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    Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle

     

    HEADLINES

    The last 11 winners were all 5 or 6 yr olds.

    10 of the last 11 winners had all run at least 4 times over hurdles (plus Labaik).

    No horse wearing any type of headgear has won this since Flown 1992.

    The Betfair Hurdle winner has yet to win this.

    Champagne Fever '13 is the only Champion Bumper winner to double up since Montelado '93. 5 of the last 6 bumper winners to try, all beaten at under 9/1.

    Last eight winners had all won a Graded novice hurdle.

    16 of the last 17 had won at least 50% of all hurdle starts in UK and Ire.

    In six of the last seven, W Mullins has trained at least one horse to finish in the first two. Has won this 6 times.

    In the last six, seven horses came to the race with a BHA Rating of at least 154. Four won and two others were placed.

    23rd Feb - SKYBET £10 back as cash for first bet if loser on this race.

     

    SUMMARY

    Race distance - 2 miles and abt half a furlong.

     

    Aged 5 or 6 yrs. Has won at least once over hurdles. Won last time out or was a short priced beaten favourite. Has won at least 50% of all hurdle starts in UK and Ire. Ran in the last 66 days or unbeaten over hurdles. Won last time out. At least 4 previous hurdle runs. At least 5 total runs as a racehorse. Will be trained in Ireland or by N Henderson. If ran on the Flat, must have won at least G3 Novice hurdle. Graded win thia season. Previous course form not vital but if has run before on the course, should have won or gone close. Beware reading too much into previous times over 2 mile hurdles. Last run was in a novice hurdle and not an all aged graded or a handicap. No headgear. If Irish trained, can be any price. Watch for any horse who starts under 10/1 and ran in last years Champion Bumper. 4 yr olds and mares a rarity. Strongly consider G1 winner at the DRF and Tolworth.

     

     

     

     

  • Evidence

    RATINGS - 5 of the last 6 won by horses already with a BHA Rating of 150. In Labaik's year the top rated contender was Ballyandy on 147. In those past six races, a total of seven horses came to this with a BHA rating of at least 154. Four won and two others were placed.

     

    AGE - This century all bar two have been won by either a 5 or 6 year old including all the last eleven.

     

    64 horses aged 7 and above have tried in the past 25. Like-a-Butterfly '02 (8 yrs) and Captain Cee Bee '08 (7yrs) 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 35 years.

     

    No 4 yr old winner since Hors la Loi '99. Hors La Loi came from winning the 4 yr old Finesse on Trials Day. It was called the Summit Hurdle those days, was run on the mid December at Lingfield and he won by 16 lengths. Best since has been Binocular 2nd in 2008 He had come from winning the Adonis at Kempton. Fakir D'Oudairies 4th last year backed down to 9/2 joint fav (along with a Betfair Hurdle winner, jeez) Couple of 4 yr old no hopers previous two years, no triers in 6 years previous to that. 4 year olds get an 8lb allowance. Fakir ran here because the ill fated Sir Erec was meant to be a certainty for the Triumph.

     

    PRICE - Only 7 winning favourites since 1970 including five Irish trained. Before Douvan at 2s and Vautour (jt fav), Like a Butterfly, Back in Front and Brave Inca won when fav between ‘02 -‘04. Douvan, Like A Butterfly and Forest Sun in 1990 are the only 3 winning favourites of the last 15 to start 2/1 or less. Only 3 favourites have won from the last 20 which started shorter than 3/1. Getabird, Min, My Tent or Yours, Cue Card, Dunguib, Cousin Vinny, Amaretto Rose, Sweet Wake have been all shorties since 2004 and all were turned over. The last 20 odd yrs has seen a big price spread of winners including 40s, 25s twice (Labaik) and 20s.

     

    Favs may not be winning but Labaik is the only winner above 12s in the last twelve renewals.

     

    15 from last 18 winners started (at least) joint favourite on their previous run. Not Summerville Boy (8s in the Tolworth), Vautour or Labaik (14s last time out).

     

    TRAINERS

    W MULLINS - IRISH TRAINED have won 12 of last 19 now with sometimes half the field (only 5 from 14 last year, 7 from 19 2018, 7 from 14 in 2017, 6 from 14 2016, 7 from 12 2015). 4 of the 12 were (at least) jt favourites, Klassical Dream was 9/2 joint fav in the morning, was returned 6/1. Champagne Fever returned 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). Klassical Dream, Vautour, Champagne Fever, Like A Butterfly and Brave Inca came having won what was known as the Deloitte Novice Hurdle. Asterion Forlonge. Douvan came here from winning the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, the fourth winner to come via that route. Min (2nd) took the same route. Melon (2nd) had only won a Leopardstown Maiden. The Supreme is currently second most successful Festival race for Irish Trained runners after the Champion Hurdle. (Mengli Khan best in third 2018, 1-2 in 2017, Min 2nd to Altior 2016, 1-2-3 2015, 5 of the first 7 home in 2013).

     

    Of the last 11 Irish Trained winners, eight were the most fancied in the market from the Emerald Isle.

     

    Retired of course but Ruby Walsh rode 6 of the last 14 winners. 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). Getabird, the Mullins fav, disappointed in 2018.

     

    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. (Grand Sancy 11th last year, no runner in the previous four years, Irving ran a stinker in 2014, Dodging Bullets only 9th in 2013).

    Altior 2016 has been Nicky Henderson's only winner since Flown ‘92. He does has a very strong recent place record. In the last 12 renewals 12 of his 21 runners were placed, four were priced over 10/1 including 2nd and 3rd in 2014. Angels Breath disappointed in 7th last year, Claimantakinforgan 5th 2018, Buveur D'Air 3rd in 2017, 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 in a while with Binocular 2nd.

     

    Nigel Twiston Davies has won this once with Arctic Kinsman in 1994. One third place since, Gatflax 16/1 1998. In the past 21 yrs, 9 runners, best Ballyandy 4th 2017. Five of the eight were no hopers. Both Al Dancer (10th, and fav), Splash Of Ginge (15th) came from winning the Betfair, Pigeon island (11th) had run a credible 5th at Newbury, then won a Dovecote before coming here. Post race, Nigel said that Al Dancer may not have coped with the step up in class. Didn't mention that possibility beforehand.

     

     

    PREPARATION RACES - Apart from the Deloitte Novices Hurdle at Leopardstown, Royal Bond at Fairyhouse in December (Envoi Allen bt Abacadabras) and the Tolworth (Fiddlerontheroof sluiced home from Jeremys Flame). These 3 races have produced 7 of the last 19 winners - Stat appeal may be limited as the last Royal Bond winner to double up was Like A Butterfly in 2000.

     

    LAST RACE IN A HANDICAP - The Betfair Hurdle double has not been done but Kalashnikov, My Tent or Yours and Get Me Out Of Here were all 2nd here after winning at Newbury. Also Ballyandy 4th here as 3/1 jt fav, Recession Proof 5th here in 2011 also both after winning at Newbury. Darlan was 2nd here 2012 after being unlucky at Newbury. Of the last ten Betfair Hurdles winners, eight were novices, seven came here. Apart from the three that finished 2nd in the Supreme, the other four unplaced. Make A Stand did win a Champion Hurdle after winning a Betfair Hurdle. Although this is a G1, the Betfair Hurdle does tend to be worth £20k more to the winner. Most important aim? Supreme could be an afterthought?

     

    Captain Cee Bee won a rated hurdle at Punchestown last time out, but apart from him, all the last 30 won by horses that competed in a Novice Hurdle last time. The last 68 English trained horses whose last run was in a non novice hurdle have been unsuccessful here. 24 of the 68 had just gained at least a place in an all aged rated handicap hurdle.

     

    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. (Chantry House bt Stolen Silver) 2017 Pingshou unpl here then won at Aintree.

     

    Skybet Supreme Novices Trial on course in November has come to the fore, Altior won it and Summerville Boy finished second in 2017 (Hang In There).

     

    Summerville Boy 2018 was the first Tolworth winner to double up since Noland 2006. Fiddlerontheroof. Only other Tolworth winner to actually come since 2006 was L'Ami Serge (4th to Douvan). Yorkhill 2016 won the Neptune, 3 other winners were unplaced in the Neptune. Finians Oscar went and won 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. Jeremys Flame

     

    Abacadabras bt Latest Exibition in the For Auction in a 10 second slower time than Aramon won last year. There was a big difference in the state of the ground Soft/Heavy versus Good. Still a good time. Aramon won the For Auction in a faster time than Labaik did in 2016. Mengli Khan also won the For Auction before finishing 3rd here.

     

    Flown in 1992 is the last horse to win this after only one run over hurdles. Flown won the G2 Dovecote first time up. 1992 Festival ground may have been nearly good to firm suiting the flat breds. Melon 2nd 2017 after one maiden hurdle win. Flown also last Dovecote winner to double up. Last two Dovecote winners haven't come here, River Wylde 3rd 2017. Highway One O Two. Since 2007, apart from Mengli Khan 3rd 2018 and Labaik, only Binocular of the 53 triers who ran on the flat have gained a place in this.

     

    G2 2 mile Paddypower Novice Hurdle Naas 23rd February. Only Go Native 2009 has done the double. Jason The Militant.

     

    Vulgan 1948 Div 1 Gloucester Hurdle won at Cheltenham after only one racecourse run ever (thank you Rory Delargy).

     

    Grand Sancy won the Kingwell as a novice, well beaten here.

     

    18 of the last 26 had been placed in G1 or G2 NH company. (Exceptions include 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). The last 9 winners had all strong graded Novice Hurdle form including the Labaik, a G3 winner.

     

    NH BREEDING? - Ex bumper horses were 1-2 in 2018 admittedly on heavy ground. Before Labaik and all the W Mullins French breds, the usual Tuesday Good to Soft had strongly favoured the ex bumper horses over flat bred 11 winners from last 16. Altior is by High Chapparal which would suggest dual purpose sire at best. Mengli Khan had a handicap mark of 96 on the Flat, Melon is by Medicean primarily a flat sire. Ex bumper horses were 2nd and 3rd 2016, 2-4-5-6 in 2015, 1-3-4-5 in 2013, 1-2-3-4 in both 2012 and 2011. Before Labaik and Melon, in the last 9 yrs only flat bred to be placed was Binocular.

     

    COURSE FORM - From the last 28 only 6 were previous course winners (including Altior and Champagne Fever). However only 9 of the 28 had previously run at the course, the only non winners was Summerville Boy (beaten twice that season in course Novice hurdles) 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. Summerville Boy and Al Ferof only winners in the last 20 odd years to have previously run in but not win a course novice hurdle.

     

    This century all bar Summerville Boy and Labaik had won at least 50% of all UK and Ire hurdle starts. Summerville was one from four (it was the Tolworth) Labaik was two from five. All bar Labaik, Menorah and Arcalis had won last time. All had won at least once, No winner this century failed to finish last time out. Labaik did finish but after giving the rest 200 yds at the start.

     

    Only 2 of the last 17 winners were unbeaten over hurdles. 8 of the last 9 won last time out.

     

    All bar Klassical Dream of the last eleven winners had all run in either 4 or 5 hurdles that season. He had a total of 6 previous runs, 4 in France.

     

    Since Destriero 1991, only Douvan (4 runs) has won this having had less than five runs in total as a racehorse, Flat and NH. Destriero ran twice, won a bumper and the Boxing Day maiden hurdle at Leopardstown. Turned up here and won by 4l at 6/1. Might have been a shilling or two on.
     

    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 was a history (not recent) of young hurdlers running big races there only to fail here (and in the Triumph). Grand Sancy in the Kingwell would be a typical example. Those like Old Dundalk, Nordic Surprise, Finnegans Hollow, His Song (the latter two both close seconds to Istabraq in Irish CHs) didnt tend to totally reproduce it next time. Darvers Star 20/1 second to Honeysuckle rekindled the old stat but unfortunately not qualified for this as had won a hurdle last April. Yes, I was disappointed to discover that, too.

     

    33 of last 34 winners had won at least once previously. 31 of last 33 placed 1-2-3 last time, 25 won previous outing including 19 of last 22. Labaik burned the last two stats. None of the last 30 winners had more than 5 runs that season.

     

    TIMES - 2019 4 mins dead, soft ground. 2018 4mins 5secs in heavy ground. 2017 3 mins 53 (we thought that was slow) 2016 3 mins 46, 2015 3mins 47, 2014 3mins 46 which is 5 secs faster than standard. 2013 3 mins 55. Summerville Boy's best time had been 4 mins 4 in the Tolworth. 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 far, and there is plenty to chose from

    Fiddleronthehoof, Tolworth soft 2m Sandown 4 mins 8

    Abacadabras 4mins 6 For Auction Hurdle Soft/Heavy 3.55 2m G1 Leopardstown Xmas

    Chantry House, 2m 1f Chelt New 4 mins 24 GS, 3 mins 56 2m 1/2 F Newbury, Good ground

    Asterion Forlonge - G1 Leopardstown Feb 3 mins 59 yielding 11secs slower than Klassical Dream (good) but 9 secs faster than Samcro (soft)

    Highway One O Two - Dovecote Kempton 3 mins 53s.

     

    Envoi Allen 4 mins 1 sec Royal Bond Fairyhouse.

     

    See Simon Rowlands Sectional Analysis on ATR

     

    https://cheltenham.attheraces.com/features/sectional-spotlight/novice-hurdlers

     

    2019 Champion Bumper form - I'd say a very fair vintage. Envoi Allen has carried all before him this season. 2G1s. Blue Sari has yet to but behind him were Thyme Hill, 3rd and Abacadabras 4th. The Glancing Queen in 5th won the G2 Mares Bumper at Aintree. Master Debonair finished 12th of 14 and has this season won a novice G2. Compare 2018 and Willie's Bumper 1-2-3, Relegate beating Carefully Selected with Tornado Flyer in third. They have yet to set the world alight and none came here. Felix Desjy 6th in 2018 won the Punchestown Moscow Flyer by an impressive 5l and then got an easy lead at Aintree. All the first three home in 2018 now seem to want a trip.

     

    2017 - Fayonagh was a big loss. Flicking through the rest of that vintage, there wasn't a big lot to get excited about. Form just ok.

     

    To try and put it into context, the 2012 race did produce Champagne Fever, The New One and Jezki. Champagne Fever only the second Festival Bumper winner to follow up in this race after Montelado in '93 though Back In Front finished 3rd in Bumper in '02. Six others of the last ten 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 nine Festivals, Al Ferof (2nd), Cinders and Ashes (5th), Champagne Fever. Shaneshill 2nd in the Supreme after being 2nd in the bumper. Envoi Allen

     

    Only 7 of the last 18 winners had competed in one of the big three, Cheltenham Aintree or Punchestown Bumpers

     

    BIG FIELDS - 15 of the last 19 winners all had previously won in fields of at least 14 runners. But only Klassical Dream of the last five. All those 15 bar Altior, Douvan and Cinders and Ashes had been successful in fields of 16 runners. Summervillle Boy had won a Killarney lady riders bumper with 12 runners. Cinder And Ashes had been beaten a shhd in a course bumper in a field of 16. Vautour had previously beaten a field of 29.

     

    Klassical Dream joins Douvan, Vautour, Al Ferof 2010 and Hors la Loi '99 to be the fifth French Bred to win this. Binocular and Min also 2nd for the French. Hors and Binoc were 4 yr olds at the time. Melon by Medicean, a GB sire. Summerville Boy by Sandmason, Irish bred.

     

    21 mares ran in past 25 races. 3 winners and two seconds. No winners since Like A Butterfly ‘02, Amaretto Rose placed ‘07. None ran last 8 yrs. And with the mares race on Thursday run over the same distance there are unlikely to be any more. Far less made of this than the Ryanair where there is a gap.

     

    AND THE REST - Klassical Dream, Douvan, Vautour, Champage Fever, Sausalito Bay. Indefence and Arctic Kinsman lead virtually the whole way. 7 from the last 25. Labaik swooped off a slowly run race. 20 of last 25 winners (all bar Altior, Boxing Day, Summerville Boy 66 days, 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 24 not out this calendar year.

     

    BLINKERS/HOODS/CHEEKPIECES etc - No success from 37 triers since Flown 1992. Cilaos Emery, first time hood, 5th. Petit Mouchoir, hooded, unpl in 2016.

     

    This century 46 Beaten Favourites last time have run in this. Two winners Menorah 12s 2010 (beaten at 1/2 previous race) and Arcalis 20s 2005 (beaten at 11/8). Angels Breath unpl last year, Claimantanforgan unplaced in 2018, Cilaos Emery and Crack Mome unplaced 2017, 3 tried in 2016 and filled the last three places home.

     

    NEXT RACE>

     

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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.