Need some help finding the winner of the 2023 edition of the St James's Place Festival Hunters' Chase? Well, look no further because our team of experts at Bookmakers.com have done the hard work for you by pinpointing the most critical trends and pointers from the last 10 renewals in order to help you find the winner of the amateur riders’ Gold Cup.
The last 10 winners:
Were bred in Ireland or France
Were aged no older than 11 - the last eight were older than nine
Had won on a left-handed track
Last ran no more than 53 days ago
Last won no more than three runs ago, four winning last time out
Nine of the last 10 winners:
Had won a hunter chase (exception Porlock Bay, who run in only one hunter chase and finished second)
Last ran in a hunter chase (It Came To Pass pulled up in a point-to-point)
Had won at least four times over fences, including in point-to-points (Porlock Bay had only won one point-to-point)
Eight of the last 10 winners:
Finished in the first three on their last run (exceptions It Came To Pass and On The Fringe in 2016)
Key Trials in the last 10 years
With so many hunter chase options, there are not many recognised trials for the Foxhunter Chase.
Traditionally, the Raymond Smith Memorial Hunter Chase at Leopardstown in February was the best guide, but that has been discontinued with the creation of the Dublin Racing Festival.
The best bet for the 2021 Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham is to follow horses that win hunter chases run on left-handed courses, preferably ones described as 'galloping', 'undulating', or 'testing'.
If you had bet £1 on all of Paul Nicholls's 15 runners in the last 12 years, you would be £28 in profit! Having won two of the last six runnings, he's a good trainer to follow .
Irish trainer Enda Bolger has saddled two winners and two placed finishers from 10 runners in the last 12 years.
Irish trainers have won six of the last 10 renewals, but not four of the last six.
Five of the last seven runnings have been won by female jockeys.
Eight of the last 12 runnings have been won by jockeys based in Ireland
How did the trends do last year?
Billaway was a clear trend pick with five wins over fences, including a hunter chase last time out at Naas, which is an excellent test for Cheltenham hopefuls.
He had a recent run and was aged 10, which is maybe why he finally won, having been second aged eight and at age nine, when obviously less experienced and battle-hardened.
Second Winged Leader was only eight and could be one to watch this year, while third Mighty Stowaway looked interesting, with very strong connections in trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Jamie Codd, but had pulled up in a point-to-point last time out and never won a hunter chase.
He couldn't be completely overlooked on trends though, and those that followed said trends, particularly looking at the fact that he had won a point-to-point two runs ago, and had won ordinary chases, enjoyed a nice each-way pay out from odds of 33/1.
Applying the trends to the possible field for the 2023 Cheltenham Foxhunter whittles the field down to four likely winners Billaway, Chris's Dream, Envious Editor and Winged Leader.
After winning on his third try last year, Billaway is primed to land a second Cheltenham Foxhunter, now aged 11 and coming into the race having finished second last time out, albeit well-beaten. Last year he went on to win a Naas hunter chase in February, so look out for that to confirm him a key trends pick.
It's good to note that this is a race that does tend to favour horses who have had experience in it before.
Winged Leader, who was beaten a neck by Billaway last year aged only eight, is also a key trends pick, with plenty of hunter chase and point-to-point wins. Nine-year-olds have a far better record than eight-year-olds, who very rarely win.
Grade 2-winning chaser Chris's Dream has taken to point-to-pointing well this season. Now aged 11, he comes into the race off the back of two point-to-point wins. He hasn't won a hunter chase, but does have three point-to-point wins to his name and four chase wins. He ticks a lot of trends boxes.
The final trends pick is Envious Editor, a nine-year-old who has won two hunter chases in the last year, including two runs ago at Taunton. He's also won five point-to-points and finished second in a hunter chase at Cheltenham last April.
The negative for him is that he has not won a hunter chase over further than 2m7f. The Cheltenham Foxhunter is 3m2f.
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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