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Champion Bumper Trends For The 2024 Cheltenham Festival

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 13 mins

Champion Bumper Trends For The 2024 Cheltenham Festival

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2024 Cheltenham Champion Bumper Trends

The last 10 winners:

  • Won last time out - that includes all bar four placed finishers
  • If they had run at Cheltenham before, they had won
  • Had finished in the first three on a left-handed track, nine had won
  • Had won on a track described as 'galloping' or 'undulating'
  • Had run in at least two bumpers, six were unbeaten
  • We aged five or six; four-year-olds are 0/22 in the last 10 years

Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Last ran at least 32 days ago (exception Ferny Hollow, 18 days)
  • Had never finished out of the first three (Fayonagh, 8th on debut)
  • Had run on both left-handed and right-handed tracks (Facile Vega)

Eight of the last 10 winners:

  • Had won at least two bumpers (exceptions Silver Concorde and Ferny Hollow)
  • Were trained in Ireland, including the last seven. Horses trained in Ireland have won 23 of this race's 31 renewals.
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Key Trials in the last 10 years

The Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner can come from anywhere at all, as long as they are good enough, so keep an eye on all decent bumpers run in January and February on left-handed, testing courses; particularly Leopardstown, Cheltenham, and Newbury, but also right-handed tracks Ascot and Fairyhouse.

One race to watch out for in particular is the Listed bumper at Navan in December as Gordon Elliott trained the winner of that in 2019 and 2020 and both went on to win the follow year's Champion Bumper. He also saddled the winner in 2021, who finished second at Cheltenham.

Elliott also won the race in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and saddled the runner-up in 2019. His 2016 winner was the mighty Samcro.

Unfortunately the race was abandoned in 2022 so we had no opportunity to examine the trend. However, in the 2023 edition Elliott had the favourite for the race in The Enabler who registered a 4 length success in the hands of Harry Swan.

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Trainer Trends

  • Willie Mullins has won 12 Champion Bumpers and in the last 10 years has additionally saddled nine placed horses from 40 runners. In 2020 and 2021 he saddled the first two, home and he had the second in 2019 and the first three in 2018. He's also won four of the last five renewals.
  • Gordon Elliott is becoming a big player too. From 11 runners, he's saddled two winners and a second and a third.
  • Irish trainers have a tremendous record in this race on the whole, winning 22 times in the race's 31-year history.

Jockey Trends

  • Amateur riders based in Ireland have won four of the last six editions.
  • Jamie Codd had only had four rides in the race, all for Gordon Elliott, but they yielded two wins, a second and a third, so that is a combination to keep a very close eye on. Following his retirement, Harry Swan looks to be picking up the plum Elliott bumper rides.

How did the trends do last year?

The John Kiely-trained A Dream To Share had no negatives on trends, but the top picks, owing to their connections, were Better Days Ahead for Gordon Elliott and jockey Jamie Codd, and It's For Me for Willie Mullins. 

Each had been outstanding in their bumper wins on left-handed, testing tracks last time out, but on the day finished 16th and 5th.

Mullins' best finisher was second Fact To File, the 16/5 favourite who came into the race without a win last time out, as did his 80/1 4th Lecky Watson.

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Who Fits The Trends Best In 2024?

Given the history of this race, it will probably pay to focus on the more prominent bumper performers from Ireland, or more specifically from the Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott stables.

Top of the list at this stage for Elliott is the unbeaten Jalon D'Oudairies, who has won twice on galloping, right-handed and left-handed tracks, most recently at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. He fits the profile perfectly.

In terms of Mullins's hopes, Cheltenham Listed mares' bumper winner Baby Kate stands out, though she has not run since November. Mullins's Cantico is also noteworthy on trends, having finished third at Leopardstown's Christmas Festival on his bumper debut and followed up with a six-length win at Navan in February.

Also worth watching the Martin Brassil-trained Goldinthemountains, who beat Cantico in what is normally a good bumper at Leopardstown on December 26. It was a big improvement from his Punchestown festival debut fourth back in April.

The leading British-trained hope on trends is Let It Rain, a mare who has won twice by wide margins at Cheltenham for Dan Skelton, including against males in a Listed event at Ascot. She's also won on a sharp left-handed course.

Though four-year-olds are 0/22 in the last 10 years, and the race's last winner from that age group was Cue Card in 2010, two four-year-olds have finished second recently, so it could be worth noting Cheltenham Listed bumper winner Kel Du Large, who should be a big price for Jane Williams.

2023 Cheltenham Champion Bumper Result

PositionNamePriceTrainerJockey
1stA Dream To Share7/2John KielyJ L Gleeson
2ndFact To File16/5fWillie MullinsPatrick Mullins
3rdCaptain Teague40/1Paul NichollsHarry Cobden

About the Author

Jessica Lamb is a multi-media journalist who specializes in horse racing, cycling and sports betting and has worked on desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun newspapers.