Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Trends: Three stats-based tips for Champion Hurdle day

Cheltenham race action
Mike has three stats-based tips for Champion Hurdle day

For each day of this year's Cheltenham Festival, Mike Norman will crunch the 10-year trends, with the help of data provided by Timeform, to come up with a selection in three of the day's races. Here's the data for Champion Hurdle day...

"The favourite, Honeysuckle - available to back at 3.613/5 - only fails to meet all the criteria virtue of not being trained by Mullins or Henderson however, and therefore the super mare simply has to be the selection."

13:20 - Supreme Novices' Hurdle

Age: Every one of the last 10 winners were aged either 5 or 6.

Last Time Out Winner: Nine of the last 10 winners won on their previous start.

Seasonal Runs: Eight of the last 10 winners had run either 3, 4 or 5 times that season.

Days Since Last Run: Eight of the last 10 winners had run within the last 26-74 days.

Also: Willie Mullins has won the race in four of the last 10 years, while favourites or joint favourites have a poor record in the race, winning just two of the last 10 renewals (from 13 runners).

Big Negative: Long-time antepost favourite Appreciate It is a 7yo, and no horse that age has won the Supreme in the last 10 years, while 11 of the last 13 favourites or joint favourites have failed to land the odds.

Summary: We're looking for a horse aged 5 or 6, a last time out winner, one that has had either 3, 4 or 5 runs this season, raced at least 26 days (but no more than 74 days) ago, and isn't a favourite.

Just two horses meet all the criteria, but with question marks over whether Bob Ollinger will line-up here or in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle a day later, the selection has to be Metier at 6.25/1.

14:30 - Ultima Handicap Chase

Age: All of the last 10 winners were aged 9 or under, with five of them being aged 8.

Last Time Out Winner: Only three of the last 10 winners had won on their previous start.

Seasonal Runs: Five of the last 10 winners had run exactly 4 times that season.

Days Since Last Run: All of the last 10 winners had run within the last 74 days.

Also: No Irish-trained runner has won any of the last 10 renewals of the Ultima. Horses that fell last time out have won none of the last 10 races.

Big Negative: There are no big negatives here though among the market leaders all three of Happygolucky, Lieutenant Rocco and Remastered won last time out which is a bad stat going into this race, and the first two named don't qualify for the 8yo age stat.

Summary: We're looking for a horse aged 9 or younger but preferably a 8yo, that didn't win last time out, that didn't fall last time out, that has had 4 runs this season, raced within the last 74 days, and isn't Irish-trained.

In a maximum field, ultra-competitive handicap just one horses comes close to meeting all the above 10-year trends criteria, the very consistent Aye Right, available to back at 9.89/1.

He is an 8yo who ran very well last time out without falling or winning, raced within the last 74 days, and isn't Irish-trained. He has run five times this season rather than the preferred four runs, but he looks to have a big chance on the trends.

15:05 - Champion Hurdle

Age: Seven of the last 10 winners were aged either 6 or 7.

Last Time Out Winner: Eight of the last 10 winners won on their previous start.

Seasonal Runs: Nine of the last 10 winners had run either 2 or 3 times that season.

Days Since Last Run: Nine of the last 10 winners had run within the last 26-74 days.

Also: Willie Mullins (4) and Nicky Henderson (3) have won the race in seven of the last 10 years, while favourites have won six of the last 10 renewals.

Big Negative: No real negatives here as all the leading contenders fail on at least one criteria. Second favourite Epatante is perhaps the most noteworthy, having failed to win last time out which is a poor stat to have going into the Champion Hurdle.

Summary: We're looking for a horse aged 6 or 7, a last time out winner, one that has had either 2 or 3 runs this season, raced at least 26 days (but no more than 74 days) ago, trained by Mullins or Henderson, and is strongly fancied in the market.

No horses meet all the criteria here with all bar three priced at lower than 30.029/1 failing on the age stat, as well as some not winning last time out or having more than three runs this season.

The favourite, Honeysuckle - available to back at 3.613/5 - only fails to meet all the criteria virtue of not being trained by Mullins or Henderson however, and therefore the super mare simply has to be the selection.

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