Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Big Race Guide

Cheltenham Festival Day One

Cheltenham Festival is undoubtedly an entirely unique event on the horse racing calendar and each day has it its own unique feel.

With so much at stake on and off the track between day one and day four, we take a look through the biggest races day-by-day.

Head over to the website for all our Cheltenham betting odds. 

Big race stats and trends

The feature race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival is the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy, a race won last year by Gavin Cromwell’s Espoir d’Allen at a monster 16/1.

Cromwell’s first-ever Festival winner came as a boost for each/way punters as jockey Mark Walsh got the better of Melon to drive home the biggest priced horse to win the race in a decade.

Favourites have won four of the previous seven runnings of this race and the Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante, who won at Kempton on Boxing Day, currently leads the ante-post market at 3/1.

Only two horse over the age of seven have won this race since 2007, so things look tricky for the likes of Ballyandy, Not So Sleepy, Petit Mouchoir, Supasundae and Verdana Blue.

All of the last five winners have come into the contest in winning form so though quite short in the market, Henderson’s Pentland Hills could find life tough having finished second at Haydock.

Tuesday’s other big race is the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase and with four of the previous five favourites coming home in front, Notebook will be in a lot of notebooks at 11/4.

The Henry De Bromhead-trained seven-year-old, who won at Leopardstown last time out, currently leads the market as he looks to win his fourth race on the bounce.

A whopping 28 or the last 30 winners placed or won in their previous run, but with all nine of the previous winners doing so at the age of six or seven, it’ll be tough for Willie Mullins’ Cash Back.

Cheltenham Festival Day Two

Big race stats and trends

Thousands of racing fans will flock to Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival, with the highlight, without doubt, the big-money Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase contest over two miles.

Seven of the previous eight runnings of this race have been won by English trainers, with Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville striding home in front on three of the last four winners.

Philip Hobbs fits that bill and Defi Du Seuil is the current favourite at 7/4 to land the spoils, with the horse looking to win at Cheltenham for the seventh time in his career for owner J.P McManus.

Those looking for a juicy-priced winner may do better looking elsewhere as just one of the previous eight winners of this race have done to at double-figure odds. That was Special Tiara back in 2017.

Altior has won this race twice already in his career and will be looking to make it a third. However, only two of the previous 11 winners have been older than nine and that could go against him.

A whopping nine of the last 11 winners of the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase have been aged seven, which suggests current ante-post favourite Champ, trained by Henderson, could find it tough.

De Bromhead’s Minella Indo is the next best in the market at 11/2 and fits that criteria and has won at Cheltenham before, just like seven of the previous 12 winners.

Sam Brown has never run at Cheltenham and just one horse in 12 years has won the contest on its course debut. Fancied horses run well with eight of the last 12 winners in the top three of the betting.

Cheltenham Festival Day Three

Big race stats and trends

Irish-trained horses have won three of the last four editions of the Grade 1 Ryanair Steeple Chase.

It’s therefore no surprise to see Irish horses fill the top three in the betting market, with Mullins’ Min and De Bromhead’s A Plus Tard well fancied and Defi Du Seuil expected to run earlier in the week.

But with 10 of the last 12 winners doing so between the ages of seven and nine, the Cheltenham Festival trends suggest A Plus Tard may find it a struggle to get the better of the field.

Just one of the previous 12 winners had done so with less than two runs at Cheltenham under their belt, again suggesting life will be difficult for the six-year-old. Riders On the Storm also fits that bill.

Nicholls combined with Bryony Frost last year to get Frodon home in front and both are being backed at 6/1.

Fancied horses tend to do well in the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle, with 15 of the last 17 winners finishing previous winners finishing first or second in their final effort prior to the race.

It’s therefore no surprise to see the Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park, who has now won seven on the bounce including this race 12 months ago, lead the betting market once again.

Benie Des Dieux is currently the only horse priced up at single-figure odds and 14 of the previous 17 winners have come home 8/1 or shorter in the betting, so it could well be between them two.

Though experience could actually go against the Mullins-trained entry at 14 of the previous 17 winners of this race have done so at the age of eight or younger. Benie Des Dieux is nine.

Cheltenham Festival Day Four

Big race stats and trends

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is without doubt the highlight of the Cheltenham Festival Day Four, if not the entire week but it may not be the best race for favourite backers.

Just one of the last six pre-race favourites have earned punters their money, with Don Cossack doing the business for trainer Gordon Elliott back in 2016. Prior to that it was Bob’s Worth in 2013.

Al Boum Photo is the favourite for the race at 4/1 but will have to buck that trend here. Kemboy also needs to do so having finished fourth last time, with 13 of 17 arriving in winning form.

All of the previous 17 runnings of the race have been won by horses aged nine or younger, so it could prove all too much for 10-year-old trio Native River, Bellshill and Alpha Des Obeaux.




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