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.
AGE 38 of last 42 races won by either a 5 or 6 year old including all the last eight. Moon Racer
59 horses aged 7 and above have tried in the past 22 (Mister Miyagi 6th last year 33s). 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 32 years. No 4 yr old winner since Hors la Loi '99 Best Binocular 2nd in 2008 (None tried last 5 years. 4 year olds get an 8lb allowance). None this year
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 12 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 and 20s although nothing above 12s in the last nine. 14 from last 16 winners started (at least) joint favourite on their previous run. Not the ill fated Vautour. Hard to believe now that he started 7/4 second fav to The Tullow Tank in the 2014 Deloitte.
W MULLINS - IRISH TRAINED have won 11 of last 18 usually with a smaller percentage of runners (6 from 14 last year 7 from 12 2015, 4 from 18 2014, 5 from 12 2013. 4 of the 11 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 two largest priced Irish winners both trained by W Mullins). Vautour, Champagne Fever, Like A Butterfly and Brave Inca came here having won the Deloitte Novice Hurdle Bacardys bt Bunk Off Early. Douvan came here from winning the Moscow Flyer Nov at Punchestown, the fourth winner to come via that route. Min took the same route Any Second Now beat Crack Mome. The Supreme is currently second most successful Festival race for Irish Trained runners after the Champion Hurdle. (1-2-3 2015, 5 of the first 7 home in 2013).
Of the last 9 Irish Trained winners, seven were the shortist in price from the Emerald Isle. Melon
R Walsh has ridden 5 of the last 11 winners of this. All from top three in the market. And two seconds with 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 ln the past two years, Irving ran a stinker in 2014, Dodging Bullets only 9th in 2013). Movewiththetimes
Altior was Nicky Henderson first winner since Flown ‘92. But he has a very strong and 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. River Wylde Also in 2008 trained best 4 yr old performance for a while in Binocular 2nd. 22nd February he stated 'wants Charli Parcs to go to Triumph.'
PREPARATION RACES - Apart from the Deloitte Novices Hurdle at Leopardstown, Royal Bond at Fairyhouse in December Airlie Beach bt Saturnas and the Tolworth Finians Oscar Between them the 3 races have produced 6 of the last 16 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. Agrapart didnt come last year. Ballyandy bt Movewiththetimes. 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 High Bridge Cheltenham's 2 mile Novice in December has produced Noland, Al Ferof and Darlan 2016 won by North Hill Harvey who was 6th here Pingshou Altior won the Skybet Supreme Novices Trial on course in November Moon Racer Noland 2006 last Tolworth winner to double up. Yorkhill went to the Neptune. Only L'Ami Serge (unpl) since 2006 has actually come to the Supreme. 3 other winners were unplaced in the Neptune. Finians Oscar
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. Flown also last Dovecote winner to double up. River Wylde bt Elgin
LAST RACE IN A HANDICAP? - Since 1996 60 runners did not contest a novice hurdle last time (Holly Bush Henry in 2016). All losers. 20 of those 60 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) Ballyandy , Movewiththetimes
13 of the last 23 were ex bumper horses who had been placed in G1 or G2 NH company. 5 of the other 10 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 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 6 winners had all strong graded Novice Hurdle form.
BREEDING - Before the W Mullins French breds, the usual Tuesday Good to Soft has strongly favoured the ex bumper horses over flat bred 10 from last 13. Altior is by High Chapparal which would suggest dual purpose sire at best. 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. 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 . (Winter Escape didn't run)
COURSE FORM - From the last 25 only 6 were previous course winners (including Altior and Champagne Fever). However only 8 of the 25 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. Not applicable in 2017.
Last 20 all won at least 50% of hurdle starts. None of the last 25 winners failed to finish last time.
Last amateur jockey to win this was Mr Dermot Browne Browne's Gazette 1984. Bless him. High Bridge
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 2016.
31 of last 32 winners had won at least once previously. 30 of last 31 placed 1-2-3 last time, 24 won previous outing including 18 of last 20. None of the last 29 winners had more than 5 runs that season. Douvan unbeaten in two runs in Ireland.
TIMES - 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. 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 far: Saturnas 3 mins 55 Future Champions Hurdle Leopardstown. Airlie Beach 3 mins 53 Royal Bond Fairyhouse, Elgin 3 mins 49sec at Kempton Boxing Day (Yanworth 4 secs faster in Xmas Hurdle) Bacardys 4 mins 33 secs for Deloitte. May not line up here.
2016 Champion Bumper form - Would'nt have been jumping up and down about this vintage until Betfair/Deloitte weekend Ballyandy/Bacardys. Augusta Kate started 7/2 fav and has been tried over longer trips this year. Bacardys (4th) won the Aintree Bumper. The rest of the field have achieved a handful of novice hurdle wins mostly over a longer trip. That would be expected. High Bridge was 6th in last year's bumper. 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. (Ballyandy, Moon Racer) Montelado '93 though Back In Front finished 3rd in Bumper in '02. Five others of the last eight tried, 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 six 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 16 winners all had previously won in fields of at least 14 runners. But not the last two. 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.
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 5 yrs. And with the new mares race on Thursday 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 22. 19 of last 23 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 21 not out this calendar year.
BLINKERS/HOODS/CHEEKPIECES etc - No success from 18 triers in 15 years. Petit Mouchoir, hooded, unpl in 2016. This century 38 Beaten Favourites last time have run in this. 2 winners Menorah 12s (beaten at 1/2 last time) and Arcalis 20s (11/8). 3 tried last year and filled the last three places home