This Saturday sees a key Champion Hurdle trial in the North East. Four winners of the race in the last decade have finished in the first 2 in Cheltenham’s Tuesday feature so let’s break down the 2016 renewal by the trends to see if there is a Champion Hurdler in the making here. Our Channel 4 tips and previews are on site.
- CLASS MATTERS – All of the last 10 winners have won a Grade 1 or 2 hurdle. A sizeable negative on the face of things for Petit Mouchoir but he has been placed three times at the highest level.
- HURDLING INEXPERIENCE – 9 of the last 10 winners were 2nd or 3rd season hurdlers (2nd favourite Irving is a 4th season) while 8 of the 10 have had no more than 9 starts over hurdles. Both favourite Sceau Royal and Irving fail on the latter.
- AGEIST? – Winners aged 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the last 10 years but 5 and 6 year olds have done best (9/12 combined.) 4yo’s have just the one winner in the last 25 years (Countrywide Flame) but that winner and 4 more placings have come from the last 9 runners
- FAVOURITES RULE – 8 of the last 10 winners were either 1st or 2nd in the betting
- REPEAT THE DOSE – Gone are the 70’s where horses would take this race multiple times. The last 5 highest finishers from the previous year (Top Notch) have all been turned over with just a single place between them.
- SUPREME IS KING – The highest finisher from the previous season’s Supreme Novices have an exceptional recent record. 4 winners, a 2nd and a 3rd from the last 6 runners! Petit Mouchoir represents that line this year but was only 8th in the Supreme.
- LATEST RUNS – A finish of first or second last time out was a hallmark of 9 of the last 10 winners. The only exception was Irving in 2014 who had fallen at the last at Wincanton the time before when 2nd at worst. That is a stat that both Irving and Petit Mouchoir would have to overcome to triumph.
A difficult race to break down given that the stats at one stage or another go against those in with a chance. With the exception of Go Native in 2009 who went off a 25/1 shot, all other 9 winners in the last decade have been 4/1 or less. Sceau Royal and Petit Mouchoir are the pair who fit most trends and have every chance of being the pair to fight out the finish to the 2016 edition. Read our Fighting Fifth Hurdle Preview for a full summary of the race with our tip to follow.