When we go racing, or watch it on TV, we all have our own unique strategy for finding winners.
From the scientific study of form to the soft spot for a horse’s name or a jockey’s colours.
But at the Cheltenham Festival, the task becomes so much more difficult, thanks to large fields, littered with high-quality runners all aiming to peak at the same time.
We may all look at the formbook, listen to the preview nights and follow the advice of tipsters. But how about sourcing a few different angles that few others will pick up on?
To help you out at next week’s four-day extravaganza, here are some weird and wonderful facts and statistics for each of the 28 races.
DAY ONE (Tuesday)
1.30 (2m Supreme Novices’ Hurdle)
Fifteen of the last 17 winners were NOT unbeaten over hurdles.
2.10 (2m Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase)
Fifty-two of the last 54 winners had run during this calendar year.
2.50 (3m1f Ultima Handicap Chase)
Thirty-four of the last 36 winners had a maximum official handicap rating of 149.
3.30 (2m Unibet Champion Hurdle)
Twelve of the last 13 winners had run a maximum of 12 times over hurdles.
4.10 (2m4f Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle)
Not one of the 78 British-bred runners have ever won the race.
4.50 (2m4f Northern Trust Novices’ Handicap Chase)
All 15 winners of the race had run during the calendar year.
5.30 (3m6f National Hunt Novices’ Chase)
Nine of the last ten winners of the race had run in a Graded chase.
DAY TWO (Wednesday)
1.30 (2m5f Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle)
All of the last ten winners of the race had won at least one Bumper earlier in their careers.
2.10 (3m RSA Novices’ Chase)
Only four six-year-olds have won the race since 1978.
2.50 (2m5f Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle)
Seventeen of the last 19 winners of the race had previously won a maximum of one handicap.
3.30 (2m Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase)
Twelve of the last 13 winners of the race had run inside the last 53 days.
4.10 (3m6f Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase)
Of the winners of the race, all bar one had run at least three times that season.
4.50 (2m Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle)
No winners of the race started their careers in National Hunt races in the UK or Ireland.
5.30 (2m Weatherbys Champion Bumper)
Twenty-three of the last 27 favourites for the race have been beaten.
DAY THREE (Thursday)
1.30 (2m4f Marsh Novices’ Chase)
All nine winners of the race had run over hurdles at a previous Cheltenham Festival.
2.10 (3m Pertemps Handicap Hurdle)
Twelve of the last 13 winners of the race had run within the previous 61 days.
2.50 (2m5f Ryanair Novices’ Chase)
Thirteen of the last 15 winners, and nine of the last 15 runners-up, had won at Cheltenham before.
3.30 (3m Stayers’ Hurdle)
All 68 horses to have run in headgear (blinkers, hood or cheekpieces) since 1992 have been beaten.
4.10 (2m5f Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase)
Twenty of the last 21 winners of the race had run over fences between three and 16 times.
4.50 (2m1f Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle)
Williie Mullins has trained every winner of the race in its short four-year history.
5.30 (3m2f Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase)
The last nine winners of the race ran from a handicap mark the same as or lower than that with which they started the season.
DAY FOUR (Friday)
1.30 (2m1f) JCB Triumph Juvenile Hurdle)
The last 20 winners of the race all ran within the previous 20 to 55 days.
2.10 (2m1f Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle)
Nine of the last ten winners of the race had an official rating of between 134 and 139.
2.50 (3m Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle)
All of the last 15 winners of the race had run in a Graded hurdle that season.
3.30 (3m2f Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase)
Sixteen of the last 19 winners of the race came from the top three in the betting market.
4.10 (3m2f St James’s Place Foxhunters’ Chase)
Twenty-four of the last 29 winners of the race were aged ten or younger.
4.50 (2m Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase)
In the last 15 years, 110 horses who had won a handicap chase earlier in the season have failed to win this race.
5.30 (2m5f Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle)
Only one of 98 horses, aged seven or older, has ever won this race.