Cheltenham Festival form from past years can be crucial for finding winners
There are certain races in which many punters won’t even back a horse unless it has good form on the Cheltenham course and that can often be a good rule. The races are so competitive at the Cheltenham Festival that the best horse often doesn’t win, it’s the most talented horse that is best suited to the conditions that normally wins. Knowing which horses act at the unique course that is Prestbury Park, or even better, which excel there, can go a long way to helping you to find Cheltenham festival winners.
But often Cheltenham course form isn’t enough. There are many races run at Cheltenham throughout the year and although many are high quality races, there are no guarantees. This is why many punters will not only require previous form at the Cheltenham course as a prerequisite for all their bets, but also strong form at a Cheltenham Festival, specifically. If you are backing a horse who has placed, or even better, won at the Cheltenham Festival, you know that it is a very good horse you are dealing with, one that can run well at this time of year, usually on this sort of ground and can beat the best horses at this course.
Just backing horses with Cheltenham form regardless of whether it was good form or bad, may seem a crazy idea but by doing this, two years ago, you would have backed 270 horses and made a profit of £16.77, if backing each horse with a £1 stake. Last year this ‘strategy’ didn’t fare quite so well with 300 horses having run previously at Cheltenham but having laid out £300, you would still have made back £243 with no less than 20 winners including Boston’s Angel at 16/1, Carlito Brigante at 16/1, Holmwood Legend at 25/1, Zensky at 33/1 and Oiseau De Nuit at 40/1. This shows that backing horses with strong Cheltenham form and even better strong Festival form should throw up a much better strike rate.
Many punters will look for strong Festival form before placing any bets and two years ago anyone backing all horses who had placed at a previous Cheltenham Festival would have backed 10 winners including Weapons Amnesty and Pigeon Island, who went off at 10/1 and 16/1, respectively. Last year, 84 bets produced 8 winners including Al Ferof at 10/1, Sizing Europe at 10/1 and Buena Vista at 20/1. This method of picking winners will also have thrown up three of the four winners of the Championship races at Cheltenham; Sizing Europe, Big Bucks and Long Run and all three horses are favourites to retain their crowns this year.
Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle, the feature race of the Day One of the Festival, can often be the best race in which to follow previous Cheltenham Festival form. Hurricane Fly upset the trends a little last year by becoming the first horse in over ten years to win the race having not finished at least fourth at the Cheltenham Festival before. There are some strong reasons why he was able to do so. First of all, he looked to be the most talented short distance hurdler in years, he is officially rated more superior than two time Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace was at his peak and, it is also worth noting, that Hurricane Fly made his debut at Cheltenham last year. Not many horses go to the Champion Hurdle with such a good chance having never run at the course before. Once again, applying this statistic to the race could help rule out around half the field in Tuesday’s race.
It is also worth noting that all but two of the last eleven winners had run at the Cheltenham Festival the year before which is a negative for the well fancied Binocular who missed the race last year. Any horse who has failed at the Cheltenham Festival before should also be thrown out of the equation as no horse in over ten years has finished outside of the top four in a Cheltenham Festival race and gone on to win the Champion Hurdle. This proves consistency at Cheltenham is just as important as quality. Click here to find the best Cheltenham Festival Bets this year