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Unluck of the Irish: Brits fare better on St. Patrick’s Thursday


The biggest horse racing festival of the year is upon us. Every year, the Cheltenham Festival is dominated by horses trained by two nations: UK and Ireland. With the festival coinciding with St. Patrick’s Day, it would be hoped that the Irish horses were bringing some luck from home. However, it seems that the luck does not travel, as the British horses are stronger on St. Patrick’s Thursday.

Unluck of the Irish St Patricks Thursday
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Strong start for the Irish

For the first two days of the Cheltenham Festival, the Irish have a strong start winning 56% and 52% of the races of Day 1 and 2 respectively. In fact, only Irish trained horses have won Ladies Day’s JLT Novices’ Chase since its inaugural run in 2014.

St. Patrick’s Thursday Favours the British

Although most of the days of the Cheltenham Festival sees a close race between the Irish and British, St. Patrick’s Thursday has a clear winner. Since 2006, the British trained horses have won 2/3 of the races on the third day of the festival.

Additionally, their two most successful races land on St. Patrick’s Thursday—the Festival Plate Handicap Chase and the World Hurdle. Here, the British have won 91% and 82% of the respective races over the past 11 festivals.

Will the real St. Patrick’s Day yield Irish gold?

Although Cheltenham hosts St. Patrick’s Day on the third day of the festival, the true St. Patricks Day (March 17) actually falls on the fourth and final day of this year’s festival: Gold Cup Day.

Gold Cup Day hosts the penultimate prize of the entire 4-day extravaganza, the aptly named “Gold Cup Chase”. Perhaps the true St. Patrick’s Day will rain luck on the Irish after all. Although the British have won more Gold Cups than the Irish over the past 11 years, maybe this year we will see an Irish horse be the first to reach the pot of gold at the finish line.

Cheltenham Luck of the Irish

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More Facts from bettingexpert

Do you like reading articles about your favourite sports based on stats and facts? Check out more facts from bettingexpert. This week we are Cheltenham crazy, with stories about why you should be cautious of the odds favourites, and how the odds have changed for the front running horses.