 had a 9/2f and last year the highly regarded Envoi Allen won as 2/1f.
Those four results were poor ones for bookmakers but overall punters have had the worst of it if you look at the SP's of the winners in the other years.
There have 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 2018 when he had the first three home, he also trained the 11/1 winner last year.

Thoughts for 2021

As is always the case for the Champion Bumper ante-post market, it evolves around those representing Willie Mullins and once again he has the current ante-post favourite with KILCRUIT around the 11/8 mark after he blew everybody's mind with his incredible win at Leopardstown last time. If he acts like that at Cheltenham, he should win.
As usual though Gordon Elliott has a serious contender for The Champion Bumper with the highly regarded SIR GERHARD around 3/1, it's expected those two are some way clear of the rest but THREE STRIPE LIFE is one that will appeal to those who prefer bigger odds at around 9/1.

Pertemps Handicap Hurdle

SP winners (2005 – 2019): 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 – 4/1 – 10/1

The three that standout in this are the heavily gambled 2014 winner Fingal Bay having won as 9/2f, 2018 saw Delta Work very well backed to come home in front as a 6/1 winner and last year Sire Du Berlais landed plenty of punts to win as 4/1f, amazingly he doubled up last year at 10/1.
So the last last years has seen three big punts landed, but on the flip-side 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 2021

I have to offer similar thoughts here as those I did for the Champion Bumper and the Fred Winter – it's currently 8/1 bar in the ante-post betting for this race and again I'll be waiting until the day of the race to get involved.
Before 2014 the SP statistics suggested you needed to be on something at big odds but a few gambles have landed in this in recent years, again will be fascinating to watch the markets in the build up to the race.

Ryanair Chase

SP winners (2005 – 2019): 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 – 9/2 – 2/1

The Ryanair Chase produced a 20/1 winner back in 2005 but since then only two winners have returned bigger than 8/1 and 12 of the winners since 2005 have had a starting price of 6/1 or shorter.

Thoughts for 2021

There is too much uncertainty surrounding entries to get involved now but the winner SP statistics suggest the winner will come from the head of the market.

Festival Plate

SP winners (2005 – 2019): 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 – 9/2 – 10/3

The Festival Plate had a 9/2 winning favourite in 2012, 2018 saw The Storyteller hammered into 5/1f on the day and in 2019 saw Siruh De Lac landed plenty of bets to win as a 9/2 shot – last year Simply The Betts was well backed to win at 10/3f.
So the last three renewals have been great for punters making any big move this year worthy of great respect but before 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 – 2019): 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 – 12/1 – 11/2f

Ruby Walsh rode the heavily backed 4/1f winner in 2006 and last year Saint Roi was very well backed to win at 11/2 but they are the only winner that have been 8/1 or shorter since 2005, and 13 of the last 16 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 12 years but apart from 2019's winner coming in at 5/1, all the other 10 winners had an 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 – 14 of the last 16 Gold Cup winners were priced 8/1 or under. Seven 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.

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.

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