This Saturday we return to the home of UK jumps racing – Cheltenham – for another cracking card. Bundles to look forward to with seven races, including four LIVE on ITV, but it’s the Grade Two Unibet International Hurdle that spearheads the fixture.
Run over two miles and one furlong, the race is often billed as a good guide to the Champion Hurdle, run in three months at the Cheltenham Festival. However, it’s worth noting the last horse to land both races in the same season was the popular grey Rooster Booster back in 2002/03 season.
In recent years, the Nigel Twiston-Davies camp have mopped-up four wins in the race since 2009, while the powerful Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs yards are others with top records in the contest – in fact, between those four trainers mentioned they landed ALL of the last ten renewals!
Also, three of those recent four Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained winners were with The New One, who at the age of ten is set to line-up again and if successful will become the most-winning horse in the race’s history.
You can get more help finding the winner of the Unibet International Hurdle on our ITV Tips page.
Plus, to help pin-point the best winning profile of the 2018 Unibet International Hurdle we are on-hand with some key trends and statistics.
We hope they help you find the winner, but if you fancy a horse that we’ve not featured below then simply apply these stats to that runner.
16 of the last 16 had run over hurdles at Cheltenham before (11 of last 16 had won over hurdles at the track)
15 of the last 16 placed in the top three last time out (11 of last 16 won last time)
14 of the last 16 winners had raced within the last six weeks
13 of the last 16 winners had won at least four times over hurdles before
13 of the last 16 winners were trained by Hobbs, Henderson, Nicholls or Twiston-Davies
12 of the last 16 winners were aged seven years-old or younger
Trends – Key Runners
Summerville Boy ✅❌✅❌❌✅
Brain Power ✅❌✅✅✅✅
Old Guard ✅✅✅✅✅✅
Silver Streak ✅✅✅✅❌✅
The New One ✅❌❌✅✅❌
Summerville Boy had a decent novice campaign last term that peaked by winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He returned earlier this month with a slightly below-par effort in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, beaten just over twenty lengths. However, that run would have blown away the cobwebs, while the return to Cheltenham is a plus with form figures that read 2-3-1 at Prestbury Park. He should be ‘bang-there’ based on the ratings but the trends seem to give him a mixed chance, with only half in his favour. Not finishing in the top three last time out, plus having only won twice over hurdles are two of the three stats he needs to overcome. Plus, those looking to take him on might look to the Tom George camp only being two-from-forty-two with their hurdles at the track.
Brain Power hails from the Nicky Henderson yard, that won this race four times in total. This 158-rated hurdler hasn’t really translated that level of form to fences in the last few seasons – having failed to complete in three of his six runs, but with four victories over hurdles it looks a good move by the Seven Barrows team to revert him back to the smaller obstacles. He was also eighth in the 2017 Champion Hurdle, but he does, seemingly, have a bit to prove at Cheltenham as his form figures at the track read just 4-2-8-8. Having said that, of the main runners he does tick the most trends – five of our six. He only gets a negative for not having finished in the top three last time out. He’s a high-class sort that is yet to fulfil the potential he showed a few seasons ago and the stats suggest he can’t be ruled out lightly.
Old Guard is a tough and consistent hurdler that seems to save his best for Cheltenham. This Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old is a proven course and distance winner here and also has recent form figures at the track that read 3-5-4-3. Yes, he only ran fifth in this race last year was actually only beaten just under four lengths. However, this year’s renewal is probably not one of the best so that certainly brings him into the mix, especially at a track we know he rarely runs a bad race at. This season he’s returned in decent order too with four top-three finishes, including a third in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last month. He’ll be looking to give his trainer his fourth success in the race and with ALL of our six trends on his side then he’s a horse to ignore at your peril.
Silver Streak was a neck second in the Greatwood Hurdle here last month and a repeat of that form should see this Evan Williams-trained five-year-old in the shake-up. That was his first run at the track, but it was clear the stiff uphill finish suited, while Barry Geraghty takes over in the saddle, which is another obvious plus. The drying ground looks in his favour too and with five of our six stats on his side – he only falls down on not being trained by one of the main four stables – then he’s another that the trends suggest has a big chance.
With wins in 2013, 2014 and 2016, plus runner-up twelve months ago, The New One has certainly made this race his own in recent years and at the age of ten he’s back for more this Saturday. Should he win, then he’ll be the most successful horse in this race. We did see a ten- year-old winner of the race last season with My Tent Or Yours showing aging legs are still capable of landing this prize. Having said that, this popular Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained hurdler has won just one of his last seven and hasn’t quite looked the force of old in his last three races. The trends see him fall down on half of our six, with age and recent form the two main negatives against him. In short the heart says yes, but the head says no.
Every Cheltenham race covered live on ITV can be found on our Cheltenham Racing Tips page, with runner by runner previews for each contest.