QUALIFIERS - Pertemps sponsor qualifiers for this throughout the season on different courses. Fingal Bay and Ballyfitz in 2008 only ones in last 19 to win this after winning a Pertemps Qualifier. In both cases the final was their next run and within 35 days of the Qualifier win. This season's Qualifier winners from October are Golden Doyen, Caid Du Berlais, Younevercall, Solomn Grundy, Arctic Gold, Milborough, Mr Mix, Electric Concorde, Tobefair, Isleofhopendreams, El Bandit, Impulsive Star, Dadsintrouble, Gayebury. The last five named won only 39 days from the Final. 2016, first four home all finished in the first three of a qualifier. Mall Dini, 3rd at Leopardstown, Arpege D'Alene won at Chepstow, If In Doubt won at Wincanton, Tagliatelle 3rd at Musselburgh.
AGE Pragada ’88 is the only 5 yr old to win this in the 41 year history. Had won his previous 3 races. Box Office on his own in 2016 finished 12th, Two ran in 2015best was Aqalim 5th in his first time visor. None ran in 2014 or '13. Houblon Des Obeaux only 5 yr old to run in 2012, finishing 4th. Before that Son Amix (2nd in 2011) only the 8th to have been placed, 5 of which were Pipe trained.
Four 8 yr olds, three 9 yr olds and a 10 yr old have won in the last 12 from small numbers. 5 winners aged 9 in last 18. Mall Dini and Call The Cops were 6 yrs olds.
Since ’91 Pineau De Re at 11yrs only the 6th horse aged 10 or above to be placed. Buena Vista won as a 10 yr old in 2011. Last double figures before him was Willie Wumpkins aged 13 in 1981. Both won this more than once. Berties Dream 33s 5th 2013 when aged 10. Nothing older than an 8 yr old ran in 2016.
WEIGHT Only Buena Vista (10st 3lb and 10st 1lb), Creon ‘04 and Generosa ’99 in past 24 runnings carried 10st 5lbs or less after jockeys allowances. Creon first winner out of the handicap in 26 years and may be the last for a long time. 14 from last 17 carried no more than 11st 2lb. But not Holywell 11st 4 in 2013 nor Fingal Bay 11st 12lb in 2014. Bottom weight in those two years was 10st 13lbs and all placed horses in 2013 and 2014 carried over 11st. 2007 to 2012 only two horses carrying 11st or more made the first 4. In 2016 bottom weight 10st 7. Placed horses all carried at least 11st 4 lbs. In the last two years 4th place carried 11st 12. As with all Festival handicaps, it is now hard to get a run.
FORM - Only 12 from last 19, 1st, 2nd or 3rd in last completed start. 12 from last 21 did win last time out from about 20% of total runners. Usually a field of 24. 6 qualifiers last year including 2nd and 3rd. 7 qualifiers in 2015 including 1st and 2nd. 6 qualifiers in each of the previous two years, Fingal Bay winning in 2014, Shutthefrontdoor best in 4th 2013. 3 qualifiers in 2012, best Bellflower Boy in 7th. In 2011, 3 from 23 best the great Knockara Beau in 4th. 2010 6 qualifiers, best Prince Erik 2nd, Cross Kennon 4th. Punch weight above numbers.
COURSE WINNERS - Fingal Bay joined Buena Vista to be the first previous course winners to win this since at least '91 ('10 Buena Vista had also been second in '09 to Kayf Aramis). 2016 2 course winners ran last year including unplaced 11/2 fav Leave At Dawn. In 2015 five course winners lined up, Unique De Cotte best in 2nd. Apart from Fingal, four other course winners in 2014 including Southfield Theatre beaten a nose (with Whisper winning the Coral Cup it was not a good year for this theory). 9 course winners 2013, best Captain Sunshine 2nd.
8 from last 11 had won at least at Class 2 level (not Holywell, best before was 2nd in G3 handicap Haydock in November). Call the Cops won Cl2 at Doncaster. Mall Dini only a winner of a £7k Thurles maiden hurdle. Placed in a Cl2.
15 from last 18 between 6 and 15 hurdle runs (Buena Vista - 21 in 2010, 29 in 2011).
Front runners. Used to be never placed. But in the last seven years Berties Dream, Ballyfitz, Kayf Aramis, Buena Vista (twice) and some of the placed horses were kept prominent. As this race is now run on the New Course where they only jump 2 hurdles in the last mile, maybe less chance of making up ground? However front runners swallowed up in 2014 and again last year. In 2015 both 1st and 2nd home were up with the pace.
Form races - last 20 years - Warwick Qualifier - January. Two from that route (Tobefair beat Scotchtown). Leopardstown Qualifier 28 Dec 4 winners (Electric Concorde bt Isleofhopendreams). Arctic Gold bt Some Kinda Lama December Sandown Qualifier. Previous seasons race - 3 winners. Mall Dini. Haydock G3 Fixed Brush - 3 winners in last 8 races. Haydock Qualifier - February stolen by Mister Moonshine. Dadsintrouble from Big River and Theos Charm, the three well clear. Arpege D'Alene second in 2106, won the Chepstow qualifier that Gayebury impressed won from Jury Duty. 25th February
The three Irish winners in the last 13 ran in the Leopardstown Qualifier. Mall Dini was the only one of those four to get placed there. Mall Dini ran off 129 at Leopardstown, put up to 139 at Cheltenham. Needed to be 135 to get a run last year. 2015 Zabana also finished third in this qualifier last season off 130 before being touched off by Aux Ptit Soins in the Coral Cup. His rating that day was 144. Since you may need to be rated 135 to get in here, look for Presenting Percy
Irish trained have won 6 in last 22 from a small proportion of runners but Mall Dini is the only winner in the last nine. Three runners up in the last seven. (7 ran last year, 1st and 4th. Only Edeymi at 8s ran 2015, unplaced. 3 in 2014, best Jetson in 5th warming up for Quevega at Punchestown. 2013, 5 ran best again Jetson 'never nearer' third. 6 ran 2012, Catch Me 2nd. 6 in 2011 best Son Amix 2nd, Sivota 3rd. 8 in 2010, best Prince Erik in 2nd). Fair performance.
19 of last 25 had previously won over a minimum of 3 miles (Ok, Fingal Bay only 2m 7.5f at Exeter. But not Mall Dini nor Holywell. Former had won a 2m 6f maiden. Holywell had been close 2nd in the Warwick Qualifier and was fitted here with first time blinkers. Not Buena in 2010 but 2nd in this in '09). 10 from last 11 winning form over 2m4f to 2m 6f. Fingal Bay had won the Challow three seasons before in 2011.
JP McManus has owned 3 winners two of which were priced 50/1. Does run a few. 6 last year, best If In Doubt 3rd.
BREEDING - 68 French breds this century have tried to win this. None successful. 4 tried last year, Arpege D'Alene close but no cigar.
RATINGS - Fingal on 148 broke the glass ceiling. Previous 12 rated between 120 to 142. Mall Dini 139, Call the Cops off 138. As stated, since it now takes you to be 135 to get in, not surprising that last six winners rated from 138 to 148. Last 19 all rated between 120 and 150.
17 of last 26 had not run in the previous 30 days. Mall Dini 26 days since last run, Call The Cops won 12 days before this and was running under a 5lb penalty.
BLINKERS ETC - 7 headgear wearers last year including 2 first timers, only Tagliatelle in the first six. 7 Headgear wearers in 2015 including 3 first timers, best Henryville in 4th in a hood he always worer 7 headgear wearers turned up in 2014, including one first timer. Best was Cross Kennon in 10th. 2013 Holywell won in first time blinkers (7 others tried 2013). Before that, Buena Vista, in 2010 was first blinkered runner to win in 14 races from 66 triers (2010 also Chamirey 3rd. '09 5 qualifiers Bueno Vista 2nd, Pennek 3rd). Buena also wore blinkers to victory 2011.
PRICE - Before Fingal 9/2 fav the previous 10 winners average price over 25/1. Inching Closer 2003 9/2 the only other favourite to win since '98. Call The Cops 9/1 third fav and the only other winner priced under 10s since 2003. Mall Dini at 14s was joint sixth favourite. 32 horses 7yrs of age have started at under 10s. Only Call The Cops has won. 4 last year all unplaced.
Buena Vista one of 5 winners to repeat success. Willie Wumpkins '79, '80, '81 the previous multiple winner. Mall Dini.
Since 1983 7 novices have won off ratings up to 141. Southfield Theatre 2nd in 2014 was a second season novice.
JOCKEYS - Since 1992 8 conditional jockeys have won this. 4 tried last year, best the excellent Jack Kennedy(3) fourth. 3 unsuccessful 2015 but Mr W Biddick (3) had a great spin in fourth. 6 unsuccessful 2014, 4 unsuccessful in 2013. No jockey in the past 20 years has won it more than once. Winners include Andrew Tinkler, Dickie Johnson, AP, Barry,Ritchie McClernon, Conor O'Farrell, Aiden Coleman, Paddy Brennan. Ruby has yet to win it. no ride last year unpl Sam Winner 4/1 fav in 2013.
If your bookie doesn't pay 5 places in this, with 24 runners, they are stealing from you. Hills and Corals on their own with only 4 places in 2016.
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.