Let’s start with some basic figures to help us find a winner:
• Ireland have won 7 of the last 10 renewals and 13 of the last 20
• The last 3 winners of this race had their prep run at Naas
• 9 of the last 10 winners were 6-year-olds
• Only 1 of the last 5 winners had previously run at Cheltenham
• 5 of the last 10 favourites have won
• Each of the last 5 winners had 3 runs over hurdles before winning
• The handicapper has given an average rating of 156 to the last 5 winners
Finding the Winner
This isn’t the most difficult race for Punters to try and solve, with 5 of the last 10 favourites winning the race and only Willoughby Court (2017) returning a double figure payout on the Tote. The recent stats point directly to a 6-year-old who has made 3 starts over hurdles, which would bring in the likes of Ginto and Stage Star to this year’s reckoning. GINTO is of particular interest because he won the Lawlors of Naas hurdle in January, a race won by both Envoi Allen and Bob Olinger before they went on to win the Ballymore. Stage Star also brings Grade 1 form to the table, but it is worth noting that none of the last 10 winners of the Challow hurdle have gone on to win this race, though Messire des Obeaux, Champ and Bravemansgame have all made the frame. An average rating of 156 in the last 5 years is 2lbs lower than the Supreme.
The cream has tended to rise to the top in this race and it hasn’t been the greatest place for the each-way players. In the last 5 years, only Bright Forecast (3rd in 2019) has returned a place premium greater than £5. Although the British trained horses have struggled to win this race, they have filled 6 of the last 10 places since 2017 so there is some hope that the home-grown talent could be involved in the finish.
Considering the success that Favourites have had in this race, with 5 of the last 10 winners and all 10 of those favourites finishing in the first 3, the exotics market for this race have held up quite nicely. The exacta has beaten the industry forecast in 4 of the last 5 seasons and despite the favourite finishing 2nd in 2017 and 2019, the exacta still returned over £50 on both occasions. Despite the relatively limited returns in the place markets, the trifecta has also been very rewarding, with the 2019 a standout return at £1215.80. The key to this is to analyze the type of race we have, the more competitive the race looks to less likely there is to be a big return in these markets as the principles generally reach the highest level. The 2021 renewal saw the first 3 in the market fill the places and as a result the trifecta returned £8.90. This years’ race looks likely to be very competitive, but with the likelihood of many of the well fancied principles lining up in the Supreme, there may still be room for an outsider to hit the frame and boost the return.