Last updated Mar 26, 3:12pm     on Cheltenham    0 Comments    3528 Views

Cheltenham Festival Handicap Pointers

We thought it would be a great idea to have a look at the handicaps at the Cheltenham festival.

Looking at the handicaps as one to see if there are any factors which stand out and can help us narrow down the fields.

We shall be looking at the races combined over the past ten years.

As of 2016, there is a total of ten handicap races at the festival since the Cross Country was altered to a non-handicap.

The ten races which fall under this section are:

In this post...

The Age Factor

The younger runners seem to have the upper hand and when we say younger, we mean those in single digits!

Runners aged 10yo or older in the handicap races do have eight winners between them but that is from 340 runners spanning over 81 races.

In 2016 these runners returned figures of 0-25, in 2017 they were 0-25 and in 2018 they were 0-21 meaning the last three festivals figures are 0-71!

The last winner was The Package back in 2015 when landing the Kim Muir for David Pipe.

An alternative way of looking at it is age compared to the youngest in the race and all bar two of the winners were within four years of the youngest runner.

Those who were five years or older have two wins from a total of 181 runners covering 73 races.

Concentrate on those no older than 9yo and within 4 years of the youngest.

The Weight Factor

There are several ways of looking at weights, you can just simply look at weights but you can also compare them to the average weights too.

If we split the weights, those carrying under eleven stone have won 46% of the races (45-98) with those carrying more having won 58% of races (62-107).

If you add up all of the weights and divide them by the number of runners, we get the average weight of the race.

There has been a total of 90 races which have included runners carrying 8lbs+ more than the average, from those 90 only 9 have been won by one of those runners (10%).

16 runners competed over 8 races in 2018 and only 3 of those managed to place with no winners. since 2015, a total of 30 races (65 runners) with only 2 winners.

The same can be said at the other end of the spectrum, those carrying 8lbs+ less than the average have produced 6 winners from 79 races (8%) from 195 runners.

The last winner was Golden Chieftain in 2013! Since then, there have been 75 runners who have failed to win with only 6 of those getting in the places.

One last factor is those carrying a lot more than they did on their last start. Those who are carrying 15lbs+ compared to LTO have 1 win from 46 races (77 runners).

That one win was way back in 2011 with 51 runners coming out since without recording a victory.

Concentrate on those within 7lbs of the average weight and not carrying 15lbs+ more than their last run.

The Official Rating Factor

It's not worth looking at official ratings as a whole as the races differ and this will tell us nothing but there are some other areas.

For example, looking at the runner's official rating compared to their last win mark. This can tell us if the runner is much higher or has dropped.

The has been 190 runners over 79 races where they were running off an official mark which was lower than their last win.

From those, only 3 have gone on to success, so generally, these are best overlooked although the 2016 & 2017 Kim Muir were both won by these so keep that in mind for that race.

At the other end of the spectrum, those with a mark of 20lb+ compared to their last win (Not including handicap debutants) have 2 wins from 73 runners.

Those 73 runners have spanned over 44 races with only a further 7 runners making it into the placings. The last winner was The New Story (2010).

Avoid anything off a mark lower than its last win or 20lbs+ compared to its last win

The Odds Factor

Whilst we do get some tasty winners there appears to be a clear cutoff number when it comes to SPs.

There has been a total of 354 runners sent off 50/1 or bigger spanning over 104 races, the only winner was Carrickboy (2013) at 50/1.

Favourites have won just 11 of the 107 races and if you focus on the top three in the market, they have won 36 races (34%).

The best returning range for SPs is 9/1 to 20/1 which have won 53% of the races (57-107).

So there does not seem a great deal in the odds apart from avoiding the bigger priced runners.

Avoid anything which is sent off 50/1 or bigger.

The Last Time Out (LTO) Factor

There are a couple of certain race types which have poor records. Those who ran in an NHF last time out are 0-20 and only 2 places.

Those who ran in a Maiden Hurdle are 0-19 with 4 places and those who ran in a Beginners Chase have produced 2 winners but form 41 runners over 27 races.

Certainly avoiding those who ran on the flat last time out seems the way to go, 0-42 is their record with only 3 of those placing.

It's worth looking at field sizes, did the runner have a tough race last time out?

Well, those who ran in a field of more than 20 runners have produced 9 winners, however, that is from 143 runners over 57 races and have only produced 1 winner in the past 3 festivals.

This is a general rule to follow for a lot of people, avoiding those who ran in a Grade 1 last time out. 6 winners from 120 runners over 67 races is not a good return.

Finally, those who failed to finish their race last time out have produced 9 winners from 89 races, spanning over 246 runners.

Avoid anything which ran on the flat, or ran in a field of 20+ runners, or ran in a G1, or failed to finish last time out

The Summary

Remember we have a wealth of knowledgable racing tipsters so be sure to check out the best bets for Cheltenham.

Here are the overall pointers in handicaps over the past ten years:

  • Aged under 10yo
  • Within 4yrs of the youngest runner
  • Runners who are within 7lbs of the average weight
  • Avoid those who are carrying 15lbs+ more than LTO
  • Overlook those off an OR lower than last win
  • Also, those 20lbs+ compared to last win
  • Ignore anything 50/1 or bigger
  • Ideally, between 9/1 & 20/1
  • Avoid those who ran on the flat LTO
  • A runner who ran in a field of not more than 20 LTO
  • One which did not run in a G1 LTO
  • Finally, one who finished their race LTO

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