The QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle takes place at Ayr on Saturday, 12th April, on the supporting card of the Scottish Grand National. Unlike its Cheltenham equivalent, the Scottish Champion Hurdle is a grade 2 handicap, which means less classy hurdlers are given a chance to taste glory in the race, and higher rated horses have found it tough to concede weight in this in the past 10 years.
Below we take a look at the trends for the past 10 years:
horses aged 4 to 6: 7-13-57
horses aged 7 or older: 3-8-52
Both 9yo winners had previously won a handicap hurdle worth 50K+ and had made the places in a graded handicap hurdle in one of last two starts.
horses carrying 10-10 or more: 2-9-46
horses carrying 10-9 or less: 8-11-63
horses carrying lower weights are strongly favoured. There has only been one winner who carried more than 10-11 and that was in 2012 when 8 of 10 runners carried 10-12+. Both winners to carry 10-10+ had won a big field listed handicap hurdle earlier in the season.
Top Weight: UF897946F334 (0-2-12) has a poor record in this, gaining just 2 places from 12 runners.
Official Ratings (based on horses’ actual ratings not on what they ran off)
horses rated 145 or higher: 0-4-27
horses rated 134 to 144: 9-15-64
horses rated 133 or lower: 1-2-18
horses officially rated 134 to 144 have won 9 of the last 10 renewals from approximately 58.7% of total runners.
The only year a horse rated below 134 to win it was Overturn, in 2010, off a mark of 130. He was having only his 7th run over hurdles and was clearly very well in on the day, especially considering he placed in the race the following year off 30lbs higher.
10 of 10 winners had run 3 to 6 times since August 1st
8 of 10 winners had run in the past 40 days
10 of 10 winners posted an RPR of 131+ in 1 or both of last 2 starts (8 did so last time)
10 of 10 winners had finished in first 3 on 1 or both of last 2 starts (5 won last time)
9 of 10 winners (last 9) were 1st, 2nd or 3rd season hurdlers
4 of 10 winners had run in a novice hurdle that season
9 of 10 winners had 4 to 14 previous hurdles starts
9 of 10 winners (last 9) had run in 9 or fewer handicap hurdles
10 of 10 winners had won no more than 3 handicap hurdles
6 of 6 winners that ran on flat were rated 80+ on the level
3 of 4 winners that made debut under NH rules had won a bumper (other made debut in a listed novice hurdle in France)
Defending Scottish Champion Hurdler (Court Minstrel): 43 (0-1-2)
Highest place finisher from previous Scottish Champion Hurdle: U468735 (0-1-7)
Previous season's Fred Winter H'cap Hurdle winner (Flaxen Flare): 1P (1-0-2)
Previous season's Top Novices' Hurdle winner (My Tent Or Yours): F2 (0-1-2)
Fighting Fifth winner (My Tent Or Yours): 49 (0-0-2)
Scottish County Hurdle winner (Clever Cookie): F46 (0-0-3)
3 of 10 winners ran in the County Hurdle, finishing 320
2 of 10 winners ran in the Betfair Hurdle, finishing 03
2 of 10 winners ran in the Swinton Hurdle, finishing 40
2 of 10 winners ran in the Ladbrokes Hurdle, finishing 01
2 of 10 winners ran in Alderley Hey Children's Charity Club H'cap Hurdle last time, finishing 01
Previous season’s Anniversary Hurdle
The grade 1 4yo hurdle at the previous season’s Aintree Festival has proved an amazingly good guide to this race. Since 2004 8 of 9 horses that ran in the previous season’s Anniversary Hurdle made the places in this race the following season, Flaxen Flare (4th in the 2013 renewal) is entered for this.
Highest placed finisher from previous season's Anniversary Hurdle: 3233124 (1-5-7)
Record horses that ran in previous season's Anniversary Hurdle: 332133124 (2-6-9)
2 of 2 winners aged 5 ran in previous season's Anniversary Hurdle, finishing 93
Donald McCain (1-1-5), Evan Williams (1-0-2) & Alan King (1-0-6) have all trained the winner in past 4 years.
James Lambe (0-1-1) saddled Silk Hall finish 3rd in 2013, entered again.
Nicky Henderson (0-1-10) has gained just 1 place from his 10 runners (6 were sent off shorter than 7/1).
9 of 10 winners were sent off shorter than 9/1
No very strong trends on prices for this race, the one big shock was Border Castle at 40/1 in 2008.
Favourites (3-5-12) have fared well enough, gaining 3 wins & 5 places, showing a level stakes profit of 1.25.
Based on the trends from the past 10 years you are looking for a horse:
- Aged 6 or a 5yo that ran in the 2013 Anniversary Hurdle
- Carrying 10-11 or less
- Officially rated 134 to 144
- Run 3 to 6 times since 1st August 2013
- Ran in past 40 days
- Posted an RPR of 135+ in one or both of last 2 starts
- Finished in first 3 in one or both of last 2 starts
- 1st, 2nd or 3rd season hurdler (novice hurdlers have done well)
- Run in 9 or fewer handicap hurdles (winning no more than 3)
- Officially rated 80+ on the flat (or won a bumper)
- Finished in first 4 in County and/or Swinton Hurdle
- Ran in this season’s Racing Post and/or Betfair H’cap Hurdle
- Finished in first 3 in a h’cap hurdle at Aintree Festival last time.