Thursday, June 15

History Books indicate a 2018 Cheltenham Feature winner could well be a defending champ

Question:  What do Don Cossack, Sprinter Sacre, Annie Power and Thistlecrack all have in common?  Anyone with more than a passing interest in horse racing will know this quartet were all successful at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

However, fewer would realise that none of these horses, collectively winners of the Gold Cup, Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle and Stayers Hurdle returned to the Cheltenham Festival the following year to defend their crown.

Therefore each of these four trophies had a new name etched on it on 2017.  This is, in fact, a rarity as repeat winners of these races is more of a rule as opposed to a guide.  Indeed, it is doubtful any Cheltenham free bets you may have accumulated could be better invested than on a previous showcase race winner.

The World Hurdle is the most fruitful race for back-to-back winners with Baracouda, winning the race twice (2002 & 2003) Inglis Drever claimed it three times while Big Bucks was a four-time winner (2009-2012).

During the past 20 years Istabraq, Hardy Eustace and Hurricane Fly have all claimed the Champion Hurdle more than once.  The 80’s and 90’s were a golden period for defending champions in the Queen Mother Champion Chase albeit only Master Minded has defended his crown this century.  In the same period Best Mate won the Gold Cup three times and Kauto Star twice.

And so, the names you need to know for the 2018 Cheltenham Festival are - Buveur D’Air, Nichols Canyon, Sizing John and Special Tiara.  Any no deposit free bets you have, give some considerable consideration to placing them on one of these defending Cheltenham champions.

Of primary interest must be Buveur D’Air as he will still only be aged 7 at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival which means he may be even better than he was 12 months beforehand.  

Likewise Sizing John was only aged 7 when landing the 2017 Gold Cup and it is widely held belief that chasers peak at 8 or 9 years of age.
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