2021 Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Trends – Get The Stats That Matter

A full field of runners line up at the start of the Cheltenham Festival

A full field of runners line up at the start of the Cheltenham Festival

2021 Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Trends

They may not be bombproof but stats and trends can go some way to at least helping us narrow the field in every race at the Cheltenham Festival. Daniel Overall has supplied key trends to focus on

Supreme Novices Hurdle Key Trends

  • Eleven of the last twelve winners had at least four prior runs over hurdles; Shishkin being the exception when winning last year
  • Appreciate only has three starts over hurdles
  • Will the lack of a crowd make experience less of a prerequisite?
  • All bar two of the twenty winners this century were aged either five or six. Another knock against Appreciate It, who is a seven-year-old. Captain Cee Bee (2008) the sole seven-year-old winner in that time; 14 have tried since, none have won but three have placed. However, only one of those 14 were a single-figure price (Dunguib, third at 4/5)
  • Seven of the last eight winners were sent off at a single-figure price; but only one of the last sixteen was the outright favourite (Douvan in 2015)
  • 21 of the last 24 winners had won last time out
  • Eight of the last eleven winners of the Betfair Hurdle (pre-2021) were novices; seven ran in the Supreme, recording form figures of: 2520420. All seven of those won the Betfair Hurdle off a higher mark than Soaring Gory (133)

Supreme Novices Hurdle Trends Verdict

None are flawless on the trends, but Ballyadam comes close as an experienced Grade 1 winner, although he did not win on his most recent start.

Arkle Chase Key Trends

  • Since the removal of the weight-for-age allowance in 2008, the Arkle was been won exclusively by horses aged six to eight The last five-year-old winner was back in 2006, although only seven have run since 2008; two finished second while His Excellency finished third at 80/1 in a seven-runner renewal
  • Thirteen of the last 14 winners had run at Cheltenham previously. Energumene will have to overcome this stat
  • Seven of the last nine winners were trained by either Willie Mullins or Nicky Henderson
  • The Supreme/Arkle double has only been done three times since 1965 by Flyingbolt, Douvan and Altior; Shishkin will look to join that exclusive club
  • No Doncaster Lightning Chase winner has done the double (Shishkin)
  • Six of the last ten renewals were won by an odds-on favourite. The four favourites beaten in that timeframe were all odds-against

Arkle Chase Trends Verdict

Shishkin is likely to be an odds-on favourite and, while he will be the first to complete the Lightening/Arkle double, he broke the “Huntingdon hoodoo” last season when becoming the first in 129 attempts to win at Cheltenham after running at Huntingdon.

Ultima Handicap Chase Trends

  • Ten of the last 12 winners were novices or second-season chasers
  • The Irish are 0/26 since 2006; only 2 Irish winners since 1967. They tend to target the Kim Muir but without amateur jockeys, might they target this race instead?
  • Seven of the last eight winners ran at a previous festival
  • Four of the last six winners ran in the Ladbrokes Trophy earlier in the season
  • Eight of the last 13 winners were rated 142-148
  • Eight of the last nine winners wore either cheekpieces (four) or blinkers (four), although 42% of runners in that time did wear headgear

Ultima Chase Trends Verdict

Aye Right was fifth in last season’s Brown Advisory Novice Chase and he was second to Cloth Cap in the Ladbrokes Trophy. A second-season chaser, he is rated 154 but two of the last four winners have defied a mark in excess of 150.

Champion Hurdle Trends

  • Only two winners this century had not run at a previous festival
  • Nine of the past 12 winners were trained by Nicky Henderson or Willie Mullin – Henderson has won it eight times in total
  • The past six winners were unbeaten that season
  • JP McManus has owned nine winners, including six of the last 11
  • No ten-year-old winner since Sea Pigeon (won at ten and 11 in 1980/1981)
  • The International Hurdle winner hasn’t won the Champion Hurdle since 2003 (Rooster Booster). Katchit finished second in the International Hurdle before winning the Champion Hurdle in 2008
  • Only one winner of the Champion Hurdle this century was a beaten favourite last time out
  • The past six winners were all unbeaten that season

Champion Hurdle Trends Verdict

Mares have won two of the last five renewals and as she arrives here unbeaten, preference is for Honeysuckle.

Mares Hurdle Trends

  • Eleven of the 13 winners were trained in Ireland
  • Willie Mullins has won nine of the 13 renewals (six with Quevega)
  • Eleven of the 13 winners had won or placed against geldings
  • Only one headgear wearer placed in the 13 renewals (Refinement second in 2008)
  • No winner began their career on the Flat in Britain or Ireland
  • Only one of the 13 winners had not won or placed in a Grade 1 or a Grade 2
  • Twelve of the 13 winners had form over 2m4f or further

Mares Hurdle Trends Verdict

A previous Cheltenham winner trained by Willie Mullins, Concertista is the clear trends pick.

Boodles Juvenile Hurdle Trends

  • Nine of the past 16 winners began their career in France
  • Eleven of the past 16 winners had not won more than once over hurdles
  • Ten of the past sixteen winners had exactly three starts over hurdles.  It’s clear that it pays to be unexposed, both in terms of starts and wins
  • Seven of the past 16 winners had run against their elders
  • Gordon Elliott had won this three times since 2013; his five runners last season recorded form figures of: 13489. While now with Denise Foster, those stats remain relevant
  • Willie Mullis is 0/14, with only one placed in that time (although Voix Du Reve was running a big race before falling at the last). This isn’t a race he tends to target, with those that run here often failing to cut the mustard at graded level
  • British-bred horses are 0/54 in the past 12 years
  • Four fillies have won since 2007; only 16 have run in that time

Boodles Juvenile Hurdle Trends Verdict

Riviere D’etel ticks a lot of boxes; a filly that’s only won once from three starts over hurdles, she began her career in France and she’s raced against her elders.

National Hunt Chase Verdict

  • Nine of the past 11 winners had contested a Graded novice chase
  • Gordon Elliott has won four of the last ten renewals, while he has only run eight in that time
  • Since becoming a level-weights contest in 2010, the winner has had an average of seven chase starts to their name before running in this race as experience often comes to the fore
  • Five of the past ten winners had run in a novice chase at Cheltenham earlier in the season
  • Only one of the past ten winners had an official rating lower than 142
  • Seven of the last 11 winners had run at the festival previously
  • Only two winners this century were six years old (none were younger). The average age of the winner this century is 7.75

National Hunt Chase Trends Verdict

Galvin is an experienced second-season novice who ran at Cheltenham earlier in the season, while his (former) trainer has a great record in the race.

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