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 (Gary). The Stats Proverb says 'Relevance Is In The Eye Of The Beholder.' I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors. 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 concerned 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
Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol. A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.
Last 10 Neptune winners and pre race rating
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
2008 - Five For Three (IRE) 131
2007 - Massini's Maguire 138
AGE French Holly '98 only second horse aged 7 or over to win this race in its 44 year history (Brown Lad '74). One unplaced in 2016 Parlour Games was 2nd 2015. Ballyalton 2nd 2014 at 20s Since Crystal Spirit ’91, 20 four year olds have tried. None placed. (Both French Holly and Crystal Spirit were strongly supported favourites).
TRAINERS 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 two years. N. Henderson One winner and one placed from 29 runners. Lots of short prices. 2012 Simonsig 2/1 fav, definitely stopped the rot. Nothing placed since. 2016 OO Seven 8th in 2016 2015 Vyta Du Roc 4th @15/2, Be advised that he used to have a similarly appalling record in the Coral Cup before Spirit River 2010 and Whisper 2014.
Never won by P Nicholls. No representatives in the last five, Rock On Ruby unlucky in 2011, Breedsbreeze, Silverburn and Denman under 10/1 and beaten in last 11 years.
W Mullins has won four from last nine and also 5 placed in the last 11. Bacardys, Lets Dance, Augusta Kate, Saturnas Did run 4 of the 11 strong field 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 So Young 3rd. All Willie's winners won last time out and were his most fancied.
OTHER IRISH TRAINERS - 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 seven years. Windsor Park trained by DK Weld and started in bumpers. Three Irish Trained in 2011 finished 1st, 3rd and 4th. (and Oscars Well was unlucky at the last). Monksland 3rd 2012, Rule The World 2nd in front of Pont in 2013. Simonsig won two points in Northern Ireland. Against that, only 10 from last 15 winners started off in Irish points.
Irish trained 19 winners of the last 44 and 7 of last 11.
FORM Urubande and Gallileo only winners in past 21 not to have competed in a Graded race before Cheltenham. Gallileo had Graded form on the flat. Yorkhill won a very good Tolworth Finians Oscar. French Holly and Monsignor last two before that to double up. Faugheen won G3 at Limerick. Windsor Park 2nd in the Deloitte.
17 from the last 19 placed at least in Graded company, 13 had won. '08 Fiveforthree was 5th in previous Champion Bumper. 5 of the last 7 started their career in Irish points.
Faugheen, Simonsig 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 since 2007. Due an upset.
29 from last 31 came from the first six in the market. Massini's Maguire and Gaelstorm 16s in '93. Big prices do get placed (Itsafreebee/Ballyalton/Lanzerac/Gentle Rivage/Grey Report) but not particularly over last 5 years. 11 ran in last year and only 10 in 2015 and 8 in 2013.
Best trials can be Deloitte at Leopardstown mid Feb (Windsor Park, Danoli, Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, Oscars Well). Bacardys bt Bunk Off Early. However apart from Windsor Park (beaten in the Deloitte) the last six 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. Also the Warwick Novice in mid-Feb (Rebel Song, Sayfar’s Lad, Thetford Forest, Putty Road and Monsignor). Aintree My Dream
Deloitte winner hasn't doubled up since Istabraq '97 Bacardys and C Swan might have been a trifle fortunate that day. The machine got home by a length from Mighty Moss who was amateur owner 'steered'. Oscars Well may have been unfortunate not to double up when he clouted the last at Cheltenham in 2011. 7 others, all short enough priced, also failed, 2016 Bleu et Rouge fell in the Albert Bartlett. 2015 Nichols Canyon 3rd here. Bacardys bt Bunk Off Early
THE CHALLOW - (Why do they bother? Do they not know?). All 15 Challow Hurdle winners to try here have come up short Messire Des Obeaux 7 have been placed in it including 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. 4 of the last 5 Challow winners to run in this have been placed and there was excuses for the other, Taquin Du Seuil. Messire des Obeaux posted the best time for a Challow in the last ten years by a good 15 seconds. Goodish ground at Newbury as opposed to the usual late December bog which can take it toll on young novices?
Fiveforthree and Peddlers Cross only winners since Istabrag ‘97 not to have won over 2 & 1/2 miles or further previous to this race (they hadn't run over that trip before).
Massinis Maguire and The New One won Classic Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham. Wholestone going to Albert Bartlett.
17 of the last 25 had all run at least 4 times previous that season (if you include Windsor Park's autumn flat wins). The other 8 did not finish outside the first two that season. Only Massini's Maguire this century did not finish in the first two last time out.
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.
31 from last 32 1st or 2nd last time out (not Massini's - finished 3rd to Wichita Lineman in 2m 5f novice on Cheltenham Trials Day). 20 from last 21 won last time.
Mares. 14 runners in last 23. One winner, a second and a third. (One no hoper in the past 10 and can't see that improving much with the mares race over the same trip).
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 14 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 13 Fundamentalist quickest turn round last run was 28th February, only 14 days before. Yorkhill was 74 days.
17 from last 19 have 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: 15 have taken their chance in the last 18 races. Yanworth and Vigil in 2016. Four won (French Holly, Monsignor, Fiveforthree and The New One) and four were placed (Yanworth, Pizarro, Refinement and Rite Of Passage). None of those eight started bigger than 7/1. Possibilities 2017 - Ballyandy, Battleford, Bacardys, Castello Sforza, Westend Story and High Bridge. Augusta Kate finished 7th.
HANDICAP MARK In 10 of the last 12, the horse with the current highest handicap mark, i.e. has been assessed by the handicapper, has been placed at least (only 4 winners). 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 you might expect.
BLINKERS, CHEEKPIECES etc - 15 runners in last 17. None ran last year. Parlour Games 2nd in a hood he always wore. All others unplaced.
BREEDING - 16 from last 18 were NH Bred including 9 from last 10. Not Simonsig by Fair Mix G1 Flat. Yorkhill by Presenting. Windsor Park by Galileo, Faugheen by Germany, the latter two both dual purpose sires.
Since 2005 ,27 runners started their careers on the flat. All beaten. 2016 Thomas Hobson.
BEATEN FAVOURITE LAST TIME - 27 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. Corals, Hills and Ppower only went 1/5 odds three places.