Cheltenham Tips: Price analysis of previous Festival winners


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 | 10th-13th March 2020

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 2019, 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

Since 2005 the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has very much been a mixed bag for punters with the winner priced at 6/1 or below eight 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 2020

At the time of writing, the Nicky Henderson-trained Shiskin heads the market at 3/1 on the back of two impressive wins and huge praise from his trainer. Whilst I can see the attraction in performance, I don't see any in the odds, and personally speaking, if asked right now I'd be more focused on Abracadadbras at 11/2, Fiddlerontheroof at 8/1 or Captain Guiness at 14/1.

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

Fourteen of the last 15 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 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 2020

What can surely be guaranteed for 2020 is that the winner of the Arkle will not be odds-on – current market leader Notebook is quoted around the 3/1 mark, and although that is highly likely to shorten come the off, it would take some gigantic move to send him odds-on. The SP stats alone suggest he's got a very, very good chance and he's a definite deserved market leader.

At bigger odds, Brewin'upastorm at 10/1 and Global Citizen at 16/1 offer interest as each- way contenders to consider, whilst same can be said of Mister Fisher and Al Dancer if they take their chance in this.

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

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 and playing the role of Festival banker year after year.

Thoughts for 2020

The build up to this year's Mares Hurdle definitely appears to revolve around the apparent game of cat and mouse that's taking place between Honeysuckle and Benie Des Dieux.

Both could run in this, but both could also run in the Champion Hurdle. Both are high class but I wouldn't want to pick one over the other right now.

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

This fascinating Novice Hurdle has only produced two winners with an SP bigger than 17/2 in last 13 years – Willougby Court won it at 14/1 in 2017, before that the previous eight champions were all 7/1 or under.

Thoughts for 2020

If you believe the hype, particularly on social media, then this race is only about Envoi Allen and for many he's seemingly got this won – it's just a case of how far he wins it for many.

Gordon Elliott's superstar clearly deserves to head the market, he's looked fantastic in every run and looks to be made for this test. The SP stats suggest it's a race that favours the fancied runners but I'm not sure he's one for me at 11/8, although plenty will take any price they can on him.

Rivals with multiple entries do make it hard to know what to take him on with, perhaps Fiddlerontheroof if he doesn't go in the Supreme, or maybe The Big Breakaway, both around the 10/1 mark. Overall, this a decision for closer to race day.

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

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 six 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 five winners were 9/1 or shorter, and only two clear favourites and one joint-jolly has won since 2005.

Thoughts for 2020

As things stand, my only thoughts for this race will be that I will wait until the day 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

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. In 2015 a 9/2f landed 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 SPs 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.

Thoughts for 2020

As is always the case for the Champion Bumper ante-post market, it evolves around those representing Willie Mullins. Once again he has the current ante-post favourite with Appreciate It at 9/4 – those odds are short but there is massive belief and confidence that backers will be appreciating being on; overall stats are mixed but the five-year SP stats suggest market leaders demand huge respect.

Israel Champ impressed me when winning and the 12/1 on offer looks fair enough as an each-way alternative – this is definitely a race to assess closer to the off.

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

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 come home in front as a 6/1 winner and last year Sire Du Berlais landed plenty of punts to win as 4/1f.

So the last six 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 2020

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 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 it 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

The Ryanair Chase produced a 20/1 winner back in 2005 but since then only two winners have returned bigger than 8/1 and 11 of the winners since 2005 have had a starting price of 6/1 or shorter.

Thoughts for 2020

There are lots of the main contenders for this who also have entries in the Champion Chase and that always complicates matters. It's highly likely that this will be the target for Min and that's why he's a general 4/1 shot.

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

The Festival Plate had a 9/2 winning favourite in 2012, whilst 2018 saw The Storyteller hammered into 5/1f on the day and last year Siruh De Lac landed plenty of bets to win as a 9/2 shot.

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 – 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

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 13 of the last 15 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 11 years but apart from last year'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 – 13 of the last 15 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.

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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