• Marsh Novices' Chase

    All winners bar Samcro aged 6 or 7 years

    Eight of the ten had previously raced within 54 days of this.

    All ten winners had run at a previous Festival but only five were winning there for the second time

    Irish trained have won eight of the ten, seven of those at no bigger than 4/1

    All bar Samcro of the last 9 winners won their last completed chase

    Seven of the last nine had won a Graded chase.

    None of the last six returned bigger than 4/1

    Only Yorkhill had less than three previous chase runs. He was unbeaten over fences.

    Yorkhill the only one to win Marsh/Ballymore in successive years

    Last six rated at least 151 after mares allowances.

    Only Defi Du Seuil ran in either the Flogas or Scilly Isles G1 chases.

    18 G1 winning hurdlers have lined up, six winners.


    20th Jan - 47 entries


    Race Distance - Going 10 years. 2 miles 4 furlongs. In 2014 became a Grade 1 (now making 14 in all). Had been a new race in 2011. As a Grade 1 and 2 novice chase all carry 11st 4 lbs. Mares receive 7lbs. My personal view is that the 2011 version was just OK but as the race ages, the quality is definitely improving. With Vautour and Yorkhill it rose to a new level and that has been continued.


    Aged 6 or 7 years if didn't race at Festival last year. Irish trained (sorry Jonjo) lead 8-2. Gordon and Willie Mullins has won five of the last six. Quality course form becoming important or at least a Festival novice hurdle run last year. Ran at a previous Festival. Top rated has only won it once. Last six rated at least 151 after mares allowances. Take on beaten favourites last time unless Mullin/Elliott, and those with less than 3 chase runs unless Mullins trained, of course. Had been placed in G1 chase or won at least a G3 last time. Scilly Isles form of questionable value.

  • Honours Board

    Year |||Form||| Winner||| Age||| Weight||| OR||| SP||| Trainer||| Jockey |||Field||| Last race (No of days)

    2020||| 1F2 ||| Samcro |||8||| 11-4||| 157||| 4/1 |||G Elliott(IRE)||| D Russell |||10 ||| 2nd G1 Limerick 2m4f (77)

    2019||| 5121||| Defi du Seuil |||6 |||11-4 |||151||| 3/1F |||P Hobbs |||B Geraghty ||| 10 |||1st G1 Scilly Isles Sandown 2m4f

    2018||| 11211||| Shattered Love||| 7||| 10-11||| 144 |||4/1||| G Elliott(IRE)||| J Kennedy||| 9||| 1st G1 Leop 3m (77)

    2017 |||11||| Yorkhill |||7 |||11-4||| 155||| 6/4F |||W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh||| 8 ||| 1st G3 Leop 2m 3f (53)

    2016||| 11F |||Black Hercules||| 7 |||11-4||| 152||| 4/1CF |||W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh |||9 ||| F G2 Navan Ten Up 3m (32)

    2015 |||1121 ||| Vautour |||6||| 11-4||| 154 |||6/4F||| W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh||| 8 ||| 1st G2 Leop 2m 3f (53)

    2014 |||11321||| Taquin du Seuil |||7||| 11-4 |||147 |||7/1 ||| JJ O'Neill |||AP McCoy||| 12 |||1st G2 Haydock 2m 4f (54)

    2013||| 21241||| Benefficient |||7 |||11-4 |||147||| 20/1 |||A Martin(IRE) ||| B Cooper||| 13 |||1st G1 Leop Irish Arkle 2m 1f (47)

    2012||| 111 |||Sir des Champs |||6||| 11-4 |||148 |||3/1 |||W Mullins(IRE) |||D Russell |||10 |||1st G2 Leop 2m 5f (47)

    2011 |||4122 |||Noble Prince||| 7 |||11-4 |||146 |||4/1 |||P Nolan(IRE) |||AP McCoy |||11||| 2nd G1 Leop Irish Arkle (53)


    2011 - AP got off the mark for the week on Noble Prince (rating 146, 4/1 2nd fav). He was an Irish Trained 7 yr old who hadn't been outside the first two on his three previous starts that season. His last two runs finished second in two Leopardstown Grade 1s over 2 miles. Wishful Thinking 2nd and fav top rated on 155. One mare unplaced, Blazing Tempo. One blinkered runner unplaced, Mr Thriller. Winner had previously been 5th in a County Hurdle.


    2012 - Sir Des Champs a 6 yr old off 148 beat Champion Court 150 and For Non Stop 151. Winner unbeaten over 3 that season and 3/1 2nd fav. Previous two wins were small field Irish G2s over 2m 4f. Zaynar only blinkered runner and unplaced. Winner had won 2011 Martin Pipe Hurdle and was then 2nd in 2013 Gold Cup.


    2013 - Benefficient 147 came back up the run in to beat Dynaste 161 by 4l. Had won a two finisher Irish Arkle as his prep. 20s was big. Three seven yr olds filled the places. Marito may have got close but fell two out. No runners blinkered. Bryan Cooper's career took off.

    2014 - Jonjo said it was his week's best chance and Taquin De Seuil 7/1 ridden by a very sore AP got up to beat Uxizandre. Taquin De Seuil won both here and at the Paddy Power Meeting 2013. Was a Class 2 Chase Course winner and over the trip. Rated 147. Won last time. Not out of first three that season. A seven yr old beat a six year old. Latter wore cheekpieces.

    2015 - Ruby made all on Vautour, rating at the time of 154. Impressive. Backed from 5/2 to 6/4 during the day. A long way behind were Apache Stronghold and Valseur Lido beaten 15l. Ages were 6, 7 and 6 respectively. Vautour's third chase. Form figures 121. Came here from winning G2 over 19f at Leopardstown in January.


    2016 - There was a mess at the start when Zabana unseated Davy Russell and Outlander was hampered. A 7yr old Black Hercules jogged it. Off 152 backed down to 4/1co fav of three. (after all the scribes saying he should be in the 4 miler), Bristol De Mai (top rated) caught L'Ami Serge for second on the run-in. That bit was a surprise.


    2017 - Willie had had no winners in the first two Festival days with Douvan (inj) beat at 1/4. People were saying Willie couldn't train and had lost the power of his legs. A Thursday four timer settled that with three G1s kicked off here by Yorkhill 6/4 fav..


    2018 - Gordon Elliott's first JLT with the mare Shattered Love at 4/1 outstaying the 3/1 fav Terrefort by 7 lengths.


    2019 - A good quality race. Defi Du Seuil 3/1fav had too much pace up the run in for the front running Lostintranslation, the pair clear.


    2020 - Melon continues his fine Festival form but Patrick couldn't get my 25s back up on the line. Two strides from making Samcro the new Harchibald. Fine training and riding performances for both horses..



    THE DRINMORE - This century 15 winners of the Fairyhouse G1 have raced at the Festival. None of them won. To be fair to Envoi Allen only Valseur Lido ran in the Marsh where stablemate Vautour destroyed him. Willie's late change of mind must have delighted the O'Learys. (Coincidently, horses beaten in the Drinmore have done very well at the Festival. Recent examples include Samcro, Ronald Pump, Discorama, Rathvinden, Road To Respect, Cause Of Causes, Apache Stronghold, Bostons Angel. Thank you Matt Tombs).


    Gordon Elliott has trained 5 winners of the Drinmmore. Four of them came to the Festival. No winners. Against that he has won two of the last three Marsh chases.


    Samcro and Defi Du Seuil 2019 are the only winners not to run at the previous year's Festival. Samcro won the 2018 Ballymore and Defi won the 2017 Triumph.


    IRISH TRAINED - Eight of the ten. Seven of those eight didn't start any bigger than 4/1.


    G Elliott has won two of the last three winners and had Mengli Khan finish 3rd in the other.


    Willie Mullins has trained four out of the nine winners, Melon in second at 14s and two thirds. None of his winners priced bigger than 4/1.


    FESTIVAL HURDLE FORM - In 2011 1st, 2nd and 4th all ran well in 3 different 2010 Festival handicap hurdles. In 2012 first three home repeated the good runs of 2011 hurdles. Benefficient had been unpl behind Simonsig in Neptune. Trainer stated immediately after this win that 'he just didn't act on the sharper 'old' course'. Placed horses 2013 had no festival hurdle form although Dynaste had been a seven length second to Big Bucks in a Cleeve Hurdle. 2014 only previous Festival form was Double Ross (3rd in this) filled a similar position in 2013 Martin Pipe Hurdle. 2015 - Vautour had strolled home by 6l in the 2014 Supreme. 2016 didn't work. Black Hercules well beaten in Albert Bartlett wins. L'Ami Serge, well punted only 4th in Supreme, placed 3rd in this. 2017 Yorkhill completed a Festival double after his win in the Neptune in 2016. 2018 Shattered Love had been the Pricewise tip in the 2017 Ballymore, ran poorly there. All placed horses in 2018 had never run here before. As stated Defi Du Seuil won the Triumph two years before this, the placed horses had ran in the 2018 Supreme, Lostintranslation 7th and Mengli Khan 3rd. Samcro had won the Ballymore and Melon had been second in a Supreme and two Champion Hurdles. Faugheen finished 3rd and well, his Festival from.. None of the rest of last year's field could hold a candle to that level of Festival hurdle form. Trifecta paid £258. No, never dawned on me..


    18 G1 winning hurdlers have run, six have won. Mengli Khan 3rd 2019 had won a Royal Bond. Reserve tank last form, had two G1s as a novice hurdler, none here.


    The winners of all three G1 novice hurdles have never all returned to win their respective novice chase the next year. If Shishkin obliges in the Arkle, Monkfish in the RSA, then Envoi Allen for the set.


    Envoi Allen's time in the Ballymore was six seconds faster than Dame de Compagnie's in the Coral Cup an hour later. This was the faster difference between the two races in 15 years. Faugheen 2014 achieved the next best difference in those 15 yrs of three seconds.


    7 year olds lead 6 year olds 6-3. Samcro was eight yrs of age.


    The last 12 yr old to win any Novice race at the Cheltenham Festival was Beau Caprice in the Gloucester Hurdle (Supreme) Div 1 in 1966. Faugheen didn't do it last year but it's a lovely stat.


    11 of the 16 G1 Chase winners to run have been placed at least. itchy Feet didn't perform last year, Defi only qualifier 2019, Terrefort only qualifier in 2018, second.


    Samcro with eight is the winner with the most hurdle runs. The previous eight winners no more than 7 hurdle runs in UK and Ire before going chasing.


    Seven of the ten had already won a graded chase. Not Samcro. Just a November jog around Down Royal.


    BF LAST TIME OUT - 20 beaten favs last time have run in this. Samcro joined Black Hercules as winners both 4/1. Two in 2019, both unplaced. Yorkhill is the only top-rated horse to win this. Faugheen 158 last year, Real Steel finished 6th in 2019, top-rated off 152.


    The last six winners rated at least 151 after Shattered Love's 7lb allowance taken into account


    Nine of the ten winners were no bigger than 7/1. Seven were novice hurdlers the previous season. Seven of the last nine won last time out (Samcro 2nd and Black Hercules the exceptions). Seven of the ten had finished in the first three in a Grade 1 chase. Defi Du Seuil won the Scilly Isles from Lostintranslation. Shattered Love won the G1 3 mile novice chase at Leopardstown Christmas. Yorkhill had yet to run in a G1 Chase but had won three G1 hurdles. Sir Des Champs had won a G2, and I think Black Hercules would have won a Navan G2 if he hadn't crumpled at the last.


    Yorkhill only one with less than 3 runs over fences. He had two unbeaten runs. Samcro three, Defi had four. Samcro and Shattered Love hadn't been seen since Xmas, the other eight winners ran within 54 days, Defi 40, Yorkhill 53, Black Hercules was 32.


    Of the 104 total runners, 20 hadn't completed all their chase starts. Two winners, Samcro and Black Hercules.


    Defi Du Seuil first to double up wins with the Scilly Isles Sandown though Terrefort and and Top Notch, winners at Sandown were both second in these last two years. Itchy Feet disappointed. None came from the PJ Moriarty/Flogas 2m 5f chase at Leopardstown though Outlander may have been a little unlucky. He fell four out here when travelling well enough behind Black Hercules in 2016. Faugheen third. 2019 La Bague Au Roi went to Aintree. In 2018 Monalee and Al Boum Photo went to the RSA, Invitation Only third at Leopardstown PU here.




    FWIW Envoi Allen's 2020 Ballymore win was 7 seconds faster than the Coral Cup run an hour later. The best comparison time in the last decade.


    SIMON ROWLANDS Sectional Spotlight




    On a mischievous note, the last multiple Gold Cup winner to win his first when older than seven was Cottage Rake in 1948. Envoi Allen is 7yrs old.


    Simon Rowlands





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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.  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.