Year||| Form||| Winner||| Age |||OR||| SP||| Trainer||| Jockey||| Runners||| Last race (No of days)
2020 |||111||| Envoi Allen||| 6||| 156 |||4/7F||| G Elliott(IRE)||| D Russell |||12||| 1st G1 Naas Lawlor's (66)
2019 |||1D11||| City Island||| 6 |||147||| 8/1||| M Brassil(IRE)||| M Walsh||| 16||| 1st 11k Naas Nov Hdle 2m 3f (32)
2018||| 111 |||Samcro||| 6||| 155||| 8/11F |||G Elliott(IRE) |||J Kennedy||| 14 |||1st G1 Leop Chanelle 2m (39)
2017||| 211||| Willoughby Court||| 6 |||147||| 14/1 |||B Pauling||| D Bass||| 15 |||1st G2 Warwick Leamington Hdle 2m 5f (60)
2016||| 111 |||Yorkhill |||6 |||156 |||3/1 |||W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh||| 11 |||1st G1 Sandown Tolworth 2m (74)
2015 |||11142 |||Windsor Park||| 6||| 146||| 9/2 |||D Weld(IRE)||| D Russell||| 10||| 2nd G1 Leop Deloitte 2m (31)
2014||| 1111 |||Faugheen |||6||| 152||| 6/4F||| W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh |||15||| 1st G3 Limerick Nov 3m (74)
2013 |||1112 |||The New One |||5 |||152||| 7/2 |||N Twiston-Davies ||| S Twiston-Davies |||8 |||2nd G2 Chelt Classic Nov (46)
2012 |||121 |||Simonsig||| 6 |||148 |||2/1F||| N Henderson |||B Geraghty||| 17||| 1st Cl2 Kelso Morebattle Hdle 2m 2f
2011||| 4131 |||First Lieutenant||| 6||| 142 |||7/1 |||M Morris(IRE)|||D Russell||| 12||| 1st G1 Leop Paddypower Nov 2m (77)
AGE - French Holly '98 only second horse aged 7 or over to win this race in its 44-year history (Brown Lad '74). Champ 9/2 2nd last year, Black Op 2nd in 2018. One other unplaced in four of the last five years. Parlour Games was 2nd in 2015. Ballyalton 2nd 2014 at 20s. Since Crystal Spirit ’91, 20 four year olds have tried. None placed and very few likely to try now. (Both French Holly and Crystal Spirit were strongly supported favourites). All bar The New One of the last 10 were six yr olds.
TRAINERS - N. Henderson One winner and three placed from 32 runners. Lots of short prices. 2012 Simonsig 2/1 fav, stopped the rot but only Champ 9/2 placed since. 2017 Burbank 4th, Consul De Thaix fatally injured. 2015 Vyta Du Roc 4th @15/2, He used to have a similarly appalling record in the Coral Cup before Spirit River 2010, Whisper 2014 and William Henry 2019. Henderson pupil Ben Pauling trained Willoughby Court to win in 2017 and Bright Forecast 3rd 2019 ridden by Nico.
Never won by P Nicholls. No representatives in the last nine, Rock On Ruby unlucky in 2011. Breedsbreeze, Silverburn and Denman under 10/1 and beaten in last 15 years. Since Regal Ambition ’90, M/D. Pipe have saddled 37 losers, of which only 3 were placed. 2014 Red Sherlock 7/2 2nd fav and 9th. No runners last ix years.
IRISH TRAINED - W Mullins has won four from last thirteen and also 5 placed in the last 15. 2020 The Big Getaway 3rd (at the time personally thought P Townend could have stretched them a bit more. Time was 30 seconds above standard) 2019 Willie had, two unplaced, 2018, ran four, best Next Destination 4/1 in 3rd. Two others finished 4th and 5th. Three unplaced 16/1 shots and Bacardys PU 4/1 in 2017. Won with Yorkhill in 2016. Nichols Canyon 3rd as 7/2 fav in 2015. Wrong type of ride admitted by both trainer and jockey. 2014 Faugheen won and Rathvinden 3rd, 2013 Pont Alexandre all the rage at 6/4, only 3rd (possibly also a strange ride in race ran 22 seconds above standard?). 2012 Felix Yonger 2nd at 16s, the outsider of his three runners, 2011. All Willie's winners won last time out and all were his most fancied in this race.
GORDON ELLIOTT and other IRISH - Envoi Allen, Gordon Elliott's big one for the week, obliged from Henry de Bromhead's fine placement of Easywork. Martin Brassil knew what he had in 2019. Fair play to him. G Elliott wins with Samcro in 2018. E. O'Grady has won this twice, 3 of his last four runners being placed, Over the Bar, Pizarro, and Catch Me. However no runners last decade and most unlikely. Windsor Park trained by DK Weld and started in bumpers. Three Irish Trained in 2011 finished 1st, 3rd, and 4th. (First Lieutenant from Oscars Well was unlucky at the last). Monksland 3rd 2012, Rule The World 2nd in front of Pont Alexandre in 2013. Simonsig won two points in Northern Ireland before moving to N Hendersons.
Irish trained 21 winners of the last 47 but probably most importantly six from the last seven. 1-2-3 from 5 runners last year, 1-4 from 9 in 2019, a 1-3-4-5 from six in 2018.
FORM - City Island broke the old stat when joining Urubande and Gallileo as the only winners in past 23 not to have competed in a Graded race before Cheltenham. Gallileo had Graded form on the flat. City Island only won an 11k to the winner novice hurdle last time. Envoi Allen won G1s Royal Bond and Lawlor's At Naas. Samcro cruised a Deloitte, Willougby Court won that good G2 novice at Warwick. Faugheen won G3 at Limerick. Windsor Park 2nd in the Deloitte. Yorkhill won a very good Tolworth. (French Holly and Monsignor last two before that to double up from Sandown).
Only two of the last 12 hadn't won a graded hurdle. 19 from the last 22 placed at least in Graded company, 15 had won. 7 of the last 11 started their career in Irish points. To mirror that 10 of the last 12 winners were top or second top on BHA Ratings.
SPRINTER OR STAYERS RACE? - Previous G1 winners over 2m are 8 from 16. G1 winners over 2m 4f plus are currently 2 from 19.
PRICE - Four favs now obliging in the last nine races. Envoi Allen, Samcro, Faugheen, and Simonsig have followed Mikael D'Haguenet '09 for favourite backers. The latter was the first since Monsignor 2000 (I remember being the only person in Prestbury Park that day not to have backed Monsignor. Only won by a furlong, I think. I did back the third home, Gentle Rivage at 50/1. But by the time Tom 'the Daisy' Jenks got Gentle over the line, I was about the only person left standing by the third pillar). 2011 So Young 2/1 fav and 3rd. '10 Rite of Passage 7/2 fav and 3rd. Against all this '07 Massini’s Maguire at 20/1 first winner over 16/1 since ’84. Nothing over 7/1 from 2007 until the race got the upset it was due in 2017 when Willoughby Court at 14s overturned the 2/1 jolly, Neon Wolf. That's only one double-figure priced winner in 14 races. Another one due?
33 from the last 35 came from the first six in the market. Hardly a shock. Massini's Maguire and Gaelstorm 16s in '93. Big prices do get placed (Bright Forecast/Itsafreebee/Ballyalton/Lanzerac/Gentle Rivage/Grey Report) but not particularly over the last few years. Due to the volume of cash for Neon Wolf, Willoughby Court ended up 5th favourite at 14s. 16 runners last year the biggest field for a while. Only 10 in 2015 and 8 in 2013.
Best trials can be Deloitte at Leopardstown mid-February (Easywork 2nd at the DRF, Samcro, Windsor Park, Danoli, Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, Oscars Well). Bacardys PU here at 4/1 in 2017, won at Leopardstown. However apart from Samcro and Windsor Park (beaten in the Deloitte) the last eight Irish trained winners before came from some other route. Envoi Allen came via Naas.
The Leamington Novice Neptune Trial in Warwick early January won by Willoughby Court was won in 2013 by The New One and previously by No Refuge. Mossy Fen 5th here in 2020 at 33s, probably NTD's best result of the week. Adrimel gave 3lb in 1st time cheekpieces. Winners this century have finished 5P1P1U124 in the Ballymore.
Also the Warwick Novice in mid-Feb (Rebel Song, Sayfar’s Lad, Thetford Forest, Putty Road and Monsignor). N/A last year.
Samcro was the first Deloitte/Channelle winner to up since Istabraq '97. Charlie Swan might have been a trifle fortunate here that day. The machine on his first Festival appearance got home by a length from Mighty Moss who was amateur owner/ridden and interestingly steered by Fred Hutsby. Oscars Well may have been unfortunate not to double up when he clouted the last in 2011. 8 others, all short enough priced, also failed, 2016 Bleu et Rouge fell in the Albert Bartlett. 2015 Nichols Canyon 3rd here. 2019 both Klassical Dream and Aramon went for the Supreme, as did that great anagram last year, Asterion Forlonge.
THE CURSE OF THE CHALLOW - (Do they not know?). All the 17 Challow Hurdle winners to try here have come up short. Last year Thyme Hill knew the stats and went to the Albert Bartlett where Richard Johnson got into a bit of a tangle. Champ 2nd in 2019. In 2018, the first three in the Newbury December bog all went to the Albert Bartlett bog where Kilbricken Storm outstayed them all. 2017 Messire Des Obeaux a valiant 3rd at 8/1. To be fair 8 of those 17 Challow winners have been placed in this. Those placed before were Parlour Games in 2015, Diamond Harry, Reve de Sivola, Denman. Al Ferof was 3rd at Newbury then won the Supreme Novices, For Non Stop 4th (fell at last when 2nd in 2011 Coral Cup). Both Gaelstrom and Massini's Maguire both well beaten in Challow before winning at the Festival. 6 of the last 7 Challow winners to run in this have been placed and there were excuses for the other, the great and much loved Taquin Du Seuil (they crawled the first 2 miles, said my pocket). Messire des Obeaux in 2016 posted the best time for a Challow for 11 years by a good 15 seconds in 4 mins 58secs. Not the usual late December Newbury bog which can take it toll on young novices. Still didn't work. In 2020 Thyme Hill outstayed The Cashel Man soft ground in 4 mins 57 secs, a very similar time. Both went to Friday's race. 2018 Newbury Champ had quickened clear from Getaway Trump in 5 mins 10 secs. Bravemansgame
'Ballymore is test of speed at the trip (winners of a 2m Gr1 hurdle are 8/16, winners of 2m4f+ Gr1 hurdle are 2/19' . Matt Tombs
ROYAL BOND - Envoi Allen first to complete double since Hardy Eustace 2002 is the last to complete this double. Only two others tried in between, both unplaced in this.
LAWLOR'S At NAAS - Envoi Allen joined Mikael d'Haguenet 2009 to be the last two to complete double. Three others in between attempted, all achieved a place at Cheltenham. Battleoverdoyen won the Lawlor’s Of Naas Hurdle in 2019, and he was sent off as favourite for the Ballymore before a poor trip scuppered his chance. Next Destination won the 2018 version, and he finished third behind Samcro in the Ballymore Hurdle next time. Rule The World won it in 2013 when it was the Grade 2 Slaney Hurdle, then Mouse Morris’ horse finished second to The New One in the Ballymore Hurdle next time (before, famously, winning the Grand National three years later).
Again, City Island joins Fiveforthree and Peddlers Cross only winners since Istabrag ‘97 not to have won over 2 & 1/2 miles or further previous to this race (all three hadn't run over that trip before). Samcro won easy at Navan. All the preview chat in 2017 was that Willoughby Court should have gone to the Albert Bartlett. Like Thyme Hill did in 2020. Hmmm.
Massinis Maguire and The New One won Classic Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham. Birchdale and Santini last two winners went to Albert Bartlett. None from the last two versions came to this.
17 of the last 29 had all run at least 4 times previous that season (if you include Windsor Park's autumn flat wins). The other 12 did not finish outside the first two that season. Envoi Allen and Samcro had each strolled three wins, City Island two..
Massini’s Maguire 2007 only one since Gaelstrom 1993 as the only winners in the last 30 to have finished outside the first 4 on any completed start that season (a fifth place each). Both were course novice hurdle winners that season and also second season novices.
35 from last 36 1st or 2nd last time out (not Massini's - finished 3rd to Wichita Lineman in 2m 5f novice on Cheltenham Trials Day). If ever a stat was due to go..
All bar four this century won last time out.
Mares. 15 runners in the last 25. One winner, a second and a third. (None ran last three years. Before Shattered Love 2017 there had been one no-hoper in the past 11. Shattered Love was interesting in that she was Elliott trained and the subject of a Pricewise plunge, 25s to 8s. Last to finish, never travelled).
Windsor Park, First Lieutenant and Massini's Maguire only ones since Putty Road ’85 not to have finished in the first two in all completed starts over hurdles. However the former two were 2nd and 1st respectively in a G1 last time.
Faugheen joins First Lieutenant only ones in the last 16 not to have a run in the same calendar year. First's last run (get my drift) was to win G1 Leopardstown 29th December. Faugheen's was to win a G3 in Limerick 28th December. Of the last 16 Fundamentalist quickest turn round. His last run was 28th February, only 14 days before. Envoi Allen 66 days, City Island 32 days, Willoughby Court 62 days, Yorkhill was 74 days.
21 from last 23 had won at least 50% of all completed starts over hurdles. Not Windsor Park, only one from three.
Top-six finishers in the previous season's Festival Bumper: 18 have taken their chance in the last 23 races. Next Destination 4th in the bumper, 3rd here. Bacardys well beat in 2017. Yanworth in 2016. Five won (French Holly, Monsignor, Fiveforthree, The New One and Envoi Allen) and five were placed (Next Destination, Yanworth, Pizarro, Refinement and Rite Of Passage). None of those nine started bigger than 7/1. None came that route in 2019. - 2020 first six Ferny Hollow, Appreciate It, Queens Brooks, Third Time Lucki, Eskylane and Ocean Wind.
HANDICAP MARK - In 14 of the last 16, the horse with the current highest handicap mark, i.e. has been assessed by the handicapper, has been placed at least (7 winners). Envoi Allen 156, Champ 152, Samcro 155 won from the next two top-rated at 150. Willoughby Court and Neon Wolf were joint top-rated on 152. 2016 Yanworth was 158 to Yorkhill's 156, the top two. 2015 Windsor Park only 4th top-rated of 146, Nicholls top on 149. 2014 Faugheen top with 152, Rathvinden 151. 2014 Pont Alexandre top on 154, The New One 152. 2012 Simonsig top with 148, followed by Sous Les Sieux 145 (5th), Monksland 144 (3rd). '10 Peddlers top on 148 beats next best Rive de Sivola, '09 Mikael joint top rated with Diamond Harry on 155, 1st and 3rd. In 2015 the top four rated filled the top four places but not in ratings order. A stat to bear in mind.
BLINKERS, CHEEKPIECES etc - 17 qualifiers in the last 20. Easywork in a hood 2nd last year. Only one other no-hoper in total since 2016, a good thing to see with novices. 2015 Parlour Games 2nd in a hood he always wore.
BREEDING - Envoi Allen's sire Muhtathir was a miler, the dam's sire was a top class French jumps horse. 19 from last 22 were NH Bred including 12 from last 14. City Island by Court Cave who also was the sire of Willloughby Court. Simonsig sired by Fair Mix G1 Flat. But what a machine. Yorkhill by Presenting. Windsor Park by Galileo, Faugheen and Samcro by Germany, the latter two were both dual-purpose sires.
Since 2005, 27 runners started their careers on the flat. All beaten
BEATEN FAVOURITE LAST TIME - 36 have tried this century, The New One at 7/2 the sole winner. Turned over at 4/5 on Cheltenham Trials Day by At Fishers Cross.
2015 Maximum number of runners dropped from 24 to 22. 12 last year.
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. 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. Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol. A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.