Cheltenham Festival 2013 - Day 1 Preview and Selections

March 11th, 2013


Supreme Novices' Hurdle

The Supreme has quite a few positive and negative trends. . POSTIVES:

  • Prominent runners win 45% more than they should, winning 10 of the last 15 renewals.
  • 6yo's have won 7 of the last 15 renewals, which is 30% better than expected.
  • Runners arriving here after being favourite last time out have won 7 of the last 15 renewals.
  • 7 of the last 15 won their last start.
  • All of the last 15 winners did not wear any headgear.


  • 5yo's are under performing by around 19% with just 5 winners from 138 runners, although 2010 (Menorah) and 2012 (Cinders and Ashes) did see 5yo winners.
  • Horses that are held up in this strongly run event have a very poor record with only 4 winners from 170 runners in the last 15 renewals, which is 43% worse than expected.

Last years winner, Cinders and Ashes defied the 5 year old trend, but did run prominently, was favourite last time out, won last time out and wasn't wearing headgear, only two others fitted those trends.   TREND FITTERS: Champagne Fever and My Tent Or Yours are the only two to qualify on all 5 positives and have no negatives. At the prices Champagne Fever represents the best value.    

Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase

Won last year by the brilliant Sprinter Sacre and it is a race that is working out very well with 3 of the 6 runners winning on their next start. . POSTIVES:

  • Prominent runners have won 11 of the last 15 renewals, which is 41% better than expected.
  • 10 of the last 15 were favourite last time out.
  • 12 of the last 15 winners ran in a Novice race last time out.
  • Running in a Grade 2 race last time out is also a positive with 6 of the last 15 doing so.


  • Horses held up perform below expectation by around 19% with just 4 winner from 84.
  • Horses outside the top 4 in the betting have not performed well with just 3 winners from 133 runners in the last 15 years, which is 40% below the norm.

  TREND FITTERS: Not surprisingly Simonsig qualifies on all 4 positives and no negatives and he is the only qualifier to do so. We expect Simonsig to win and with the ground going against Overturn, Arvika Ligeonniere could be the one to follow him home.    

JLT Speciality Handicap Chase

This race can throw up plenty of winners in future Cheltenham Festivals.  In fact 113 horses have contested another Festival race after running in a past JLT, 8 of these have won (including Sunnyhillboy last year, Bensalem the year before) and a further 18 have placed.  A race to keep a track of and to look at last years contestants for this years festival. . POSTIVES:

  • Irish Bred horses win 36% more races than they should with 11 of the last 15 winners.
  • Horses held up in this race have won 10 of the last 15 renewals.
  • In their prep race a 1st three finish last time out is 10 from 15.
  • Running at 3m+ last time out is a positive with 12 wins from 15.
  • Horses officially rated under 150 have won all of the last 15 renewals.

  TREND FITTERS: We have 1 qualifier who matches all 5 trends, Hey Big Spender.  We then have 7 horses who match 4 of the trends. We have narrowed these down to Merry King and White Star Line to add to the trend topper Hey Big Spender.      

Champion Hurdle

Rock on Ruby won last years renewal and the race is working out quite well with 14 subsequent winners coming out of the race. The trends for the Champion Hurdle change frequently so we only have a couple of positives along with two major negatives that don't hold water. . POSTIVES:

  • 12 of the last 15 winners either won or were placed at a previous Cheltenham Festival, which is 30% better than expectations.
  • 8 of the last 15 ran in the last 56 days.
  • 9 of the last 15 winners won last time out.


  • The major negative out there is don't back 5 year olds.  In the last 15 renewals there have only been 51 runners aged 5, with 1 winning, the sample size is too small.

  TREND FITTERS: The front three in the market, Hurricane Fly, Zarkander and Rock On Ruby pass all 3 trends. Everyone will have their own opinion of which they fancy. We like Zarkander and with the danger being Hurricane Fly, we have taken advantage of one leading bookmakers excellent offer of money back if Hurricane Fly wins the race.    

Cross Country Chase

Only 8 renewals of this race so statistically valid trends are thin on the ground. . POSTIVES:

  • All of the last 8 winners did NOT wear any headgear, which is 23% higher than expectations
  • 7 of the 8 winners started at 10/1 or under.
  • 7 of the 8 winners were in the first three in the betting, which is a massive 63% better than expected.
  • Irish Bred horses have won 6 of the 8 renewals.


  • Anything over 10/1 is a negative, with 1 winner from 90 runners although the sample size is still a little small.

  TREND FITTERS: The top 3 in the betting all fit the trends above.  However Arabella Boy prefers Punchestown to Cheltenham. We like the experienced Uncle Junior and the relatively young gun Outlaw Pete.      

Mares Hurdle

With only 5 past mares hurdle races run and Quevega winning 4 of them, there are no trends.  But it will be a great spectacle and brilliant for racing if she can win a fifth straight mares hurdle. Those looking for a e/way or place bet needn't be worried about going for a big outsider with placed horses at 66/1, 50/1, 28/1 and 20/1 over the 5 past renewals. Irish Bred runners have the best place record with 6 being placed from 34 runners and 1 winner in Whiteoak . TREND FITTERS: There are four Irish Bred horses contesting this years race Shadow Eile, Mae's Choice, She Ranks Me and Shop Dj.  All four are available at 33/1 and above. We will take the two highest rated Shop Dj and Mae's Choice for e/way bets in this race.        

Rewards4racing Novices' Handicap Chase

With this race only being run since 2005 (8 renewals) we again have a distinct lack of trends to go on. . POSTIVES:

  • Finishing first or 2nd last time out is currently performing at 36% better than expected.
  • 12/1 or lower in the market and/or top 5 in the betting are the other two positives.
  • 4 of the 8 winners had previously run at a past Cheltenham Festival.


  • Only 1 winner from 68 failed to come first or second last time out.
  • Only 1 from 112 won when outside the first 5 in the betting.

  TREND FITTERS: Two horses qualify on all the points above, Colour Squadron and The Druids Nephew and we happy to stick with those two.