The Weatherbys Champion Bumper is the most presitigious flat race on the National Hunt calendar, with some fantastic past winners, including Ballyandy, Envoi Allen and last year's victor:Ferny Hollow. Our resident tipster, Andrew Mount dives into the stats and trends for the race, gives us his thoughts on some of the main condenders and his ante-post selection for the big race.
Weatherbys Champion Bumper – (Cheltenham, Wednesday, March 17)
KEY STATS & TRENDS
The last ten Champion Bumper winners had won their prep race. Those who were beaten last time out are 0-68 in the past ten years, though the expected number of wins was only 1.52.
Willie Mullins (4-34, +£47.00) and Gordon Elliott (2-9, +£2.00) have won six of the last ten renewals between them.
4yos are 0-30 in the last ten years. 5yos are 7-137 and 6yos 3-50.
In the last ten years those who prepped at Fairyhouse (3-11, +£26.00) and Leopardstown (3-29, +£17.00) have been profitable to follow.
HORSE COUNTRY OF BREEDING
Ireland led the way with six, followed by two each for Britain and France.
SIRE COUNTRY OF BREEDING
Five winners were from British sires (from 85 runners), Irish sires had just one winner from 68 runners, German 0-14, French 1-19 and USA 3-31 (+£36.00).
DAYS SINCE LAST RUN
Those who had raced within the past four weeks are just one from 98 this century for a loss of £86.00 to a £1 level stake at SP (Ferny Hollow at 11-1 last year).
KILCRUIT produced a breath-taking turn of foot to score in Group 2 company at the Dublin Racing Festival (DRF), coming home 12 lengths clear of Letsbeclearaboutit. He heads the antepost market at odds of around 6-4 and it’s easy to see him starting even shorter on the day.
Point winner SIR GERHARD made if three from three in his short career when beating Letsbeclearaboutit by four and a half lengths in a Listed bumper at Navan in December. He was similarly impressive at Down Royal on his Rules debut and looks the obvious threat to the favourite.
EILEENDOVER took her form figures to 111 (3-3) when justifying favouritism by six and a half lengths in a Listed mares bumper at Market Rasen last time. She won her first two starts by an aggregate of 45 lengths and looks clearly best of the British-trained contingent.
THREE STRIPE LIFE
Gordon Elliott’s THREE STRIPE LIFE had nine lengths to spare over runner-up Outlaw Peter when justifying odds-on favouritism at Navan last month. He raced wide on the quickest part of the track but it was still an impressive performance.
GRANGEE had no answer to Eileendover at Market Rasen, finishing over eight lengths back in third place, but bounced back to land the Grade 2 mares bumper at the Dublib racing festival.
CHAMPION BUMPER - BIG RACE VERDICT
Summary: a race the Irish have always dominated and they are responsible for 33 of the 41 entries this year. KILCRUIT was hugely impressive at Leopardstown and is 10lb clear of his nearest rival on Racing Post Ratings. His trainer has won this in six of the last ten years, albeit not always with his first string, and he could prove hard to beat. Sir Gerhard representing last year’s winning connections, is the obvious danger and Eileendover looks easily best of the British-trained runners.
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