Cheltenham Festival – Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Every day during Cheltenham I am going to be doing an analysis of the biggest race of the day. As we all know, picking the winner in these high class events is very difficult due to the overall standard of runners, but we are going to do our best to make you a profit during the festival.

The first step is to remove any horses that have a very slim chance of winning the race.

As you can see above, using the RA race card in the members area, we can remove Brampour and Kalann immediately as their speed bars indicate a declining performance.

Unsurprisingly the majority of the winners are Course and Distance winners, indicated by the CD next to their names and the recent form has been very good for most but standing out are Zarkandar, Hurricane Fly and Zaidpour.

The image above has the card sorted by our Contender strength and Zarkandar is the standout with a strength of 3 but we must also note that we have been unable to calculate a strength for Celestial Halo, Overturn and Zaidpour which means we need to give extra consideration to those runners.

If we sort the race card by RL, which is a prediction of speed, then we can see that Oscars Well stands out. However the WR figure, with the arrow pointing to him, indicates that he has not won a race for 294 days which is a concern. With the strength of the other runners this makes me remove him from contention.

The W% and the WR refer to the winning strike rate of the horse and the length of time since the horse last won a race. I have drawn arrows to all the best runners. Specific attention should be drawn to Zarkandar once again who has achieved a 100% win rate and Hurricane Fly with a 92% and both having won recently. The slightly slower speed is not necessarily a hindrance in these longer races. I will also remove Overturn from the contenders as there are other runners which have better figures.

Next I will focus on the trainers who specialise in this course, distance and race type. There are three…

Once again Zarkandar is highlighted alongside Rock On Ruby and Celestial Halo. Looking at the RA Speed Graphs we can safely remove Celestial Halo as a contender.

As you can see the speed graph indicates a decline in recent performances and we do not want to be betting on a runner in decline!

That leaves us with three serious contenders in Rock On Ruby, Hurricane Fly and Zarkander. I am now going to use the Big Race Trends to cross check the selections.

Using these trends we can see that Hurricane Fly and Binocular are the two to focus on but their is a trend which knocks Binocular out of contention.

Selection: I am not a fan of betting at odds-on in these big festival races and so that would probably prevent me from betting on Hurricane Fly even though he looks solid. I feel that Zarkander and Rock On Ruby should both perform well and therefore I will be looking to get on them with either each-way or 20/80 bets.

Let me know who you think is going to win by leaving a comment below.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. Very sound reasoning
    I have made my bet a ‘dutch’ of
    Rock on Ruby
    Even though we expect Hurricane Fly to win, there is no value there – or FUN!!!!

  2. forget the fly because of the odds i do think it will win but for value i am going for ZARKANDER

  3. i htink you are right in your analasys, hurricane fly to win ,zarkander and rock on ruby to place.i will back rock on ruby to place.bob

  4. Hi,
    Interesting information. My pick is zarkander E/W I like his form lightly raced nicholls first string and probably trained for this by the genius nicholls. We can only see 111111 in his form also.
    Though I agree with you H Fly will be very hard to beat

  5. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the indepth analysis.

    There are many analysis out there but I have
    yours as the most logical and far reaching.

    I’m pleased to say, before reading your thoughts,
    I have backed Zarcander and R on R as EW bets.

    Best of luck for the week.

    ps I have a long standing Anti Post Multiple with

    Zarkander, Big Bucks, Sizing Europe & Burton Port,

    fingers crossed.


    1. A 20/80 bet is where you split your stake and put 20% on the win and 80% on the place portion of your bet. To do this you will need to bet at either Betfair or a bookmaker that offers place only odds such as WillHill.

  6. i think we shoud all see through it binocular must be the one for me especially with ap on board

  7. With 10 minutes to go it seems that the most popular selections are Hurricane Fly, Rock On Ruby and Zarkander, with the next most popular being Binocular. Looking forward to seeing how the race pans out. 🙂

  8. Have been out most of the day, so only just had a chance to look at this. Well, I went against you and went with “Fly”, so my own fault that I got it wrong! (Mind you, I obviously wasn’t alone in that, but it just goes to show how much I’ve got to learn and I’m more than grateful for the advice I’m getting from you). I’ve been betting on and off over several years and only recently started taking my betting seriously and for a beginner, I’m doing OK thanks to help similar to yours. Thank you. Regards. Sheila

  9. hi first time have look at this yes watch the race was really good well done for giving the winner hope there,s many more too come

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