Cheltenham Festival key statistics
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Cheltenham Festival 2022: All the key statistics

| 13.03.2022

Facts to help pick out some Cheltenham Festival winners

The Cheltenham Festival is the jewel in horse racing’s crown and the showpiece meeting of the National Hunt season. Thousands upon thousands of racing fans descend upon jump racing HQ to marvel at the equine talent that is on show. 

The big meeting starts on Tuesday as we look at some of the key stats that will help when searching through the Cheltenham betting and attempting to pick out some winners.  

Russell rides again 

Having missed last season’s Cheltenham Festival with injury, Davy Russell returns to Prestbury Park looking to make up for lost time and add to his Festival tally.  

The winning-most active rider at the Cheltenham Festival has struck 22 times at Prestbury Park in March and between 2006 and 2018 never drove out of the gates of the Gloucestershire track without a Festival winner to his name.  

It pays to side with those with big-race experience and there is nobody more knowledgeable than the Irish veteran, who is rarely in the wrong place at the wrong time in the high-pressure situations.  

Russell will be hoping to pick up his second Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard second favourite Galvin on the final day of the meeting.

Davy Russell, Cheltenham Festival key statistics,

The Big Five 

When it comes to the men that train the horses, it pays to keep the names of five men at the forefront of your thoughts.  

Henry de Bromhead saddled six winners last year to scoop the leading trainer award and that gives him the right to be talked about in the same breath as the established big four of Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson, Gordon Elliott and Paul Nicholls. 

Between them they have won 65 per cent of Festival races in the past five years and a whopping 79 per cent of the Grade One contests at the Cheltenham Festival.  

Can King end his losing run? 

We’ve just looked at the men who have saddled the most Cheltenham Festival winners, but one man who is desperate to return to the Prestbury Park winner’s enclosure is Alan King.  

King was a regular winner of the big races in the early to mid 2000s with the likes of Katchit, Voy Por Ustedes and My Way De Solzen picking up some of the biggest Cheltenham Festival races, but since Uxizandre made all in the hands of AP McCoy to pick up the 2015 Ryanair Chase, the Barbury Castle handler has saddled 84 consecutive losers at the Cheltenham Festival.  

He will be hoping to put that right with Edwardstone, who is likely to go off favourite for the opening-day Arkle. 

Alan King, Cheltenham Festival key statistics

Will Irish eyes smile again? 

Only four British-based trainers – Nicky Henderson (twice), Sue Smith, Jonjo O’Neill and Will Biddick – hit the target at last year’s Cheltenham Festival as no fewer than 23 of the 28 Cheltenham Festival races went the way of their Irish counterparts. 

That tally was a record for the number of Irish-trained winners at a single meeting and meant the raiders from across the Irish Sea won the Prestbury Cup for the sixth time in seven years. 

Ireland are heavy favourites for the Prestbury Cup once again and we’ve looked at the Cheltenham Britain v Ireland battle in depth as the Brits attempt to stop the rot.  

140 the golden number 

When it comes to the fiercely competitive handicaps the number you are looking for alongside your desired horse is a rating of 140. 

Of the nine handicaps at the meeting, five last year were won by horses rated from 137 to 143. When you take that back to the past five years, almost half of the winners in those races have been in that range. 

The Kim Muir is the race where that stat stands up best with nine of the last 10 in that band, although the race does have a ceiling of 145.  

Here you can read who we think will go close in the handicaps with our tips for every single handicap race at the Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Festival key statistics

Age isn’t just a number 

Barring the two juvenile hurdles that are exclusive to four-year-olds, 18 of the 26 races last year went to horses aged six or seven and only three winners had advanced into double figures. Only three of the last 22 winners were into the double-figure age bracket. 

That is something to bear in mind in the Cheltenham Gold Cup where Al Boum Photo is a 10-year-old, while Champ and Paisley Park are the same age in St Patrick’s Day’s Stayers’ Hurdle.  

Respect the going 

Good ground featured in the opening day’s going description nearly every year from 2012 to 2017, but since then global warming and the Clerk of the Course’s hosepipe have taken over and the Cheltenham Festival has begun on conditions with soft or heavy in the description. 

One positive of that is that winter form, traditionally run in deep ground, tends to stand up better and it is easier to pick out your Cheltenham winners.  

Cheltenham Festival key statistics

Do the favourites always win? 

Seventeen of the 28 winners last year came from the first three in the betting, but there were only eight winning favourites. 

That is just under a third of the races going to the market leader and the statistics suggest that you have a great chance of finding a winner by sticking with the favourite in the Arkle and Champion Hurdle 

There have been seven favourites win the Arkle in the last 10 years, while for the day-one feature Honeysuckle made it six out of 10 in 2021.  

When to look for an outsider 

It is not all about the favourites as with stack fields and chaos in-running there is plenty of value to be found.  

The races where there is often a long-priced winner are the Coral Cup and County Hurdle which have both had eight double-figure odds winners in the last 10 years, while for the Boodles Fred Winter, Grand Annual, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and Martin Pipe it has been seven double-figure odds winners in the same period of time.

The latest Cheltenham odds

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Author

Adam Morgan