Cheltenham Festival: What can the races of the past tell us about the future?

The UK’s Cheltenham Festival is a real highlight of the global horse racing calendar and one that race fans all over the world love to follow. Set to take place from Tuesday 12th March to Friday 15th March at Cheltenham Racecourse, it brings together all the best jockeys, trainers, and horses in the sport to marvel at.

As you would expect for any top horse racing event, betting on the outcome of races is something lots of people love to do at Cheltenham each year. A major part of this is researching any wagers before placing them, in order to make a more informed decision about who might win.

Looking back at past races is a good approach for Cheltenham Festival betting with this in mind, as it allows punters to use insights gleaned when betting on future contests. But what are the main things which past races from Cheltenham can tell us about future ones coming up? 

Certain jockeys like the Cheltenham Festival

Just as finding a trusted guide for buying and selling ponies is key for anyone involved in this activity, looking at what past races at Cheltenham can tell us about future ones is key for any racing fan. One thing it seems to makes obvious is how some jockeys seem to love racing at his event each year. 

For the festival at Cheltenham in 2024, it is therefore interesting to look back at which jockeys have done well previously at the event and may well excel in future. Paul Townend for example has been crowned top jockey twice and has notched up an impressive 28 wins to date (including three Gold Cup victories). Rachel Blackmore is another name which stands out and she rode a massive six winners in 2021 to become top jockey at the festival. 

Exciting finishes may be expected due to course design

The steep uphill finish at Cheltenham Racecourse is a well-known feature and something which can often play a huge part in how races at the festival finish. This becomes clear when you take a look back at past festival races and note how many horses seem to tire as they head up the home straight. This can in turn lead to close finishes, as the chasing pack can quickly gain ground on the leading horse who might be running out of steam. 

All of this can deliver thrilling finishes in top races like the Champions Hurdle and give horses who have decent stamina or have been held back a little in the race a great chance of coming through. With this in mind, the close finishes seen at many Cheltenham Festival races in the past may well signal more to come in future contests. 

Previous winners on specific races 

It is not uncommon across racing to see horses do well in specific races each year at events like Cheltenham. This can often see horses who have won a race like the Gold Cup one year return to win it again the next. Although this might seem hard to understand at first, it gets a little easier to grasp when you think that the horse in question may like the course at Cheltenham best, have their favourite jockey onboard at the festival each year or come alive when racing in the spring. 

Previous races therefore can be a guide as to which horses like a particular race at the festival and may do well contesting it in the future. Al Boum Photo’s Gold Cup wins in 2019 and 2020 are a good example of this.

Successful trainers from previous years key

We have already mentioned how looking at past Cheltenham Festival races can be useful for future ones in terms of jockeys who tend to excel. In the same way, past races can also tell us which trainers tend to do well and this is something to take into future contests at Cheltenham. 

Willie Mullins for example is known to like this festival and has many winners to his name previously. Nicky Henderson is another name which stands out as someone who seems to have a real affinity with Cheltenham. By focusing on the trainers who have a track record of doing well in past festivals, you can look out for them in future races and get a head start in predicting how races will finish. 

Cheltenham Festival 2024: Past races could help analyse future ones 

Whether you like to bet on the Cheltenham Festival each year or just like to analyse races for fun, looking at previous contests can be useful when predicting how future ones might pan out. The above shows how this plays out in reality and can be useful to consider when using past races at the festival to predict future ones.