Horse Racing: Stats, trends and insight ahead of the Greatwood Hurdle


BETTING industry expert Tommy Buckley (@tbuckleythinks) has previewed Sunday's Greatwood Hurdle from Cheltenham. 

Greatwood Hurdle | Sunday 18th November 2018, 15:00 | ITV4

This weekend sees the latest renewal of the historic three-day Cheltenham meeting taking place from Friday to Sunday, and for many, it's where the winter jumps season really kicks into gear.

The BetVictor Gold Cup is rightly viewed as the centrepiece of the festival and that great contest, along with many others, is sure to provide great entertainment and drama. But, for me personally, the Greatwood Hurdle is THE race that gets me most interested, that I most enjoy watching and thankfully has given me a fair level of betting success.

For me, trying to solve the puzzle of this two-mile-half-furlong handicap made up with a field of classy hurdlers – full of potential to be much better, including several connections harbouring Champion Hurdle dreams down the line – is a fascinating challenge and exactly the kind of race I enjoy getting stuck into.

Westender, Rooster Booster, Sizing Europe, Garde Le Victoire and Elgin have all carried my ante-post money to victory in this great contest, and come Sunday afternoon I'll be glued to the TV hoping that I'm cheering home another winner up that Cheltenham hill.

In this piece I've looked at the details of the winners since 2000, including starting price, age, weight carried, jockey and trainer, to provide information and to also highlight a few trends that might help in your bet selection process, and to add interest to what is a great race in it's own right.

Greatwood Hurdle Winners | 2000 to 2017

Year | Name of Winner | Starting Price | Age | Weight | Jockey | Trainer

  • 2000 | Hulysse Royal | 9/1 | 5 | 10-00 | Jimmy McCarthy | Oliver Sherwood
  • 2001 | Westender | 5 | 11/8f | 10–13 | Tony McCoy | Martin Pipe
  • 2002 | Rooster Booster | 7/1 | 8 | 11–12 | Seamus Durack | Philip Hobbs
  • 2003 | Rigmarole | 5 | 33/1 | 11–12 | Ruby Walsh | Paul Nicholls
  • 2004 | Accordion Etoile | 10/3f | 5 | 10-06 | John Cullen | Paul Nolan
  • 2005 | Lingo | 5/1 | 6 | 10-06 | Tony McCoy | Jonjo O'Neill
  • 2006 | Detroit City | 6/5f | 4 | 11-12 | Richard Johnson | Philip Hobbs
  • 2007 | Sizing Europe | 5/1 | 5 | 11-06 | Timmy Murphy | Henry de Bromhead
  • 2008 | Numide | 5/1 | 5 | 10-03 | Jamie Moore Gary | L. Moore
  • 2009 | Hyber Kim | 9/1 | 7 | 11-09 | Paddy Brennan | Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 2010 | Menorah | 6/1 | 5 | 11-12 | Richard Johnson | Philip Hobbs
  • 2011 | Brampour | 12/1 | 4 | 11-04 | Harry Derham | Paul Nicholls
  • 2012 | Olofi | 8/1 | 6 | 10-11 | Paddy Brennan | Tom George
  • 2013 | Dell' Arca | 12/1| 4 | 10-05 | Tom Scudamore | David Pipe
  • 2014 | Garde La Victoire | 10/1 | 5 | 11-09 | Richard Johnson | Philip Hobbs
  • 2015 | Old Guard | 12/1 | 4 | 10-10 | Harry Cobden | Paul Nicholls
  • 2016 | North Hill Harvey | 6/1 | 5 | 11-00 | Harry Skelton | Dan Skelton
  • 2017 | Elgin | 10/1 | 5 | 10-08 | Wayne Hutchinson | Alan King


Ten of the winners were five-year-olds, four of the winners have been four years-old, two of the winners were six years of age with seven and eight-year-olds both winning a race apiece.

Rigmarole won it as a 33/1 shot in 2003 – the biggest starting price champion this century; since then 12/1 winners Brampour (2011), Dell ‘Arca (2013) and Old Guard (2015) have been the biggest-priced winners.

Paul Nicholls was the trainer of Rigmarole, Brampour and Old Guard. Incredibly, Ruby Walsh was the jockey on Rigmarole when it won at 33/1.

The shortest priced winner since was 6/5 when Detroit City (2006) came home first – an SP favourite has not won since.

Eight of the 18 winners have carried 11st 4lb or more – the top weight was 11st 12lb carried in 2002 by Rooster Booster, 2003 by Rigmarole, 2006 by Detroit City and Menorah in 2010.

Philip Hobbs trained the winner in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 and Richard Johnson rode three of those winners, Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls trained the winner in 2003, 2011 and 2015.

Fourteen of the last 18 winners had an Official Rating of 136+ going into the race, including eight of the last nine.

2018 Preview

Now at this early stage with the Greatwood Hurdle not due to be run at Cheltenham until Sunday, at the time of writing there are still 28 classy hurdlers entered for the £100,000 Grade 3 prize.

If you feel interested enough to chance an ante-post bet or two, I wouldn't recommend anything other than small, fun interest bets at this stage given the uncertainty over the final field. Indeed, you might well decide it's best to wait until Sunday to assess everything fully but right now here are my thoughts on a group of horses who fit into the key trends that my winner statistics highlight.

Fourteen of the last 18 winners were either aged four or five, 10 of them were five years-old and 14 of the winners had an Official Rating of 136+ going into the race, and for me, while nothing can be guaranteed, those particular statistics look very strong and a good basis to work on.

I've done my best to go through the 28 declarations, at time of writing, and these are the horses that meet the trends mentioned and current odds with sponsors Unibet:

  • Silver Streak (aged five and rated 145) = 8/1
  • Charlie Parks (aged five and rated 145) = 12/1
  • Storm Rising (aged five and rated 137) = 12/1
  • Midnight Shadow (aged five and rated 141) = 14/1
  • Ballymoy (aged five and rated 142) = 16/1

Come the day of the race I would expect many betting firms to offer boosted places, so keep that in mind. Obviously, also keep in mind the state of the ground etc but I do like to have an ante-post interest and at this stage I'm going to take a small stakes chance on Ballymoy (16/1 Unibet) and Storm Rising (12/1 Unibet).

Ballymoy is a gelding by Flemensfirth and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies; he's won his last four contests, including winning a strong looking handicap hurdle in Aprila just a few weeks ago when winning well at Chepstow. He looks progressive and fair each-way value around 16/1.

Storm Rising – trained by Dr R. D. P. Newland – has had a very varied and interesting career both on the flat and jumps. Sired by the high-class flat star Canford Cliffs, he's vastly experienced but it's his last two wins – over the course and distance at Cheltenham in April, and then at Wetherby last time out – that make him look a very interesting contender for this.

Those wins were on good, and good to firm, but he's won and run well on soft. At 12/1 I think Storm Rising is an interesting each-way option.

That is my look at the Greatwood Hurdle from a previous winners statistical perspective and I hope you find it to be interesting and useful in some way. As I stated, consider the betting terms, state of the ground etc before betting and if you do bet in the great race on Sunday then I hope you are cheering home the winner.

Best Bets

2018 Greatwood Hurdle – Ballymoy (16/1 each-way Unibet)

2018 Greatwood Hurdle – Storm Rising (12/1 each-way Unibet)

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.

1 Comment

  1. Steve Vincent on

    Clearly Philip Hobbs didn’t go through the stats tommy,winner of the race 2002,2006,2010,2014 2018 ?? no runner 🙈 If life was that easy hey. Will take a look once I’ve seen the opening days race conditions,at this stage I’m predicting soft ground. Good luck with Ballymoy & storm rising
    you say a good stepping stone for the future ‘aspiring champion hurdlers – win a champion you need be rated 160+ so this years greatwood Contenders have some way to go. Thanks for sharing your thoughts & stats guide.

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