AGE - 39 of last 43 races won by either a 5 or 6 year old including all the last nine.
62 horses aged 7 and above have tried in the past 23 (Beyond Conceit16s best in 6th last year). Like-a-Butterfly '02 (an 8 yr old) and Captain Cee Bee '08 both won when well fancied, Simple Arithmetic ’95 and Chauvinist ‘03 only others to get placed. Sondrio ’89 only other winner from this age group in past 33 years. Brahms De Clermont
No 4 yr old winner since Hors la Loi '99 Best Binocular 2nd in 2008 (None tried last 6 years. 4 year olds get an 8lb allowance). Dame Rose, Khudha
PRICE Only 7 winning favourites since 1970 including five Irish trained. Before Douvan @ 2s and Vautour (jt fav), Like a Butterfly, Back in Front and Brave Inca won when favs between ‘02 -‘04. Douvan, Butterfly and Forest Sun 1990 the only 3 winning favourites for the last 13 to start 2/1 or less. Only 3 favs have won from the last 18 to have started shorter than 3/1. Min, My Tent or Yours, Cue Card, Dunguib, Cousin Vinny, Amaretto Rose, Sweet Wake have been all shorties since 2004 and all turned over. In last 20yrs has been a big price spread of winners including 40s, 25s twice (Labaik) and 20s. Labaik the first above 12s in the last ten. 14 from last 17 winners started (at least) joint favourite on their previous run. Not the ill fated Vautour or Labaik (14s last time). Getabird
W MULLINS - IRISH TRAINED have won 12 of last 19 now with usually half the field (7 from 14 last year, 6 from 14 2016, 7 from 12 2015, 4 from 18 2014, 5 from 12 2013. 4 of the 12 were (at least jt) favourites, Champagne Fever was 5/1 (was 12/1 in the morning), another was returned 17/2 and the rest of them were 10/1 and above (the three largest priced Irish winners trained by W Mullins and G Elliott). Vautour, Champagne Fever, Like A Butterfly and Brave Inca came having won the Deloitte Novice Hurdle. Paloma Blue 3rd, Sharjah unpl. Douvan came here from winning the Moscow Flyer Nov at Punchestown, the fourth winner to come via that route. Min took the same route. Melon won a Leopardstown Maiden. The Supreme is currently second most successful Festival race for Irish Trained runners after the Champion Hurdle. (1-2 last year, 1-2-3 2015, 5 of the first 7 home in 2013).
Of the last 10 Irish Trained winners, seven were the shortist in price from the Emerald Isle.
R Walsh has ridden 5 of the last 12winners of this. All from top three in the market. And three seconds with Melon, Min and Granit Jack in '07 who was beaten by Ebaziyan 40s (trained by W Mullins).
D McCain (Cinders and Ashes 2012) and Howard Johnson (Arcalis 2005) only northern trainers to taste success in the past 20 odd yrs.
Paul Nicholls winners - Al Ferof 10/1 in 2011, Noland in ‘06. Also Granit Jack 2nd in '07 and two fifth places. (no runner in the past tthree years, Irving ran a stinker in 2014, Dodging Bullets only 9th in 2013). Movewiththe times had a late injury last year.
Altior was Nicky Henderson first winner since Flown ‘92. But he has a very strong recent place record. In the last 10 renewals 12 of his 19 runners were placed, four were priced over 10/1 including 2nd and 3rd in 2014. Buveur D'Air 3rd last year, L'ami Serge 4th 2015 at 7/2, My Tent or Yours 2nd when fav 2013, Darlan 2nd at 7s 2012 and in 2011 Spirit Son 2nd at 5/1, Sprinter Sacre 3rd at 11s. Also in 2008 trained best 4 yr old performance for a while in Binocular 2nd. Claimantakinforgan
PREPARATION RACES - Apart from the Deloitte Novices Hurdle at Leopardstown, Royal Bond at Fairyhouse in December Mengli Khan and the Tolworth. Between them the 3 races have produced 6 of the last 17 winners - stat appeal may be limited? The Betfair Hurdle double has not been done but both My Tent or Yours and Get Me Out Of Here were 2nd here after winning at Newbury. Ballyandy 4th here as 3/1 jt fav. Recession Proof 5th here in 2011. Darlan was 2nd here 2012 after being unlucky at Newbury. The Betfair Novice Hurdle at Newbury's February Meeting has featured Shadow Leader, Arcalis and Al Ferof. Cheltenham's 2 mile Novice in December has produced Noland, Al Ferof and Darlan. Pingshou unpl here then won at Aintree. Altior won the Skybet Supreme Novices Trial on course in November Slate House bt Summerville Boy (soft ground 4mins 8 secs)
Noland 2006 last G1 Tolworth winner to double up. Only L'Ami Serge (4th to Douvan) since 2006 has actually come to the Supreme. Yorkhill won a Neptune 3 other winners were unplaced in the Neptune. Finians Oscar won a the G1 2m4f at Aintree. Those behind in Tolworths have begun to perform. Both Agrapart and Kalashnikov won Betfair Hurdles as novices, admittedly in Newbury swamps Summerville Boy bt Kalashnikov.
Flown in 1992 is the last horse to win this after only one run over hurdles. Flown won the G2 Dovecote first time up. Melon 2nd last year. Flown also last Dovecote winner to double up. Global Citizen goes straight to Aintree.
LAST RACE IN A HANDICAP? - Since 1996 62 runners did not contest a novice hurdle last time (Ballyandy won Betfair Hurdle last year). All losers. 21 of those 62 were placed in a valuable handicap or graded or listed hurdle against experienced rivals. (My Tent Or Yours, Get Me Out Of Here, 2nd here at short prices after Betfair Hurdle win).
13 of the last 24 were ex bumper horses who had been placed in G1 or G2 NH company. 6 of the other 11 were ex Flat racers who had run no more than three times over hurdles, didn’t lose except on their debuts and never raced in Pattern class in a NH race. (Exceptions to all of this are Labaik who won the G3 For Auction hurdle at Navan, Arcalis (ex flat) who had finished 4th when highly tried as a 4 yr old novice in the Christmas Hurdle, Captain Cee Bee and Menorah, both ex bumpers who didn‘t race in a Graded NH race before Cheltenham. And of course Douvan and Vautour, straight from French hurdles). The last 7 winners had all strong graded Novice Hurdle form including the horse who had difficulty starting.
BREEDING - Before Labaik and the W Mullins French breds, the usual Tuesday Good to Soft had strongly favoured the ex bumper horses over flat bred 10 from last 14. Altior is by High Chapparal which would suggest dual purpose sire at best. Melon is by Medicean primarily a flat sire. Ex bumper horses were 2nd and 3rd 2016, 2-4-5-6 in 2015 (Vaniteux in 3rd came from p2ps) 1-3-4-5 in 2013, 1-2-3-4 in both 2012 and 2011, 1-2-3-4-5 in both 2010 and 2009. Before Labaik and Melon, in the last 9 yrs only flat bred to be placed was Binocular. The Dovecote winner at Kempton hasn't doubled up here since Flown in '92 . River Wylde 3rd last year. Before Labaik, since 2007, only one of the 49 triers who ran on the flat placed
COURSE FORM - From the last 26 only 6 were previous course winners (including Altior and Champagne Fever). However only 8 of the 26 had previously run at the course, the only non winners was Arctic Kinsman who slipped up in a bumper after 5 furlongs and Al Ferof who fell when cruising in a C&D novice hurdle and had been second in 2010 to Cue Card in the previous year's Bumper. He was the first winner of this to have previously run in but not win a course hurdle.
Last 20 all won at least 50% of hurdle starts. Labaik was 2 from 5. None of the last 26 winners failed to finish last time. Labaik did finish but after giving the rest 200 yds at the start.
Last amateur jockey to win this was Mr Dermot Browne on Browne's Gazette in 1984. Bless him. Backed Browne's Gazette that day. (And unfortunately the year after).
Beware overrating novices who have ran well in Irish Champion Hurdle. There is a history (not recent) of young hurdlers running big races there only to fail here (and in the Triumph). Didnt happen in 2017.
32 of last 33 winners had won at least once previously. 30 of last 32 placed 1-2-3 last time, 24 won previous outing including 18 of last 21. Labaik burned the last two stats. None of the last 29 winners had more than 5 runs that season.
TIMES - 2017 3 mins 53 (very slow) 2016 3 mins 46, 2015 3mins 47, 2014 3mins 46 which is 5 secs faster than standard. Good to Soft every year, Mr Claisse?) 2013 3 mins 55, 2012 run in 3.48, 2011 in 3.52. Labaik's previous best time 3.53 in Punchestown Maiden. Altior's previous best time was 3 mins 50 Kempton, Douvan best previous time 4mins 5 secs soft ground Moscow Flyer G2 Punchestown, Vautour best 4 mins 22 secs for 2m 2f Deloitte). Best times this season so for, Samcro in the Deloitte 4 mins 8 secs, very impressive but actually 2 seconds slower than the Spring Juvenile G1 won by Mr Adjudicator a little earlier.
See Simon Rowlands view on Novice Hurdle times this year on the link
2017 Champion Bumper form - Loved Fayronagh. A big loss. Cruised home in the G1 Bumper at Punchestown, Debuchet has won a Listed Bumper, Claimantakinforgan seems to be the top 2 miler to come from the race with a nice win in the G2 Skybet Trial at Ascot. Next Destination has won a G1 and a G2 over 2m 4f. Western Ryder (4th) won a decent Cheltenham novice beating the Tolworth winner. 6 other novice/maiden won and Irish Roe in 20th has won a 13k Doncaster Handicap off 128. The form is ok.
To try and put it into context, the 2012 race did produce Champagne Fever, The New One and Jezski. Champagne Fever only the second Festival Bumper winner to follow up in this race after Montelado '93 though Back In Front finished 3rd in Bumper in '02. Six others of the last nine tried, Ballyandy 4th, Silver Concorde (finished last), Cue Card (4th), Dunguib (3rd), Cork All Star (7th) and Cousin Vinny (5th). Monsignor won Sun Alliance Novice Hurdle the year after his bumper win. The Champion Bumper has produced the winner of this in the three of the last seven Festivals, Al Ferof (2nd), Cinders and Ashes (5th), Champagne Fever. Shaneshill 2nd in this after being 2nd in the bumper.
BIG FIELDS - 14 of the last 17 winners all had previously won in fields of at least 14 runners. But not the last three. All bar Altior, Douvan and Cinders and Ashes had been successful in fields of 16 runners. The latter had been beaten a shd in a course bumper in a field of 16. Vautour had previously beaten a field of 29.
Douvan joins Vautour, Al Ferof 2010 and Hors la Loi '99 to be the fourth French Bred to win this. Binocular and Min also 2nd. Hors and Binoc were 4 yr olds at the time. Melon by Medicean, a GB sire.
21 mares ran in past 24 races. 3 winners and two seconds. No winners since Like A Butterfly ‘02, Amaretto Rose placed ‘07. None ran last 6 yrs. And with the mares race on Thursday there are unlikely to be any more.
AND THE REST - Douvan, Vautour, Champage Fever, Sausalito Bay. Indefence and Arctic Kinsman lead virtually the whole way. 6 from the last 23. Labaik swooped off a slowly run race. 20 of last 24 winners (all bar Altior, Boxing Day, Douvan 10th Jan, 59 days, Captain Cee Bee (November) and Cinders and Ashes 52 days) had previous run within 45 days of this race (to help that should mean 22rd January ish). Altior only the second winner from the last 22 not out this calendar year.
BLINKERS/HOODS/CHEEKPIECES etc - No success from 19 triers in 16 years. Cilaos Emery, first time hood, 5th. Petit Mouchoir, hooded, unpl in 2016. This century 40 Beaten Favourites last time have run in this. 2 winners Menorah 12s (beaten at 1/2 last time) and Arcalis 20s (11/8). Cilaos Emery and Crack Mome unplaced last year, 3 tried in 2016 and filled the last three places home.
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). 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 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 Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol. A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.