We took at look at how stats and trends and be used to pick out horses for tricky festival races, here are just ten examples of how we used them.

You can see more Festival trends in blogs just like this from OLBG member Micko70 right here

Fred Winter stats point towards a Gordon Elliott runner

The Fred Winter is a race where we need all the help we can get, a lower than usual entry number this year it is worth knowing that eight of the last eleven winners had run in the previous 25 days.This stat this year is going to more or less rule out a huge number of the field so cannot be applied too literally, but it is a good example of what to look for when we are picking over a tough race like the Fred Winter. One horse that catches the eye when using this stat is Mitchouka for Gordon Elliott, he has had plenty of experience having run seven times this season. Whilst he wouldn’t have the normal Fred Winter profile as we look at a few more trends he begins to tick more boxes, six of the last ten winners won their most recent outing before winning the race, plus French bred horses have a good record winning six out of the last eleven renewals. This initial stat is a great way to pick out a few horses from a big field to focus on and then identify a horse that could be a great bet.

  • Mitchouka to win the Fred Winter 14/1 (non runner no bet)

Welcome to Mullins County

The two mile and one furlong County Hurdle is open to five year olds and older, like most festival handicaps this looks a competitive heat. One stat jumps off the page when we look at the recent history of winners in the County Hurdle. Willie Mullins knows what it takes to have the winner of the race. Arctic Fire, Wicklow Brave, Final Approach and Thousand Stars have all been winners for the Champion Irish Trainer. He comes into the race with a strong hand, Max Dynamite who came second in the Melbourne Cup heads the betting at 8/1, the trainer currently has fifteen others in the race, whilst plenty have multiple options you can be sure he will run at least a couple in the County. Until declarations it is tricky to pin point which horse to follow, my advice is just to take note of which of his runners get in at the five day stage.

Be Sure to follow Irish horses at the front of the market when you get to the Bumper

The Champion Bumper is always a race many love to try and find a future Festival star in, traditionally the Irish runners are the horses to follow. They have had a staggering seventeen winners in the last twenty three runnings of the race, Irish bred horses have a cracking record too with nineteen of the last twenty three winners being born in Ireland. The most powerful stat in my view is coupling the need for an Irish trained and bred horse with the fact that sixteen of the last twenty three winners were in the first six in the betting. These stats if followed rule out two significant runners for punters, Didtheyleaveuoutto (7/1) featured in my ante post blog as a selection and the stats mentioned would rule Nick Gifford’s five year old out of winning the bumper, it would also remove Acey Milan (8/1) from your shortlist. OLBG tipster 'Sticky99' offers a selection that fits every stat and trend mentioned for the bumper

The Irish look to have the edge this year and it would be surprising if they don't take the honours. I'm a big fan of the Leopardstown grade two flat race in February, the first two pulled well clear of the third and both look very smart. Blackbow quickened well up the home straight to go two from two in bumper races and is a worthy favourite for Willie Mullins. That said Rhinestone caught my eye in second, he got slightly outpaced when Blackbow quickened away but stuck on well to the line and may just turn the placings round up the Cheltenham hill.

Rhinestone is currently a best price of 9/1 to win the Champion Bumper.

Beware of the Coddfather in the Kim Muir

The Kim Muir is a race where the best amateur riders are very sought after, Jamie Codd would top the list for many. Since 2009 the Irish rider has won the race four times. The other curious stat is of the last seven winners six wore headgear to assist them with the three mile two furlong Festival trip. It is understandable that many in the race may benefit from the aid that headgear can offer to help them focus in what is a very intense environment for even the most seasoned chaser. If Jamie Codd is on anything with headgear you can be sure the horse is likely to be well supported and in with a good chance.

The Ballymore has a new name but old stats lead the way

The Ballymore formerly the Neptune has produced some fantastic winners over the years Faugheen, Simonsig,The New One all have gone on to achieve great things after winning the race. Trends to watch in the race range from six of the last ten winners being trained in Ireland, to ten of the last twelve winners having won at least twice over hurdles. These will be music to the ears of ante post favourite Samcro. He has looked mightily impressive so far this season for last years top Cheltenham Festival trainer Gordon Elliott, providing he travels over well the hype horse of the season should put in a huge run for his connections. 'DannyCraig' is an OLBG tipster that has been very impressed with the horse all season, he had this to say in our ante post fourm thread

"Injury is the only thing that stops Samcro from winning the Ballymore in my veiw, he put up a great performance in the Deloitte Hurdle"

Samcro is currently a top price of 4/5 to win the opening race on the Wednesday.

Aim for a young Irish stayer in the Foxhunters

Plenty dismiss the Foxhunters but as a race it is nearly always full of drama and has some stats and trends worth following. You really want to be looking at an Irish trained horse, this is a race they have made their own in recent years, in the last ten renewals they have claimed eight of them. Not only do they need to be an Irish trained horse you back but you also really need a horse with some sort of form over a longer trip. Nine of the last ten winners had won over three miles or further. With this knowledge it makes Burning Ambition the favourite for the race look even more attractive, just seven years old the bay gelding by Scorpion has run three times this season over three miles or further and has won twice. He is bound to be a popular selection with OLBG tipsters on the final day of the Festival and has already attracted tip comments like this

"Burning Ambition suffered a narrow defeat last time out by the classy Gilgamboa that is the best form on offer in this race, that same horse beat Foxrock comprehensively by ten lengths the race before so Burning Ambition lost nothing in defeat there. The booking of Jamie Codd in the saddle is a huge postive and he looks set to run a big race at the Festival this year."

That was OLBG tipster 'DannyCraig' on the 7/2 favourite for the race.

You need to watch your weight in the Coral Cup

The Coral Cup is the first taste of handicap hurdle action we get at the Festival, the two mile five race is always a challenge to get into but you do not want to be at the top of the handicap. Nine out of the last ten winners carried eleven stone six or lower, that stat would knock out plenty of fancied runners including Bleu Et Rouge (14/1) & ante post favourite William Henry (10/1) should he take up his entry in the race. If we then apply the trend that nine of the last ten winners finished in the first two in at least one of their last two starts we reduce the field significantly removing the likes of Ben Dundee and Burbank. Whilst this still leaves plenty to choose from I will be keen to look at the chances of Ok Corral in more detail, rated 144, the eight year old is very lightly raced and whilst very inexperienced I was impressed with the run at Kempton last month. He goes into our ante post portfolio as an each way selection.

  • OK Corral to win the Coral Cup 16/1 (non runner no bet)

The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle one for Gordon, Nicky or Willie

A race that always tends to produce a good winner, the race entries are dominated by the big three of Nicky Henderson, Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins. All three have won the race Mullins in particular has a strong recent record. The winners of the nine times this race has been run have all been rated +133 or higher, in truth that stat probably is not much help given the depth to this years renewal. Only 24 will get in from the 146 entered for the race. Ante post favourite Flawless Escape would roughly look to be the likely cut off point. The five year old fits many stats and trends for race winners from age (All of the nine winners were aged five or six) to runs that year (eight of the nine winners had run once or twice that year) and even distance (seven of the nine winners had previously won over two miles four furlongs or further) There is plenty to like about the Sagamix gelding and when we apply the stats and trends on offer for the Martin Pipe it only enhances my view of him. The hardest part about winning the race for him could be getting in.

  • Flawless Escape to win the Martin Pipe 8/1 (non runner no bet)

The “Green and Gold” Grand Annual

The final race at the Festival often makes us feel a little glum but at least offers us the final chance for one more bet. Owner JP McManus has a record to be feared in the race having previously owned three winners and a further eight placed horses in the past. If you back any of his runners you should have half a chance of finding the winner. The strangest stat I have seen this year has to be that six of the last fourteen winners have run in the previous years race! The key trend however has to be that all of the last ten winners were rated 147 or lower, this is going to knock out plenty of fancied types like the favourite Don’t Touch it (10/1) and bring into play his one of his owners other horses Eastlake. Whilst the Jonjo O’Neil trained horse is getting a little long in the tooth at twelve years old he has dropped to a mark of 147 and has had surgery on his wind to assist his breathing. He will be added to the ante post list as an each way suggestion for you to follow in the final Festival race.

  • Eastlake Each Way in the Grand Annual 33/1 (non runner no bet)

Ireland will come out on top again

The battle between the UK and Ireland for the Prestbury Cup is a nice side show to the main event, at the time of writing the price for Ireland to win is 4/5 and we will make that another selection in the ante post book. Leopardstown has been the track to run horses before they go to Cheltenham. It has provided over thirty festival winners from the last one hundred and sixty four. Nearly all have been Irish and very few UK raiders have visited this year, it just goes to show what a strong army of horses the visiting Irish trainers tend to bring to Cheltenham each year, it will be no shock to many the top trainer battle is between Gordon and Willie with a chance Nicky Henderson may manage to get involved for the UK.

  • Ireland to win the Prestbury Cup at 4/5

Ante Post Portfolio

  • Already Advised

  • Wholestone 16/1 Stayers Hurdle each way

  • Grand Vision Foxhunters (bet pending price)

  • Nicky Henderson to be top Cheltenham Festival Trainer 9/4

  • Didtheyleaveuoutto to win 8/1

  • Benie Des Dieux 5/1 OLBG Mares each way (non runner no bet)

  • Killultagh Vic Gold Cup 10/1 each way (non runner no bet)

  • Killultagh Vic Ryanair 10/1 each way (non runner no bet)

  • Footpad to win the Arkle 6/4

  • Sutton Place to win the JLT 12/1 (non runner no bet)

  • Monalee to win the RSA 7/1

  • Getabird to win the Supreme Novice at 16/1