Were aged eight or older (exception six-year-old Easysland)
Had previously run at Cheltenham (Big Shu)
Had competed over 3m2f or further (Big Shu) - six winning over 3m4f
Eight of the last 10 winners:
Had run in at least one cross country or banks race (exceptions Rivage D'Or and Delta Work)
Had run in at least 14 chases - Big Shu and Josies Orders had run in seven and nine
Key Trials from the last 10 years
The Grade 2 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase in December has thrown up three winners in the last 10 years (Easysland, Tiger Roll, Josies Orders). Additionally plenty of runners from that race have been placed. The race was not run in 2022.
The Grade 2 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase in November has also thrown up three winners in the last decade (Tiger Roll twice, Cause Of Causes) and some placed horses. The 2022 renewal was moved to January 2023.
The PP Hogan Cross Country Chase at Punchestown in February is also worth noting as Big Shu won that in 2013 before his Cheltenham win and in the last 10 years three other horses have gone from there to be placed (Josies Orders, Big Shu in 2014 and Shakervilz)
Gordon Elliott has four wins and five placings from 15 runners, with Tiger Roll largely to thanks for his impressive strike rate. When temporarily trained by Denise Foster in 2021 he won the race for a third time by a cool 18 lengths aged 11, though stablemate Delta Work spoiled the party in 2022, beating him by 3/4 of a length.
Philip Hobbs has also had some success here with two wins (Balthazar King both times) from 10 runners. He's the only trainer based in Britain to win this race in its 18-year history.
Enda Bolger is the leading overall trainer having won it five times, although only one of those victories came in the last decade.
David Cottin became the first French trainer to win the race in 2020 when landing it with Easysland in the JP McManus colours. He was second in 2021 and since joined Jonjo O'Neill but has beat one rival home in six outings.
Keith Donoghue has won three times on Tiger Roll. No other current rider have won the race more than once - semi-retired Davy Russell aside.
How did the trends do last year?
Tiger Roll lined up for his eighth Cheltenham Festival run as an historic two-time Grand National winner, and having already won the race thrice, effectively owned the trends so had to the first trends pick.
In the most unpopular victory of the week, and probably Cheltenham history, the pint-sized hero was beaten by less than a length on his Festival swansong by his stablemate Delta Work
The five-time Grade 1-winning nine-year-old was not an obvious trends pick, but was the class act in the line up, and coming from the Gordon Elliott stable did have to be respected.
Notably, both horses were rated 161 and 160 respectively, with only two other runners rated more than 150 in the line up, showing how much classier they were than the others, and crucially that the cream did rise to the top.
After a period of lower-rated horses scoring, that's the fifth successive year where a horse rated higher than 149 has won.
😮 DELTA WORK denies TIGER ROLL another Festival win and lands the @Glenfarclas Cross Country narrowly!
Delta Work is back for more, and, having won the race and a banks chase at Punchestown, is now a far stronger pick on trends. He also finished third in last year's Aintree Grand National, of course, and will be extremely hard to beat.
It's important to remember that this is not a handicap. The vast majority of cross country and banks races in Britain and Ireland are, so winning one of those getting lumps of weight from another doesn't necessarily mean you'll follow up with Festival victory.
Look for a classier horse, who jumps well, has bags of chasing experience and has been placed in a cross country or banks race.
Jessica Lamb is one of Bookmakers.com's racing expert. As a multi-media journalist also specialising is cycling and athletics, she has worked on news desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun as well as providing content for professional sports teams, national sports governing bodies and Boylesports.
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