Champion Bumper Trends

The Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival is the most competitive National Hunt Flat Race of the calendar year and is open to horses aged four to six. This contest has thrown up some seriously brilliant horses over the years such as Dunguib in 2009 and Cue Card the following year. It takes a certain type of horse to win this contest and that horse can be more easily found when looking at specifics trends and statistics which we will do below. Our Champion Bumper tips can be found here.

Champion Bumper Trends

  • The Irish dominate – Irish trained horses have won 17 of the 23 renewals
  • Recent form is vital – 22 of 23 winners won their previous start
  • Perfect records help – 5 of the last 8 winners were unbeaten in bumpers 
  • Experience is hard to replace – 8 of the last 13 winners had raced in three bumpers or more
  • Younger horses struggle – Only 3 four year olds have ever won this race

Trends – Key Runners

Blackbow ✅✅✅❌✅

Rhinestone ✅❌❌❌✅

Hollowgraphic ✅✅✅❌✅

Carefully Selected ✅✅✅❌✅

Didtheyleaveuoutto ❌✅✅❌✅

Acey Milan ❌✅❌✅❌

The Irish challenge is strong as always for this year’s bumper and one that does well in our trends is Blackbow, an Irish-trained five year old who is unbeaten so far in his career. He doesn’t have three bumper starts to his name but was successful in a point-to-point before joining Willie Mullins.

Trends Analysis

It is hard to dismiss the claims of Blackbow, who was most impressive when preserving his unbeaten record in a Grade 2 bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival in extremely fine style. Most people agree that the race was the strongest bumper of the whole season so far in Ireland and probably slightly ahead of anything seen in Britain so far as well, he showed some serious gears that day to kick away from the flat-bred Rhinestone who also goes here with a live chance and the likelihood is he will be tough to beat especially if the choice of brilliant rider Patrick Mullins. Joseph O’Brien’s Rhinestone ran a fine race that day to finish second despite his rival getting first run and it would be no surprise were he to put it up to him once more, but there is no doubt they are both very exciting horses.

Carefully Selected looks just about the stable second string if the market is anything to go by but has won both of his bumpers very easily since moving to Willie Mullins after two starts in point-to-points. He won by eight lengths on his debut at Leopardstown and put a well regarded horse from the Jessica Harrington stable in his place last time so looks one of a few exciting prospects for the Mullins camp.

The British have historically struggled in this race but look to have a couple of solid contenders this year in the shape of Didtheyleaveuoutto and Acey Milan. The former was a visually impressive winner of a Lingfield All Weather bumper on his first start under rules and followed up with a facile victory in arguably the best British bumper of the year with the well regarded Bullionaire back in second. He will have to break a few trends if he is to win but he has looked all class so far and should go well. Anthony Honeyball has had a tough season losing his stable star Fountain’s Windfall but could gain some compensation with the talented Acey Milan, he looked green when beaten on his racecourse debut but has done nothing but improve since and won a hot looking bumper at Newbury by a remarkable eleven lengths last time out. He has continued to progress at a rate of knots ever since his first taste of racing and has already won at Cheltenham before in a Listed contest, he has shown he stays well up the hill and should handle any ground conditions so looks one to fear.

Other contenders include Good Boy BobbyFelix Desjy and Gallaher’s Cross. The former is trained by 2016’s winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and was an easy winner of his first two starts before finding very deep ground too much for him when behind Acey Milan last time out, he is probably better than that and should be considered. Gigginstown have been open about their lack of interest in this race recently but look to be on course to run the exciting Felix Desjy despite that, he won by ten lengths on his debut for Gordon Elliott and was only pushed out to win on his last appearance, Lisa O’Neill has been quoted saying he’d be the one she’d most like to ride in the race if given the choice so that must have some significance. Gallaher’s Cross was a much hyped horse before his debut for Nicky Henderson having won easily on his sole start for Peter Fahey and didn’t disgrace himself in any way. He travelled well into the race but was too keen and his early exertions counted against him so he is probably worth another chance.

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