• Ballymore Novices Hurdle


    Only one winner this century not in first two last time out

    All 17 Challow winners to come didn't win but 6 from the last 7 to try were placed

    All winners aged either 5 or 6 yrs since 1998

    Paul Nicholls yet to win this

    18 of the last 21 placed at least in a Graded company

    Since 2005, 27 runners began their careers on the Flat. All beaten

    Irish trained have won eight of the last twelve

    16 of the last 17 came from the front five in the market

    Nine runners have come from top six in previous year's Bumper. Four won and the other five were placed.

    The last ten winners had all won at least one bumper


    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt 5 furlongs. To be aged 5 or 6. Won a bumper. Will have won over 2m 4f at least if has been tried over that trip. Won last time and will have won at least 50% of all hurdle starts. Will have not been outside first 4 of any completed starts over hurdles. Either has run 4 times this season or has not finished outside the first two this season. Not Nicholls nor Pipe trained. If tried has been placed in a graded race. Won't be wearing blinkers. NH bred. Watch for fancied runners who were in the first 6 home in 2019 Champion Bumper. Respect W Mullins (a lot) and other Irish trainers. Either ran in this calendar year or won a Graded race in late December. Pre race rating 146+ Didn't start career on the Flat. Not BF last time. Envoi Allen to be placed at least.

  • Evidence


    Ballymore Winners with pre race rating


    2019 - City Island 147

    2018 - Samcro 155

    2017 - Willoughby Court 147

    2016 - Yorkhill (IRE) 156
    2015 - Windsor Park (IRE) 146
    2014 - Faugheen (IRE) 152
    2013 - The New One 152
    2012 - Simonsig 148
    2011 - First Lieutenant (IRE) 142
    2010 - Peddlers Cross 148
    2009 - Mikael d'Haguenet (IRE) 155


    Racing Post Ratings (RPRs) Never sure about these, just seem to be another opinion. This century, Envoi Allen at 153 is the 11th top rated of horses entering the Ballymore. Monsignor top on 163, Yanworth second top on 160. Five won, three seconds, two thirds. He's 6/4 fav. Doesn't really help. His BHA rating is 154.


    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 three of the last fouryears. Parlour Games was 2nd in 2015. Ballyalton 2nd 2014 at 20s. Since Crystal Spirit ’91, 20 four year olds have tried. None placed and few likely to try now. (Both French Holly and Crystal Spirit were strongly supported favourites).


    TRAINERS -  N. Henderson One winner and three placed from 31 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 had Bright Forecast 3rd last year ridden by Nico.


    Never won by P Nicholls. No representatives in the last eight, Rock On Ruby unlucky in 2011, Breedsbreeze, Silverburn and Denman under 10/1 and beaten in last 14 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 five years.


    IRISH TRAINED - W Mullins has won four from last twelve and also 5 placed in the last 14. Last year, two unplaced, 2018, ran four, best Next Destination 4/1 in 3rd. Two others finished 4th and 5th. Three unplaced 16/1 shots in 2017. Won with Yorkhill in 2016, the most fancied of his 4 of the 11 runners that day. 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 So Young 3rd. All Willie's winners won last time out and all were his most fancied in this race.


    OTHER IRISH TRAINERS - Martin Brassil knew what he had last year. Fair play to him. G Elliott wins with Samcro in 2018 who is maybe not the second coming. 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 nine years and no sign of any. 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 20 winners of the last 46 but probably most importantly 8 of last 12 and filled the runners up spot in two of the other four races.


    FORM - City Island breaks an old stat when joining Urubande and Gallileo as the only winners in past 22 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. 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 11 hadn't won a graded hurdle. 18 from the last 21 placed at least in Graded company, 14 had won. 6 of the last 10 started their career in Irish points. To mirror that 9 of the last 11 winners were top or second top on BHA Ratings.


    PRICE - Samcro, Faugheen and Simonsig has 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 not to have backed Monsignor that day. Only won by the 8 lengths). 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.


    32 from last 34 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 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 Feb (Samcro, Windsor Park, Danoli, Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, Oscars Well). Bacardys PU here at 4/1 in 2017. However apart from Samcro and Windsor Park (beaten in the Deloitte) the last seven Irish trained winners before came from some other route. 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 from Decor Irlandais. Also the Warwick Novice in mid-Feb (Rebel Song, Sayfar’s Lad, Thetford Forest, Putty Road and Monsignor).


    Samcro first Deloitte winner to up since Istabraq '97 and C 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. 11s. Oscars Well may have been unfortunate not to double up when he clouted the last at Cheltenham in 2011. 8 others, all short enough priced, also failed, 2016 Bleu et Rouge fell in the Albert Bartlett. 2015 Nichols Canyon 3rd here. Last year both Klassical Dream and Aramon went for the Supreme though the latter might have been better off here.


    THE CHALLOW - (Do they not know?). All 17 Challow Hurdle winners to try here have come up short. Champ last year. In 2018, the first three in the Newbury bog all went to the Albert Bartlett bog. 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 missed Taquin Du Seuil (they crawled 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. This year Thyme Hill outstayed The Cashel Man soft ground in 4 mins 57 secs, a very similar time. 2018 Newbury Champ had quickened clear from Getaway Trump in 5 mins 10 secs. Both 2016 and 2018 races were officially in Good to Soft. So not as fast as I first thought, then.


    ROYAL BOND - Hardy Eustace 2002 is the last to complete this double. Only two others tried since, both unplaced in this. Envoi Allen


    LAWLOR'S At NAAS - Mikael d'Haguenet 2009 was the last to complete the double, three others since have attempted, all achieved a place at Cheltenham. Envoi Allen.


    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 chat in 2017 was that Willoughby Court should have gone to the Albert Bartlett. Like Thyme Hill this year.


    Massinis Maguire and The New One won Classic Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham. Birchdale and Santini last two winners went to Albert Bartlett. Birchdale benefitted from Brewin'upastorm's last hurdle fall. Unsure as to who had the upper hand, the latter finished 4th in this. Protekorat in a squabble with Imperial Alcazar.


    17 of the last 28 had all run at least 4 times previous that season (if you include Windsor Park's autumn flat wins). The other 11 did not finish outside the first two that season. City Island two wins, Samcro had strolled 3 wins.


    Massini’s Maguire followed Gaelstrom ’93 as the only ones of the last 29 winners 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.

    34 from last 35 1st or 2nd last time out (not Massini's - finished 3rd to Wichita Lineman in 2m 5f novice on Cheltenham Trials Day).


    All bar four this century won last time out.


    Mares. 15 runners in last 25. One winner, a second and a third. (None ran last two years. Before Shattered Love 2017 there had been one no hoper in the past 11. Shattered Love was interesting in that she is Elliott trained and was 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. The first two were 2nd and 1st respectively in a G1 last time.

    Faugheen joins First Lieutenant only ones in last 15 to not have a run in the same calendar year. First's last run was to win G1 Leopardstown 29th December. Faugheen's was to win a G3 in Limerick 28th December. Of the last 15 Fundamentalist quickest turn round last run was 28th February, only 14 days before. City Island 32 days, Willoughby Court 62 days, Yorkhill was 74 days.

    20 from last 22 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: 17 have taken their chance in the last 20 races. Next Destination 4th in the bumper, 3rd here. Bacardys well beat in 2017. Yanworth in 2016. Four won (French Holly, Monsignor, Fiveforthree and The New One) 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 but maybe this year? - Envoi Allen, Blue Sari, Thyme Hill, Abacadabras, The Glancing Queen and Sempo.


    HANDICAP MARK - In 13 of the last 15, the horse with the current highest handicap mark, i.e. has been assessed by the handicapper, has been placed at least (6 winners). Champ 152, Samcro 155 won from 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 - 16 runners in last 19. Only one no hoper in total since 2016, a good thing to see with novices. 2015 Parlour Games 2nd in a hood he always wore. All others unplaced.


    BREEDING - 19 from last 21 were NH Bred including 12 from last 13. City Island by Court Cave who also was the sire of Willloughby Court and One Touch. The things you learn. 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 - 33 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.


    8th Feb - Kirkiston p2p. Grateful to chat to Noel Kelly, trainer of Decor Irlandais. Confirms Decor will run in Ballymore, 'Noel McParlan keeps the ride. He knows the horse and he is very loyal to me. The horse needs a fast pace and we're looking forward to it.' Hopes that the presence of Envoi Allen might scare a few away. Graded place form at Warwick. There will be worse 66/1 shots.


    TIMES - See Simon Rowlands Sectional Analysis from ATR








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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.