Key Trial Races for the Cheltenham Festival

Kemboy wins the Savills Chase

The five championship races at the Cheltenham Festival have a number of key trials throughout the season. Some contests have a better history than others when pointing towards future Cheltenham winners.

Below are the races which have proved to be excellent pointers for horses which have won the trial and followed up at the festival since 2002.

Champion Hurdle

Contenders Hurdle – Rooster Booster (2003), Binocular (2010), Buveur D’Air (2017 & 2018)

Fighting Fifth Hurdle – Punjabi (2008), Buveur D’Air (2017)

This season – 

Ryanair Hurdle – Brave Inca (2005), Hurricane Fly (2010 & 2012)

Morgiana Hurdle – Brave Inca (2005), Hurricane Fly (2012)

This season – 

Irish Champion Hurdle – Brave Inca (2006), Hurricane Fly (2011 & 2013)

Hatton’s Grace – Hurricane Fly (2010), Jezki (2013)

This season – 

Christmas Hurdle – Faugheen (2014), Buveur D’Air (2017)

This season – 

Champion Chase

Tingle Creek – Flagship Uberalles (2001), Moscow Flyer (2004), Master Minded (2008), Sprinter Sacre (2012), Sire De Grugy (2013), Dodging Bullets (2014)

Desert Orchid Chase – Voy Por Ustedes (2006), Finian’s Rainbow (2011), Sire De Grugy (2013), Sprinter Sacre (2015), Special Tiara (2016)

Clarence House – Master Minded (2009), Sprinter Sacre (2013), Sire De Grugy (2014), Dodging Bullets (2015)

This season – 

Ryanair Chase

Christy 1965 Chase – Albertas Run (2009), Vautour (2015)

This season – 

Stayers’ Hurdle

Long Walk Hurdle – Baracouda (2001), My Way De Solzen (2005), Big Bucks (2009, 2010 & 2011), Thistlecrack (2015)

Cleeve Hurdle – Inglis Drever (2008), Big Bucks (2009 & 2012), Thistlecrack (2016)

This season – 

Gold Cup

King George VI Chase – Best Mate (2002), Kicking King (2004), Kauto Star (2006 & 2008), Long Run (2010)

Denman Chase – Kauto Star (2007), Denman (2008), Coneygree (2015), Native River (2018)

This season – 

Savills Chase – Best Mate (2003), Denman (2007), Synchronised (2011)

This season – 

There have been other notable races that point the way to horses running well in the Gold Cup. It’s worth noting that Kauto Star, Long Run and Might Bite also won the King George before placing at Cheltenham the same season. Exotic Dancer filled the runner up spot in both races in the 2006/07 campaign. Thistlecrack and Native River placed in the latest renewal of the King George VI Chase.

Kicking King won the John Durkan before going on to win the Gold Cup, as did Djakadam before he was runner up to Don Cossack in 2016. Sir Des Champs filled the runner up spot in both races in the same season. Shattered Love was second this time around and could have an outside chance for Gordon Elliott in the showpiece event.

Finally, Sizing John won the Irish Gold Cup on his way to festival glory just two years ago. Bellshill and Road To Respect battled out a tight finish in that very contest last month. Our Gold Cup tips are ready so you can see who we’re siding with!

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