Cheltenham Key Trends: National Hunt Chase
We take a look at the key trends for the National Hunt Chase in the hope we can find you the winner…
We continue our key trends coverage by turning our attention to the National Hunt Chase. You can find the trends we’ve picked out below, we’ll then take you through each and find out which horses the stats point to.
10 of the 13 winners had run over fences three or four times before the Festival
This particular trend actually only rules out two of the 18 runners, not exactly ideal! Bells ‘N’ Banjos is one at a massive price who has only ran twice over fences. However, he’s won both of those runs so comes to the Festival in form. The same applies to the other runner apparently ruled out from this stat, Beware The Bear. Nicky Henderson’s seven year old has also only gone over the larger obstacles twice but, like Bells ‘N’ Banjos, has won both of them well and is in with a great chance if the market is to be believed.
4 of the last 14 winners have been trained by Jonjo O’Neill
Jonjo O’Neill won this race 12 months ago with Minella Rocco, but hasn’t sent a runner to this year’s renewal, so it’s time for someone else to step up. Gordon Elliott won this race in 2015 with Cause Of Causes and by sheer coincidence, Lisa O’Neill (no relation to Jonjo) gets the leg up on his sole runner this time around, Tiger Roll. The seven year old was consistent in 2016 and won his only previous visit to Cheltenham back in 2014, when taking the Triumph by storm. He takes a significant step up in trip for this, but could be one to watch.
3 of the last 5 winners have been top rated & favourite for the race
The top rated runner in the race is Joseph O’Brien’s Edwulf, who is bang there at the head of the market on Day One of the Festival. The eight year old fell at Navan back in February, but returned to the track just a week later to cruise clear and win by eight lengths to suggest no harm was done there. That looks to have been a nice prep for this step up to a mammoth 4m trip and there will be many watching him with interest given the connections.
28 of the last 32 had finished in the top 4 of their last prep run
This trend rules out just five of the 18 runners, but of that five, Champers On Ice is one to perhaps keep on side. David Pipe’s seven year old disappointed on his last run at Cheltenham in January, but has good form at the course before that, finishing a creditable third in the Albert Bartlett last year. If he stays the trip, he could be a major player. Of those with place form in their preparation, Beware The Bear is one that will stand out to punters due to his impressive recent form.
In a wide open National Hunt Chase, Beware The Bear could be the one to side with for trainer Nicky Henderson, with Gold Cup winning jockey Sam Waley-Cohen booked for the ride. Edwulf is an obvious danger and Tiger Roll could step up and spring a surprise if Gordon Elliott has him tuned up for this.