Champion Bumper Betting Tips, Stats & History

We have something a little different for the Day 2 finale with not a hurdle or fence in sight in the concluding bumper. The Champion Bumper is a National Hunt flat race which was first run in 1992, and is the final race run at The Festival run over the Old Course. Winners of this that have gone on to have stellar careers over obstacles include Cue Card and Florida Pearl.

Race Info

2m½f is the trip for the only flat race of the Cheltenham Festival as the youngsters do battle in the Champion Bumper. The ground is expected to be soft on the day for this Grade 1 affair, with £75,000 in total prize money up for grabs.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 2m½f Grade 1 £75,000 14 Runners 1/4 1-3

Champion Bumper Betting Tips

Cheltenham, 17:30, Wednesday 13th March 2019

With six of the past 10 winners returning at double figure odds – including 25/1 shot Relegate last year – this isn’t the easiest race to predict at times. Will we be in for another shock in 2019?

The trends all point towards the market leader here and we wouldn’t put anyone off. This race hasn’t been averse to a shock result though and we just prefer one at an each way price this year.

Eight of the past 10 winners here have been geldings. That trend has altered most recently though with the past two editions having been claimed by a mare. The only four year old to come home in front in the past decade was Cue Card in 2010. The Irish just hold the edge over the past decade, with six wins to four for Britain.

Normally something of a cavalry charge, this year’s edition of the race sees the smallest ever field go post. We do still have 14 in the line-up though so there’s plenty of room for an each way punt.

Mullins To Leave Rivals Feeling Blue?

The Willie Mullins runner Blue Sari heads the betting this year and it’s not hard to see why. With nine wins in total, Mullins is fully seven clear of his nearest rival in the top trainer standings for this race. The last time Mullins entered just the one – as he does this year – that one runner was all he needed with Missed That coming home in front in 2005.

It is unusual for him to enter one so young as the four year old Blue Sari, but given how well this one performed on his debut, this was the obvious place to come. Having put 11 lengths between himself and the field in that effort at Gowran Park last time out he started his career in spectacular style and will be well fancied to carry on in that vain here.

Sempo To Set The Tempo?

One of the more interesting contenders amongst those at bigger prices is the Joseph O’Brien-trained Sempo. This five year old son of Oscar showed definite signs of promise on his first two starts but appeared to take a huge leap forward last time out at Thurles. Travelling supremely well throughout he simply pulled further and further clear to score by 15 lengths at the line. That performance was all the more impressive as jockey Derek O’Connor barely moved a muscle throughout. Clearly improving at a rate of knots, he can’t be ruled out.

Envoi For Elliott

The one they all have to beat on ratings is the Cheveley Park Stud-owned runner, Envoi Allen. Gordon Elliott’s charge has done all that has been asked of him in his career to date and arrives here unbeaten in three bumpers. Taking the step up to Grade 2 company in his stride when scoring last time out at Leopardstown, he possesses an admirable attitude – and no little ability – and looks the type to go close for owners who have already been amongst the winners this week.

Final Verdict: Sempo Each Way

No doubt Blue Sari will be carrying the hopes – and cash – of many punters here, and it would be no surprise to see him win. He is far from the only impressive last time out scorer in the field though and looks a little on the short side to us.

Joseph O’Brien is the up and coming force in Irish jumps racing and looks to have a few solid chances this week. Sir Erec certainly hasn’t been missed in the Triumph Hurdle market, but we feel his representative Sempo has been a little overlooked here. He’s the bet in the race for us.

Recent Winners

2019 Envoi Allen 2/1 Gordon Elliot Jamie Codd
2018 Relegate 25/1 Willie Mullins Katie Walsh
2017 Fayonagh 7/1 Gordon Elliott Jamie Codd
2016 Ballyandy 5/1 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies
2015 Moon Racer 9/2 David Pipe Tom Scudamore
2014 Silver Concorde 16/1 Dermot Weld Robbie McNamara
2013 Briar Hill 25/1 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2012 Champagne Fever 16/1 Willie Mullins Patrick Mullins
2011 Cheltenian 14/1 Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson
2010 Cue Card 40/1 Colin Tizzard Joe Tizzard

About the Champion Bumper: The Festival Flat Race

Horse Race Running Bend

The Cheltenham Festival is often referred to as the number one jumps racing meeting in the world. That isn’t quite technically correct though. Cheltenham is a National Hunt meeting and National Hunt racing contains a number of different disciplines, not all of which involve jumping.

The Champion Bumper is one such example. This Grade 1 is the only race across the four days at Cheltenham not to include either hurdles or fences. Run over a distance of two miles and half a furlong, the Champion Bumper is open only to horses aged between four and six years of age and has been the breeding ground for many stars of the future.

NHF Used to Launch Cheltenham Success

Although the Champion Bumper is occasionally won by horses who usually compete on the flat, the majority of the competitors will go on to run over hurdles the following season. Despite being a relatively new addition to the Cheltenham Festival – it was first introduced in 1992 – the Champion Bumper has already produced winners including Cue Card and Champagne Fever who went on to have a host of Grade level successes between them over both hurdles and fences.

Chart Showing Highest Earning Cheltenham Champion Bumper Winners Between 1992 and 2019

The lack of any obstacles means that there is always a caveat when assessing the form from the Champion Bumper. That said, the winner almost always features prominently in ante post betting for the big novice hurdles at the following season’s Festival.

The most successful horses to emerge out of the Champion Hurdle have taken any number of different routes during the rest of their careers over the years and there are similarly a number of different routes towards the race that brings the second day of the Cheltenham Festival to a close.

Look To Irish NHF Races For Pointers

Ireland Flag on Grass

There are a lot of flat races in both Britain and Ireland in the first half of the National Hunt season which makes assessing the form quite difficult. The Irish trials are always a good place to start though as Irish trainers have an excellent record in the Champion Bumper.

Another reason for the dominance of Irish trainers is the calibre of Point-to-Point racing in Ireland. It’s commonplace for horses with a good performance or two in Point-to-Points before racing under rules to be towards the top of the betting market for the Champion Bumper.

On the betting, the odds with the bookmakers are not quite the helpful guide that they are for other races at Cheltenham. Favourites have only a modest record at best whereas longer odds horses challenge come the closing stages with regularity so this is a race that’s tailor made for each way betting.

It is also worth noting that it takes a certain amount of experience for a horse to win the Champion Bumper. On only three occasions have we seen four year old winners in the history of the race, one of whom was Cue Card who is arguably the highest calibre Champion Bumper winner of them all.

Chart Showing the Age of the Champion Hurdle Winner Between 1992 and 2019

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