Cheltenham 2019

    The Only Trends You'll Need.


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    2019 Review

    There are only two Gstat rules.

    1. The beauty of each stat lies solely in the eye of the beholder.

    2. All Cheltenham Stats die. It is just a matter of when.


    What Worked


    Tues - Handicappers don't win Supremes. The Betfair Hurdle has usually a first prize of at least £30k more than the G1 so perhaps that had been the main aim for Al Dancer? G1 winning novice hurdle form is usually handy. No five winning Arkle favs in a row. Momentum kicks in early for W Mullins with Duc de. Should have been three in the first day with Benie but word was that Ruby 'all over' Prestbury Cup to finish a draw. More of that later. Willie has difficulty in handicap chases. 2018 Close Bros hero Mister Whitaker made fav for Ultima yet fails to win another Festival Race shock. Maiden over fences gets placed in Close Brothers. A Plus Tard immediately identified as 'new Arkle' and gets a 20lb hike from the handicapper. Now 160. A fine ride from Rachel but beat what, again? That's the Betvictor Chase out of the picture. You don't win a 4 miler with only two previous chase runs and being trained by N Henderson. No jockey has won that three times since 1946 but Jamie Codd continues to be worth half a stone in an amateur finish.


    Wed - Challow winners. Do they not know? Seven yr old wins RSA. Favourite never sighted in Coral Cup (give it up, Bryan, I know William Henry was the 2018 jtfav but it doesn't count). Altior knows about momentum and winning races. Favourite due to win cross country, well touted and tweeted from here. Enda still has difficulty on the day. Kevin Blake will tell lies about the merits of Joseph's four year old hurdlers. Willie yet to win the bumper with a four year old. Amateurs remain well able to ride the winner.


    Thurs - Winners of JLTs have run at previous Festivals. Barry, now on the board, does a semi Wichita Lineman on Sire De Berlais. Winners of qualifiers don't win the Pertemps Final. That Leopardstown Qualifier at Christmas tends to be worth watching. I love Frodon and Bryony (then perhaps you should have had the balls to tip them, you clown). G1 three mile winning form this season useful when trying to win a Stayers. There wasn't that much to chose from. You need to know when to back Aidan Coleman at the Festival. (STD, Darryl In Green, Alan King?) No headgear wearer or BF last time takes Mildmay. Willie knows a thing or two about that Mares Novice Hurdle. The Doc is a great jockey and was due a win in the Kim Muir. Jack Kennedy has his own little piece of momentum today, placed on all three of his rides at fair prices. But the real momentum story were the jockeys who just happened to be female. Frodon, Paisley Park and Siruh Du Lac had all won on Trials Day.


    Fri - A tragic start to the day but NH knows how to train a horse for the Triumph. The Skeltons seem to have the County in their pocket but not with course winners. Minella Indo stretches me but he was 1st or 2nd last time in graded class and is not French bred. W Mullins also knows a thing or two about training GC horses, Al Boum's only small negative was the 2m 5f previous run at Tramore. Well played. (Paul Townend's momentum stat, 'ride one winner, immediately rides another', actually worked but his next ride was Roll Again in a Down Royal maiden hurdle the next day). No horse wins the Foxhunters three times. Returns to a decent point to pointer being successful. Croco Bay, ah now, Croco Bay. Friends on course contacted me to say they backed Croco 'on my stats'. Sorry, but beyond me. In the Martin Pipe, Irish trained first four home, Early Doors a second season hurdler.



    What Didn't Work


    Tues - Big things were made of the last 10 Supreme winners all running either 4 or 5 times over hurdles. Trumped by the Willie Mullins 'doesn't give a monkeys about stats' stat. Klassical, two hurdle runs in Ire, five in France. None of the last six Ultima winners had been older than eight. First four home this year all aged nine. The big beast to go this day was a 5 yr old wins Champion Hurdle. I was at Naas the day Espoir won and even now wouldn't have backed him. Segal knew antepost. The big three didn't/weren't able to show their best and Mark Walsh picked up the pieces. Good luck to him. 63 BFs last time ran at the 2019 Festival. One winner, A Plus Tard, possibly the only one to start fav this time. Le Breuil had yet to be 1st and 2nd in a chase over at least 3 miles.


    Wed - City Island had no graded form and was a biggish price for the Ballymore. Segal knew. Antepost 33s. Topofthegame seems to have had most bases covered. Gary and Segal knew. Coral Cup won by a Course winner, the first h'cap hurdle to fall to one since Whisper in 2014. In fact, the first three home were all previous Course winners! Well torpedoed. Altior and Tiger Roll nice on the stats. Torpillo was the only hood wearer in the Fred Winter. Received a pointless scalded cat ride from Darryl In Green. Band Of Outlaws 5lbs higher rating than any previous winner but with hindsight probably may have won the Triumph. Envoi Allen has done well to win 4 bumpers ending in a G1. Doesn't happen that often.


    Thurs - Irish trained didn't count in the JLT. Irish winner in the Pertemps wasn't a novice. Frodon hadn't previously won a G1 but who cared. Paisley Park had one too many runs since Punchestown but the opposition here wasn't that hot. And what an hour. Siruh Du Lac smashed the previous New course winners don't win the Mildmay stat. Seven £2 pound Exchange win bets on all Willie's runners was the obvious way to go in the Mares' Novice Hurdle. And Derek O'Connor had only had won one Festival race since 2011. Obviously gone at the game. Rule No 1.


    Fri - We will not dwell on the Triumph. Segal and Kealy in the RP all over Ch'tibello which drifted from 8s to 12s. Rated too high, not Irish, not second season hurdler, 19 hurdle runs, eight years old. The week's stats crusher. Minella Indo hadn't run enough over hurdles but no one told Rachel as she caught Ruby on the hop coming around the corner? Al Boum Photo covered all stats apart from that Tramore prep. See the W Mullins 'doesn't give a monkeys..' Hazel Hill was eleven yrs old but not a course winner. Croco Bay, well, too old to start with, and Early Doors wasn't running in his first handicap but shares a name with one of my all time favourite TV comedy series.


    I made a few quid, mainly on Tuesday and with Paisley Park antepost. Gave far too much back on the Friday including a daft idea to try and make a book on the much vaunted Prestbury Cup without covering the draw. Not the Ryder Cup, Bryan. Unlikely to end 14.5 - 13.5. As usual and overall, it was great fun.


    My spring flower will now die back, if spared, to return in 2020. (yes, Matthew Harris, JustGiving Page, I intend to keep going 'til I stop!) Its been a busy one. I do hope that you made money in Festival week and that Gstats in some small way contributed to your successful decision making processes.


    Time to leave the parallel universe for another year.


    As ever, a labour of love,






    Day 1 - Klassical Dream, Duc De Genievres with Us And Them, Beware The Bear. A fair day.

    Day 2 - Returns from Topofthegame, Tiger Roll and Ceil De Neige.

    Day 3 - Returns (hopefully) from Theclockisticking, Paisley Park, Eamon An Cnoic, Black Tears

    Day 4 - Couple of minor places but no real luck, my apologies. Three friends on course contacted me to say that from my stats they had picked out Croco Bay in the Grand Annual. In awe.



    Tom Segal's 2019 Ante Post Glories - Espoir DAllen 25/1, City Island 33s, Topofthegame 8/1, Aso ew 33s Ryanair. Praise where praise is due.



    'Gault is the Statsman...a near obsession...packed with more nuggets than a KFC warehouse in a chicken glut.' Racing Post




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    Previous collections have been for Guide Dogs, North Down Samaritans, Cancer Research and the Jonjo Bright Trust amongst others. If you have given before, I thank you. Please give again. A fiver is fine. No monies go to me. Sterling or euro accepted.


    The Cheltenham Festival

    'To ride a winner around here is priceless', said Patrick Mullins after winning the 4 miler last year on Rathvinden. 'There's no place like this on earth' says Ruby Walsh, frequently. 'I'm going to go and get extremely drunk.' Michael O'Leary after finally winning the Ryanair last year. This is where all National Hunt owners, trainers and jockeys dream about winning. Being involved with a winner ensures an entry in the National Hunt Role of Honour even if the race concerned may 'only' be the quirky Cross Country Chase. Two full weeks after Missed Approach won 'only' the amateur riders Kim Muir Chase, Nick Luck was interviewing his trainer Warren Greatrex on RUK. First question, 'Well, have you come down yet?' I know first prize for the Kim Muir was £42k but there are big pots to be won everywhere. This one was special. Nigel Twiston-Davies, 23rd Feb 2018, 'We've won nearly £1.4m this season and that's great, but you're judged on your Cheltenham wins.' The higher the grade of horse, the more likely they will repeat or improve on their last run. No higher grade than here. And since all are doing their damnest to win, trends can emerge of those most likely (or not) to succeed.

    How to use Gault Stats

    'If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us.' Samuel Taylor Coleridge


    I first attended this fantastic event in 1985 and have been collecting stuff about it ever since. Went in March 2017 for the first time in a while and really do recommend sitting outside the See You Then Bar in the sun with an early pint. I love it. The links on the top line here will take you to directly to each race. On each race page there will be Headline stats for that race. The next few lines will summarise a possible Profile of the winner. That profile will concentrate on trends that are correct to 90%+ over the last few Festivals. The rest of each race page will comprise the evidence to back up the profile. I may suggest something that is overdue to happen or an 'overripe stat' that might be due to fall. For example, if the favourite hasn't won the race in years or in the case of the 2019 Arkle, the favourite has won the last four in a row. After doing this for over 30 years, I find myself left with only two rules about Cheltenham Stats. 'The beauty of each stat is in the eye of beholder' and 'All Cheltenham Stats die. It is only a matter of when.' The former means that you decide what's relevant. Paul Jones in his excellent book on betting, From Soba To Moldova, is right to get defensive about stats stating that 'trends is just another word for facts and data and we don't dismiss those.' If it has happened ten Festivals in a row, you might decide that its not going to happen this time. Fine. There is no rule book. Its your money. Cheltenham Stats die most years, one of the big beasts was scuppered by Delta Work in 2018. A five year old French Bred wins the Pertemps Final. First French Bred since '94, first five year old since Pragada in '88. Would nearly drive you to drink.


    Horses identified in italics are being aimed to contest the race about which you are reading. As the countdown continues effort will be made to update races with confirmed runners and how they might fit in.

    The General Trends page covers lots of information and musings that doesn't really refer to any specific race. This includes jockeys, trainers, how W Mullins is no respecter of Cheltenham stats, stats on Pricewise, preview nights, course winners, Fate of the Favourites et al. Click on the link and share Alasdair's concern as to how I spend my time. Well, maybe. There is a quiz and a page about my visits to meetings at all 85 UK and Irish racecourses (plus Folkestone, no longer with us). This Everest task was completed on the 12th July 2018 at the Newmarket July Course. Lovely spot with great flowering. Even made it onto ITV Racing that day with a short interview with Oli Bell. Yes, I've been to Tramore, Pontefract, Ballinrobe, Hamilton, Chelmsford, Hexham and Plumpton. Great places with nice people. I do like the smaller courses. Sorry, but I'm little behind with my schedule on the course write ups.


    On each day of the Festival I will post selections for each race at the top of this home page. For the benefit of my friend Gary, these selections remain my view of those with the best chances / value as identified by my interpretation of GaultStats (He staunchly believes that there are rules about this and that 'As a statsman, you can't say that.') Please feel free to come to your own conclusions.


    As ever, a labour of love




    (Feedback positive or constructive welcomed at twitter @gaultstats or email bgault01@gmail.com. Reasonable theories will be researched. As I am old fashioned, I don't count Punchestown as being 'this season'. Reliably informed the site works fastest on Google Chrome).


    A big thank you to Ashleigh Watson at ash@coppersquareni.com for her work, without which, this wouldn't be here.

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Wealth Warning.  Any decisions made (or not) or the basis of any information in this site are the sole responsibility of the reader.  There is no obligation on me to follow my own advice.  I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors.  (Bgault01@gmail.com, @gaultstats). Previous years ‘stats on stats’ would suggest we may identify a decent priced winner from manageable groups every three or four races.  I tend to improve as a tipster as the week goes on, possibly too worried on the Tuesday.  It is believed that Savello (2014 Grand Annual) took from Golden Chieftain (2013 3m hcap chase) the record for breaking the most stats in a race.  Stands now at 8.  Cole Harden equalised with 8 in the 2015 World Hurdle.  Remember, after you have cursed/laughed at me and given up totally on trends, they will come back to bite.  Always happens.  Usually on Gold Cup Day. Oh yes, and if you're called Rory Delargy, you can't win the quiz too often.

Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol.  A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.