Cheltenham

Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing Betting Tips and Trends (Fri 18th March 22)

The horse racing action at the Cheltenham Festival concludes this Friday (18th March) with another top card, with plenty of horse races to bet on. 

The first race is the Triumph Hurdle (1:30) and all eyes will be on Vauban and Pied Piper here. 

Other day four races include the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2:50) and the Mares’ Chase (4:50) but on the final day it’s always about one race really – the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup (3:30). The last two winners of the race – Minella Indo and Al Boum Photo – are back for more. 

To help narrow down the fields and hopefully find the winners – here at CASUMO we give you all the key horse racing betting trends and stats ahead of the LIVE ITV races from the Cheltenham Festival on Friday 18th March. 

Let’s Get Started!

Friday 18th March 2022 (New Course)

Cheltenham Festival Trends 

    1.30 – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y ITV

2021 Winner: QUILIXIOS (2/1)
Trainer – Henry de Bromhead
Jockey – Rachael Blackmore 

Pluses…..

  • 22 of the last 28 winners won last time out
  • 9 of the last 13 winners were unbeaten over hurdles 
  • Irish have won 6 of the last 9 runnings 
  • French-breds have filled 11 of the last 19 places (last 7 runnings) 
  • 12 of the last 17 came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 11 of the last 14 winners returned 13/2 or shorter in the betting
  • Respect Henderson (7 winners), Nicholls, Hobbs and King-trained runners
  • The Spring Juvenile Hurdle is a good guide
  • 9 of the last 12 winners ran in the Finesse, Adonis or Spring Juvenile Hurdles (6 of the last 10) last time
  • 8 of the last 10 winners had raced by Christmas time
  • 5 of the last 7 winners began their careers in France
  • Nicky Henderson has trained 7 winners of the race
  • Gordon Elliott has had 2 wins and 2 seconds in the last 8 years 

Negatives….

  • Take on horses that have won at 2m2f or further in the past
  • Avoid horses that last ran 56 days or longer ago
  • Avoid horses that had run 3 or more times over hurdles 
  • Just 2 of the last 17 winner returned bigger than 12/1
  • Be careful of horses rated 138 or lower – no winner in the last 13
  • Willie Mullins has fairly poor record despite winning the 2020 race – currently 1-from-31
  • Last 7 Adonis Hurdles winners have all lost (all unplaced)

 

CASUMO VERDICT: Popular owner Rich Ricci has made it no secret that he feels his VAUBAN is his best chance of getting something at the Festival this year and it’s easy to see why. This 4 year-old was very impressive in winning the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown last time out. He beat Fil Dor by 3l that day and even though he lost by ½ a length to Pied Piper the time before at Punchestown was actually hampered that day. He meets the Elliott runner – Pied Piper, plus Fil Dor again – it should be a fascinating three-way match up between the trio, but the Mullins/Ricci runner can come out on top. Of the rest, Il Etait Temps and the unbeaten pair of Knight Salute and Doctor Parnassus have claims too, but a chance is also taken on the Gary Moore runner – PORTICELLO (e/w). The Moore yard had heartbreak in this race a few years ago with Goshen falling late on with the race in the bag. This 4 year-old looks another top class horse in the making for the yard after winning four of his five starts. The last of those wins came at Haydock on a C2 race on heavy ground and his only defeat came three runs back to Knight Salute (3/4l) at Donny, but you feel he’s progressed well since then to have a decent chance of betting that form line. 

2.10 – McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y ITV

2021 Winner: BELFAST BANTER (33/1)
Trainer – Peter Fahey
Jockey – Kevin Sexton 

Pluses….

  • The Irish have won 10 of the last 15 runnings
  • 6 of the last 7 winners were trained by Willie Mullins (3) or Dan Skelton (3) 
  • Willie Mullins has won 5 of the last 12 runnings 
  • 17 of the last 21 winners were novices or second season hurdlers 
  • 14 of the last 16 winners were rated in the 130’s
  • 8 of the last 14 winners returned 20/1 or bigger
  • 6 of the last 13 winners had run in 6 or less hurdles races 
  • 12 of the last 16 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
  • 11 of the last 23 winners aged 5
  • 6 of the last 8 winners had run at Cheltenham before
  • 10 of the last 15 winners Irish-trained 
  • 8 of the last 14 winners started their careers in France 
  • 13 of the last 16 winners were priced in double-figures
  • 13 of the last 18 winners began their careers on the flat 
  • Look for Mullins, Martins & Nicholls-trained runners
  • Respect the Imperial Cup (Sandown Park) winner
  • 9 winners since 2002 ran in the Ladbrokes or Betfair Hurdles that season
  • 11 of the last 21 winners came from the top 5 in the betting 
  • 12 of the last 15 winners DIDN’T win last time out 
  • 5 of the last 6 winners hadn’t raced in the last 72 days
  • Paul Nicholls is 4 from 31 (+15pts)
  • Willie Mullins is 4 from 43 (+42.5pts)
  • Trainer Dan Skelton has trained 3 of the last 6 renewals 

Negatives….

  • Strangely, previous course winners have a bad record
  • Only 2 winners since 2000 winning with a mark of 150+
  • Since 1960 only 5 winners carried more than 11st 2lb
  • Since 1961, only 9 winners had run at the Festival before
  • Since 2005, just one winner rated 140+ (158 runners)
  • Avoid runners that hadn’t raced at least 4 times that season
  • Avoid horses making their handicap debuts, although last year’s winner defied this trend
  • Horses aged 9+ are 0-from23 in the last 10 years 
  • 1 of the last 8 winners ran no more than 4 times that season 
  • Just 2 of the last 14 winners returned a single-figure price
  • Nicky Henderson has a poor record (0-from-33) since 2000 
  • Gordon Elliott has a poor record (0-from-17) last 11 years 

CASUMO VERDICT: This has been a kind race for the Dan Skelton yard in recent years – winning three of the last six. The run WEST CORK (e/w) this time and after a cracking win in the Greatwood Hurdle back in November. That came off a 631-day break too the 90-day break from the track isn’t a big concern. With only seven career runs over hurdles here should be more to come and Harry Skelton, who has been on two of the yards three recent wins in this race. Skelton also runs – FAIVOIR (e/w) – who could easily outrun his odds and has only been out the first three once from 10 runs over hurdles. A recent second in the Morebattle Hurdle was a good run and meets the winner of that race – Cormier – on better terms. The other yard that have a top record – unsurprisingly, is Willie Mullins. They’ve won 3 of the last seven. He’s got Tempo Chapter Two, Tax For Max, Dysart Diamond Farout, and STATE MAN in the race, but with Paul Townend picking the last-named he’s worth an interest too. Lightly-raced with just three runs (1 win) over hurdles and was an easy 17l winner last time at Limerick. An opening handicap mark of 141 looks very fair with there likely to be improvement here. Of the others, Top Bandit for Elliott has rattled off three wins on the spin and has to be on the shortlist, while Colonel Mustard, Surprise Package and proven course winner – I Like To Move It – are others to respect.  

    2.50 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y ITV

2021 Winner: VANILLIER (14/1)
Trainer – Gavin Cromwell
Jockey – Mark Walsh 

Pluses….

  • 9 of the last 17 winners had run at Cheltenham over hurdles before
  • 15 of the last 17 winners contested a Graded Hurdle last time out
  • 15 of the last 17 winners won or placed in a Graded Novice before 
  • 7 of the last 10 winners had won a Point 
  • 6 of the last 8 winners trained in Ireland 
  • 10 of the last 13 winners had won at least twice over hurdles
  • 8 of the last 11 winners had won or been placed in a bumper 
  • 9 of the last 17 came from the top 5 in the betting
  • 10 of the last 17 winner ran 47 days (or more) ago
  • 14 of the last 17 had run in a race over 3m
  • 14 of the last 17 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
  • 13 of the last 17 winners were 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 15 of the last 17 winners finished in the top 3 last time out
  • 12 of the last 17 winners had 4+ runs over hurdles
  • 14 of the last 16 winners finished in the top 3 last time out
  • 4 of the last 16 favourites won
  • Respect Jonjo O’Neill runners (2 wins, from 2 runners!)
  • Trainer Willie Mullins has won 2 of the last 5 runnings

Negatives….

  • Horses that ran in the last 23 days haven’t fared well
  • Avoid horses that DIDN’T finish 1st or 2nd last time out
  • Be wary of horses that have raced less than 3 times over hurdles
  • Willie Mullins is 2 from 40 in the race, but has won 2 of the last 5
  • Gordon Elliott is 0-from-7
  • Nicky Henderson is 0-from-14 in the last 10 years 
  • 5 year-olds have a poor record 
  • Only 4 of the last 17 winners hadn’t raced that calendar year

CASUMO VERDICT: Ginto has been all the rage here after three smooth wins this season and the last of those was an eye-catching Grade 1 win at Naas. He’s up to 3m here for the first time but looks very likely to get the extra trip. Good Time Jonny, Bardenstown (course winner), Shantreusse, The Nice Guy and Minella Cocooner are five other big Irish players that all won last time out. However, I’m happy to side with two British runners here in HILLCREST and STAG HORN (e/w). The former is a proven course winner after winning here on New Year’s Day and even though he unseated after (again here), he bounced back in style to win at Haydock. The Daly yard think he’s useful and we know he’s proven at the track, on the ground and over the trip. Stag Horn is interesting too. A former 100+ rated flat performer that is 2-from-2 over hurdles with wins at Hereford at Warwick. The form of his last win has been franked with the second going in again too. The longer trip is a slight unknown, but he handled soft/heavy ground well when on the flat, while a 2-month break to ready for this would have freshened him up. 

    3.30 – Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y ITV

2021 Winner: MINELLA INDO (9/1)
Trainer – Henry de Bromhead
Jockey – Jack Kennedy 

Pluses….

  • 18 of the last 22 winners ran in the Savills Chase or King George that season
  • 18 of the last 21 finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 18 of the last 22 winners were 2nd or 3rd season chasers 
  • 11 of the last 16 winners had run 9 or less times over fences 
  • 21 of the last 22 winners were Grade 1 winners 
  • 17 of the last 21 had won or placed at the Festival before
  • 17 of the last 21 winners hailed from the top 3 in the betting
  • 20 of the last 22 winners had raced no more than 12 times over fences
  • 12 of the last 14 winners ran 3 or less times that season
  • 17 of the last 25 winners were bred in Ireland
  • 16 of the last 21 winners won last time out 
  • 9 of the last 19 winners were favourites 
  • 13 of the last 17 winners yet to win beyond 3m 1/2f
  • ALL of the last 22 winners were aged 9 or younger
  • 21 of the last 22 winners aged between 7-9 years-old
  • 20 of the last 22 winners were in their first three seasons over fences 
  • Horses placed in a previous Supreme Novices’ Hurdle have a good record 

Negatives….

  • Non-Grade One winners have a poor record
  • No winner older than 10 years-old since 1969 (0 from 73)
  • Just one winning 6 year-old since 1964
  • Horses rated 166 or less are only 6 from last 35
  • Avoid horses that had run on ‘heavy’ ground that season 
  • Horses wearing headgear have a bad recent record
  • Willie Mullins has only won the race twice (2020, 2019), 2 from 33 (had 4 of the last 9 seconds and the 2019 & 2020 winner though)
  • Only 3 winners since 2000 returned 9/1 or bigger
  • Just 2 of the last 14 winners had raced more than 3 times that season
  • Horses that were beaten in their first Gold Cup don’t fare well
  • Only 2 winners since 2000 had previously been beaten in the race 
  • No winner since 2000 ran in that season’s Cotswold Chase

 

CASUMO VERDICT: Onto the ‘big one’ and it’s a cracking renewal of the Gold Cup with many chances and the last three winners all in attendance. Al Boum Photo is responsible for two of those wins (2019 and 2020), while last year Minella Indo took the honours. The former has taken his normal lightly-raced route to this so despite his age (10) has to be considered to run well still – but only Kauto Star has even regained the Gold Cup. A Plus Tard is also back for more after a close second last year. He’s a year older at 8 and cold not have been more impressive when winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November – beating Royale Pagaille by 22 lengths! Tornado Flyer, who was third in the Ryanair last year, will be hoping to prove to everyone that his King George win on Boxing Day wasn’t a fluke and if you think that he looks overpriced. The main British challenge will come from the Skelton runner – PROTEKTORAT (e/w) – who was last seen thrashing the former Gold Cup winner Native River at Aintree in December. He’s run 7 times over fences and is yet to be out of the first two. We also know the track is fine as he ran a blinder with a big weight in the Paddy Power Gold Cup here in November (2nd), while the 104-day break is fine as he’s gone well fresh. Chantry House, last year’s Marsh Novices’ Chase winner, didn’t impress last time when winning the Cotswold Chase here, but he still got the job done and it’s hard to knock his record over fences (8 runs, 6 wins). It’s hard to knock the course form of last year’s winner – Minella Indo – he does seem to love it here 1-2-1 and another big run looks on the cards. But, in a race that is likely to require plenty of stamina, the other pick is GALVIN. This Gordon Elliott runner, who won the NH Chase over 3m6f here last season, will relish the test and made the step up this season when beating A Plus Tard by a short-head at Leopardstown in the Savills Chase. He’s had a break since but goes well fresh and will have the experienced Davy Russell doing the steering. 

   4.10 – St James’s Place Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase 3m 2f 70y ITV

2021 Winner: PORLOCK BAY (16/1)
Trainer – Will Biddick
Jockey – Lorcan Williams  

Pluses…..

  • 27 of the last 31 winners were aged under 11 years-old
  • 25 of the last 36 won last time out
  • 18 of the last 19 winners Irish or French bred
  • The last 15 winners were yet to win over this trip
  • 6 of the last 12 winners finished in the top 5 in the race last year
  • 8 of the last 13 winners came from the first 4 in the betting 
  • 29 of the last 33 started out in point-to-point races
  • 12 of the last 16 winners ran 34 days or less ago
  • Respect the Irish runners (won 7 of last 11)
  • 5 of the last 10 winners ran in the Leopardstown Inn Hunters’ Chase
  • 11 of the last 16 winners were aged 8-10 years-old
  • 8 of the last 13 winners returned 15/2 or shorter 
  • 12 of the last 14 winners finished in the top 3 last time out
  • 10 of the last 12 winners rated 134 or higher (6 of last 9, rated 138+)

Negatives….

  • Horses that ran in a handicap race that season haven’t got a good record
  • Avoid horses that hadn’t won a race under rules
  • Just 2 winners in the last 45 years aged 12 or older
  • 27 of the last 29 horses aged 11+ (priced in single figures) have lost – but the 2019 winner – Hazel Hill – defied this trend
  • Just one 6 year-old winner in the last 34 runnings 
  • Only 2 winners aged 7 since 2000 
  • Avoid ex-handicappers rated 140+ in their careers 
  • Avoid horses that raced 35 days or longer ago
  • British bred horses are 0-84 (last 19 runnings)
  • Just 2 winners since 2000 hadn’t run within the last 53 days 
  • Horses aged 11+ are just 5 from 251 since 1990 
  • Just 4 winners since 2000 didn’t finish in the top 3 last time out

 

CASUMO VERDICT: Last year’s close runner-up – Billaway – will be popular again but is little value for a horse that’s only won one of his last five. He’s sure to be thereabouts, but I’m happy to look elsewhere here. WINGED LEADER could be the answer after dealing with Billaway in a Hunter Chase at Thurles by 12 lengths in January. He’s now won his last five starts and at 8 years-old has a lot more scope for improvement than most of these. Dubai Quest, Pont Aven and Cousin Pascal are others to note, and all come here in decent winning for. But it’s the David Maxwell-ridden – BOB AND CO (e/w) – that is the other pick against Billaway. This Paul Nicholls runner unseated in the race last year but bled from the nose that day so had an excuse. He’s returned this season with some good runs and was only 2 lengths behind Cousin Pascal at Haydock last time out. He’ll be better for that and with two wins in the race since 2017 Paul Nicholls has a good record in this contest. Of the rest, It Came To Pass won this in 2020 and is back for more, but at 12 it might be a tall order to wrestle back his crown, so place claims at best. 

    4.50- Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase 2m 4f 127yds ITV

2021 Winner: COLREEVY (1st 9/4)
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Paul Townend

  • Willie Mullins trained the 1-2 last season 
  • Willie Mullins has won 15 of the 21 mares’ only races at the Festival 

CASUMO VERDICT: Only one past running of this – last year we saw Colreevy beat Elimay in a thriller. The winner isn’t back for more, but the runner-up is – Elimay. This likeable grey is yet to finish out of the first three from 9 runs over fences and so another big run looks on the cards for this Willie Mullins mare. Concertista is another for Mullins and she’s done well since switching to fences with two wins from two. He’s got Festival form too after winning the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle in 2020. But her lack of experience and the fact she’s got to give 3lbs away would be the worry. So the pick here is for another of last year’s Festival winners – MOUNT IDA – to go in again. She won the Kim Muir in dramatic fashion – coming from a mile back that day. She’s since improved this season and beat Elimay at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day giving her 3lbs. We know the track is fine too and Davy Russell is 3-from-4 when riding her. Of the rest, Vienna Court, Zambella, Scarlet And Dove have claims to hit the frame if one of the main three under perform. 

    5.30 – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (0-145) 2m 4f 56y RTV

 

2021 Winner: GALOPIN DES CHAMPS (8/1)
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Sean O’Keeffe  

Pluses….

  • 12 of the last 13 winners were 2nd season-hurdlers
  • 9 of the last 11 winners placed in the top 3 last time
  • All of the last 13 winners carried 11-1 or more 
  • 3 of the last 4 winners had top-weight 
  • All 13 winners aged 7 or younger 
  • 8 or the last 10 winners rated 139+
  • 11 of the last 13 winners had 8 or less runs over hurdles
  • 5 of the last 8 winners were Irish-based Novices
  • Irish have won 7 of the last 11 (6 making handicap debuts)
  • 36 of the 38 win and place horses were 1st or 2nd season hurdlers
  • Look for Henderson, Nicholls, Mullins, Elliot-trained horses
  • 10 of the 13 winners were placed in the top 4 last time out 
  • 6 of the 13 winners won last time out 
  • 6 of the last 8 winners had run over a longer trip that season
  • 7 of the 13 winners were rated 133-139
  • 8 of the 13 winners returned at a double-figure price (10 of the last 13 were 16/1 or less)
  • 5 and 6 year-old have won 11 of last 13 runnings
  • Look for jockeys that have ridden 20+ winners
  • Willie Mullins is 4 from 20 runners in the race (won 4 of the last 11 runnings)
  • Respect any Gigginstown House Stud-owned runners (4 winners, 5 places)
  • Paul Nicholls has won the race twice in the last 9 years
  • Gordon Elliott has won 2 of the last 5 runnings

Negatives….

  • Despite being named after his father the David Pipe stable has a poor record so far (0 from 23, inc 3 favs)
  • Horses aged 8+ are 0-from 56
  • Just 1 winning fav in the 13-year history (8-11 returned in double-figures)
  • Horses in headgear are currently 1 from 71
  • Only 4 winners have previous Festival experience 
  • Horses with 11st or less are currently 0-from-91

CASUMO VERDICT: A very tough renewal of this final Festival race with 24 runners. Elliott has won the race twice since 2017 and has another decent hand with Perfect Attitude, Au Fleuron, I A Connect, The Goffer, Chemical Energy and Hollow Games entered – the last-named is probably his main hope but as we know he’s no stranger to winning races at the Festival with any of this runners. Langer Dan was a good second 1 months ago, but is up another 2lbs here and wasn’t that convincing last time at Taunton. Yes, that came off a break, but it was still only 24 days ago. But Willie Mullins also does well in the race and runs two – Five O’Clock and ADAMANTLY CHOSEN. The last-named looks their better chance with FIVE O’CLOCK (e/w) coming back from a huge lay-off (735 days). That said, the Ricci-owned runner was last seen running a close 7th in this very race in 2000 and is now 4lbs lower. He’s still only 7 and if anyone can get a horse back after such a time off it’s Mullins. Adamantly Chosen is their other runner and he heads here off the back of a very easy win at Thurles (27 lengths). More on his plate here into a handicap for the first time, but is expected to enjoy the longer trip too. Others to note are Grand Jury, The Goffer and Cobblers Dream, but of the Elliott runner – AU FLEURON (e/w) – is chanced too. A beaten favourite last time at Punchestown but probably got bogged down in the ground that day. Before that had shown up well in races at Navan – now into a handicap he looks interesting and the useful Kevin Brogan catches the eye in the saddle. 

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