Kim Muir Challenge Cup Betting

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Following World War II, one of the first new races established as part of the annual Cheltenham Festival was the Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Steeplechase. Introduced by Mrs. Evan Williams, it was named to honour the memory of her brother, Kim Muir, who lost his life in the war as a cavalry officer.

In 1991, the name of the event was revised to include that of Fulke Thomas Tyndall Walwyn (1910~1991), a highly successful trainer who posted 211 wins at Cheltenham, including a record 40 Festival victories. Ever since then, this race has been known officially as the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase, a Class B National Hunt event that covers three miles and half a furlong with nineteen fences along the way.

Today, the Kim Muir Challenge Cup is open to horses aged five years old and upwards, and it takes place on the left-handed turf of Cheltenham’s New Course. Remaining true to its original concept, only amateur jockeys are allowed to ride. It also has no commercial sponsor.

In previous years, this has been run as the sixth and final race on Day Three of the Festival each March. However, in 2011, a special St. Patrick’s Day Derby was added to the schedule, making Thursday a seven-event day and putting the Kim Muir Challenge Cup in the penultimate position. The total prize fund was also reduced slightly, from £55,000 in 2010 to £50,000 for the latest renewal.

Over the years, only two horses have managed a brace of wins here. Chu-The won back-to-back in 1967 and 1968, and Glyde Court did it in 1985 and 1986. In similar stead, seven amateur jockeys have claimed a pair of victories, starting with Mr. Peter Chisman on Mighty Fine in 1951 and Menzies in 1952 and leading to Mr. Richard Harding on You’re Special in 2006 and Ballabriggs in 2010. The other five were Giles Pitman, John Lawrence, Ted Walsh, Jim Wilson, and Richard Burton.

Because only amateur riders are permitted, the jockey’s form and ability can impact the outcome just as much as that of the horse. This makes the Kim Muir Challenge Cup particularly difficult to forecast, as evidenced by just three winning favourites since 1994 and the presence of ten double-figure price winners in the past 14 years, which includes six of the last seven runnings.

Cloudy Rains was the most recent favourite to succeed here, paying 15/2 in 2007. Before than Nicky Henderson’s The Bushkeeper was the last to prevail at lowest odds, fetching 9/2 in 2002. The biggest payday in recent years came courtesy of Michael Pipe’s Maximise, worth 40/1 in 2002, while Royal Predica and You’re Special both paid 33/1 in 2003 and 2006, respectively.

Looking for other trends, form may not be the best indicator for this race. Six of the most recent eight winners were unplaced in their previous outing. On the other hand, age may of a little assistance. Among the past 31 winners, just two were aged seven or younger, while 13 of the last 17 were either eight or nine, including the three most recent victors, all nine-year-olds.

In 2010, Ballabriggs gave the crowd a thrill, holding on to win by ¾ of a length as Faasel was quickly narrowing the gap near the finish line. Out of 24 starters, only ten managed to finish, giving some indication of what a chaotic and exciting finale it can be. The victory won trainer Donald McClain and his camp £33,011 while paying the right bettors 9/1.

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