A race where the British trained runners used to take a regular pounding from the battalions from across the Irish Sea and the Irish still lead 14-5 over the 19 years that this event has been run. But the Brits have fought back winning the last two runnings via Cue Card and Cheltenian, that also giving a 1-2 for the home team a scenario that has been repeated every time that they have won the race.
But those last two successes should not cloud the fact that the Irish have still won almost three times as many runnings of this race and that they will still present a formidable force within the race with Willie Muillns being at the focal point of their attack. He’s trained the winner on six occasions and it must be remembered that over that period the runners from across the Irish Sea only form about one-third of the total runners in the event. Those placing Cheltenham 2012 bets should remember this.
Given that this can be a rough race with a big field experience in a big field is vital and even more so if the experience is a winning one, the last 15 winners have all had a winning outing in at least a double-figure field, with 13 being the smallest. Although Cue Card managed to win as a four-year-old that age group have by far the weakest strike rate and we believe that only a really exceptional individual from that age group will be able to make an impression here. Another group that have really struggled over the years have been GB trained six-year-olds which are currently 0-75 in the Champion Bumper – a group to have a very careful think about supporting. Those looking for 2012 Cheltenham betting tips need to remember this.
Given the terrible record of horses that have not run since Boxing Day at the Festival as whole (just Quevega has won in the last two years), it is therefore eye-opening that five of the last nine winners were put away specifically for this race having won before the New Year which could be significant.
Finally, just five of the 19 winners could be found outside the first six in the betting.