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Foxhunter Chase Trends for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 12 mins

Foxhunter Chase Trends for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

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2024 Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase Trends

One of the races at the Cheltenham Festival for amateur jockeys, the Foxhunter chase is one of the highlights of the week for many punters. Here are the trends you need to help find the winner at UK betting apps:

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The last 10 winners:

  • Were bred in Ireland or France
  • Were aged no older than 11 - the last nine were aged 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, or won an open point-to-point (Premier Magic). (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)

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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'.

Trainer Trends

  • If you had bet £1 on all of Paul Nicholls's 14 runners in the last 10 years, you would be £45 in profit! 
  • Irish trainer Enda Bolger has saddled two winners and two placed finishers from 10 runners in the last 10 years.
  • Irish trainers have won five of the last 10 renewals, but just two of the last seven.

Jockey Trends

  • Five of the last 10 runnings have been won by female jockeys.
  • Five of the last seven runnings have been won by jockeys based in Britain.

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How did the trends do last year?

Premier Magic was a 66/1 winner, but surprisingly did fit just about every key trend. It was off-putting that he had not run in a hunter chase last time out, and even more so that he had not won a hunter chase for two years. However, he was a winner racing left-handed, he fit the age profile at the age of 10 and had won last time out, as well as on nine other occasions over fences.

He was by no means an obvious choice as the race has tended to favour hunter chasers over point-to-pointers in recent years, but he did tick just about every box, so couldn't be called a trends bust by any stretch.

 

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Who Fits The Trends Best In 2024?

The two at the head of the betting currently, Its On The Line (last year's second) and Ferns Lock, are aged just seven. Salsify (2012) and Cappa Bleu (2009) did win aged seven in recent times, but the trend has been recently for older, more experienced horses to win. Similarly, no horse aged older than 11 has won since Earthmover aged 13 in 2004. The race has a history dating back to 1946 and in that time only seven horses aged older than 11 have won. Fancied runners Samcro and Billaway are now 12.

With that in mind, applying the trends to the possible field for the 2024 Cheltenham Foxhunter whittles the field down to three likely winners Ramilies, Time Leader and defending champion Premier Magic.

After winning on his second try last year, Premier Magic is primed to land a second Cheltenham Foxhunter, now aged 11 and coming into the race unbeaten since his Festival win last year. He's since won another Cheltenham hunter chase and two point-to-points, which is the route he took before winning last year.

It's good to note that this is a race that does tend to favour horses who have had experience in it before - seven of the last 10 winners had run at Cheltenham before.

Ramilies has run at three Cheltenham Festivals in a bumper, over hurdles and over fences. This is his first season of hunter chasing for the nine-year-old and he has won four point-to-points, as well as finishing third and fourth in hunter chases won by Its On The Line. 

The final trends pick is Time Leader, who finished fifth in last year's Aintree hunter chase and won a Hereford hunter chase last time out by seven lengths. It's a negative that he's never run at Cheltenham before, but he has won racing left-handed, is aged 10 and boasts five hunter chase wins overall.

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2023 Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st Premier Magic 66/1 Bradley Gibbs Bradley Gibbs
2nd Its On The Line 28/1 Emmet Mullins Derek O'Connor
3rd Shantou Flyer 50/1 S Loxton Miss Olive Nicholls
 

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.