• Pertemps Handicap Hurdle


    12 from the last 13 between 6 and 10 hurdle runs

    Only two winners in the last 20 actually won a qualifier. Their last run was to win a qualifier no more than 40 days before this final

    Three of the last four Irish winners were novices

    No winner older than seven in the last five.

    Five of the last six Irish Trained winners ran in the Leopardstown Qualifier

    13 of the last 24 won last time from about 20% of qualifying runners.

    Last eight winners all rated between 138 and148

    No conditional jockey has won since 2011

    This century no beaten favourite last time has won

    Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls have yet to win this

    Gordon Elliott's most recent 5 runners have at least been placed.


    Race Distance - about 3 miles. Unlikely to have won a Pertemps Qualifier unless last run was winning one inside 35 days of the Final. Not older than seven yrs. Look for those 7yrs and under with a starting price under 10s. Top weights can win this. Placed at least at Cl2 level. Has won a race between 2m 4f and 2m 6f. If a compressed handicap to be rated between 138 and 148. Irish novices. Look for those unplaced in the Leopardstown Qualifier. Between 6 and 10 hurdle runs. Not a previous course winner unless previously placed in this or previous G1 Hurdle winner. Any price.  Not blinkered unless previous Festival placed. Conditional jockeys can get placed but rarely win. JP likes to win this. Last time out winners perform just above their numbers. Not a beaten favourite last time.

    Was switched to the New Course in 2005. New entry rule for 2016 - now need to have finished in the first 6 in a Pertemps Qualifier to get in. Now the skill is not to win the qualifier but finish 4th, 5th or 6th and make sure your rating is above 135.

  • Evidence

    QUALIFIERS - Pertemps sponsor qualifiers for this throughout the season on 16 different courses (Market Rasen has joined since 2019), 14 in the UK plus Leopardstown and Punchestown. The December qualifier at Wincanton is over 2m 5f, the only one not over 3 miles. You have to finish in the top six to qualify and then be a high enough handicap mark to get in. That is usually about 135.


    Fingal Bay 2014 and Ballyfitz 2008 are the only winners in the last 22 to win this after actually winning a Pertemps Qualifier. In both cases the final was their next run and within 35 days of their Qualifier win.


    In 2019 Sire De Berlais was a beautifully placed 6th in the Christmas Leopardstown Qualifier (a spot filled this year by The Storyteller). Then in this Final Ian Bartlett finishes his course commentary with 'and Barry Geraghty has carried this home.' Agreed. Barry had just opened his 2019 Festival account on Defi Du Seuil. Obviously bouncing but was chasing after Sire De Berlais throughout the last mile of this race. And he practically lifted him over the line. Ride of the Festival, in my opinion. I make it 8 qualifier winners turned up for the final, best placed was Not Many Left in 3rd, who had won the Huntingdon qualifier for Jessica Harrington.


    In 2018 seven of the qualifier winners made it into the Festival Final. The wonderfully named Taj Badalandabad the best of the seven in 4th. The next best qualifier winner home was Louis' Vac Pouch away back in 12th of the 22 finishers. The 1-2-3 last year all had finished third in the Punchestown, Leopardstown and Musselburgh qualifiers respectively


    In 2017 none of the qualifier winners turned up in the final. Presenting Percy had previously jogged around in fifth in the Christmas Leoardstown Qualifier. In 2017 both placed horses Barney Dwan (Exeter) and Jury Duty (Chepstow) had made it to the Final through one of the last three qualifiers. In 2016, the 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.


    Qualifier winners this season are, Tobefair, Skandiburg, Fleur Irlandais, Diablo De Rouhet, Rapper, Go Whatever, Taxmeifyoucan, Third Wind, Treacyenniscorthy, Silver Sheen, Phoenix Way, Highland Hunter, Welsh Saint, Mary Frances. The qualifiers at Exeter and Chepstow were abandoned. If abandoned, that's just bad luck. The latter two qualifier winners will be under the 35 days.


    The Irish plots that may get in - Ronald Pump finished well at Leopardstown. Watching him then in a Naas beginners chase behind Carefully Selected, he did seem rather small and not that keen on fences. The one everyone watched at Leopardstown was Davy Russell making a career of finishing 6th in this race on The Storyteller. Once again he seemed to come from the clouds. Davy's ride in the final? He did win the Mildmay on him as a novice chaser.


     Sire Du Berlais was Davy's ride in the December Leopardstown Qualifier last season. He was rated 142 that day, and it was the horse's first run over three miles. Words like 'held up' and 'never threatening' in the RP analysis, as Davy rode a finish into sixth place when the race was all over. This season Sire didn't qualify at Leopardstown so went to the Warwick Qualifier where Aiden Coleman got him home in 4th. Off 152 that day, he was dropped three lbs by the handicapper and now with 149 is only 4lb higher than his Festival win. Also remember that 3rd at Cheltenham, Not Many Left, the Huntingdon qualifier winner, is trained by Jessica Harrington. It is said to be having a crack at Paisley Park. Silver Sheen, also trained by Mrs Harrington, won the Warwick qualifier this season when Sire De Berlais was 4th.


    AGE - Its over for Pragada, the 1988 winner. One of the big Cheltenham Stats big beasts brought to its knees when Delta Work 2018 became the first five year old to win this in 31 yrs and only the second its 44 year history. Like Pragada, Delta Work was a novice but unlike Pragada, he had not won his previous 3 races. The Josh Gifford trained Pragada started at 16s and won by 12 lengths. Bless him. Delta Work, the only novice to run in 2018. Both Presenting Percy and Mall Dini were novices. Two novices last year, Cuneo best 4th. One other in 2016 finished 12th, Two ran in 2015, best was Aqalim 5th in his first time visor. Before that Son Amix (2nd in 2011) was only the 8th to have been placed, 5 of which were Pipe trained.

    Four 8 yr olds, one 9 yr old and one 10 yr old have won in the last 13 from small numbers. 5 winners aged 9 or over this century.

    But last five winners not older than seven yrs.


    Since ’91, The Tourad Man 4th 2017, Pineau De Re both 2014 at 11yrs only the 6th and 7th horses 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. 2018 Mine Now was the oldest runner at 10, and unplaced. Last year Tobefair 2nd 40s as a nine yr old, only Abolitionist 11yrs PU.


    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 27 years and may be the last for a long time. 15 from last 20 carried no more than 11st 2lb. But four of last seven carried at least 11st 4 lbs. Sire De Berlais, 11st 9lbs, Presenting Percy jogged around under 11st 11lb. A lot of crying done in 2017 by connections about his handicap mark, seems alog time ago now. Bottom weight last year was 10st 12lb all placed carried at least 11st, 2018 was 10st 6 lbs. Bottom weight in 2017 was only 11st 2lb so it wasn't like Percy was giving lumps away. The 11st 2 lb 'barrier' broken by Holywell 11st 4 in 2015 and 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. In 2016 bottom weight 10st 7. Placed horses all carried at least 11st 4 lbs. 1n 2018 and 2017 4th place carried 11st 12. As with all Festival handicaps, it is now harder to get a run.


    Rating needed to get a run from 2019 back to 2013 - 134, 135 then 137, 135,135,135,135.


    FORM - Only 14 from last 22, 1st, 2nd or 3rd in last completed start. All bar Sire De Berlais of the last seven finished in the first three last time. 13 from last 24 did win last time out from about 20% of total runners. Usually a field of 24. Of the 17 renewals this century that had had at least one last time out winner, 7 were won by last time out winners. (Hope that one makes sense). Five last time out winners last year, best Not Left Yet. Only three last time out winners in 2018. None of them finished in the first 10. 8 qualifiers in 2017, Percy, the winner, the only one placed. 2016, 6 qualifiers 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. In 2011, 3 from 23 best the great Knockara Beau in 4th. I'm told that if you had backed all last time out winners this century to win, you'd be in front. Not sure by how much.


    FESTIVAL FORM - Sire De Berlais joins Buena Vista to be the only horses this century to have won this having been placed at a previous Festival


    COURSE WINNERS - Fingal Bay joined Buena Vista to be the first previous course winner to win this since at least 1991 ('10 Buena Vista had also been second in '09 to Kayf Aramis). Last year 5 course winners in the field, first home was First Assignment in 9th. Sire De Berlais had finished a staying on 4th in the 2018 Martin Pipe. 2018 had three course winners, all unplaced. In 2017, 7 of the 24 strong field were course winners. Best placing achieved was 8th. 2016 two course winners ran 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.


    9 from last 14 had won at least at Class 2 level (not Sire De Berlais, had never won a race in UK or Ire, not Delta Work, only a maiden hurdle winner but placed in two Graded novices, not Holywell, best before was 2nd in G3 handicap Haydock in November). Davy Russell did his best not to win a 15k Fairyhouse hurdle on Percy by too far. Fun to watch again, I tell you. He's good at that. Mall Dini only a winner of a £7k Thurles maiden hurdle. Placed in a Cl2. Call the Cops won Cl2 at Doncaster


    17 from last 20 between 6 and 15 hurdle runs (Sire 7 in UK and ire, Delta Work 7 runs,Percy 6 runs, Mall Dini 7 runs. Buena Vista - 21 in 2010, 29 in 2011). Better is that 11 of the last 13 between 6 and 10 total runs over hurdles.


    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 in last four years. Connetable, 3rd in 2018, was up with the pace. In 2015 both 1st and 2nd home were up with the pace.


    All bar Delta Work of the six Irish winners in the last 14 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. Percy in 5th was rated 129 at Leopardstown, ran off 146 at Cheltenham. Enough on that subject.


    Irish trained have won 9 in last 25 from a small proportion of runners. But, more importantly, have won the last four. Six ran last year finishing 1-3-4-5. Five in 2018, 1-2 for Gordon Elliott (who incidentally on Preview Nights, was all over Glenloe against Delta Work). Five ran in 2017, 1st and 3rd home. Four runners up in the last nine. Seven ran in 2016, 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). A fair performance.


    Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls have never won this. Willie no runners last two years. Paul Nicholls has run 18 in this, six placed, including Connetable 3rd 2018 at 33s.


    TRIP - Only 20 of last 28 had previously won over a minimum of 3 miles (Ok, Fingal Bay only 2m 7.5f at Exeter. But none of the last four Irish trained nor Holywell. Percy won that 2m 4f h'cap, Mall Dini 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). 11 from last 13 winning form over 2m4f to 2m 6f. Not Delta Work, had only won a two mile maiden. Fingal Bay had won the Challow three seasons before in 2011.


    JP McManus has owned 4 winners two of which were priced 50/1. Does run a few. Sire De Berlais returned 4/1 fav, Aspen Colorado unpl, Glenloe 2nd in 2018 from four (poor jump at the last for Barry may have cost him). Only For Good Measure in 2017, 9th. 6 in 2016, first home If In Doubt in 3rd.


    BREEDING - Another stat kicked in the head. Sire De Berlais joins Delta Work to became the first French Breds to win this since Tindari 1994. 84 others French breds have tried since. Five others last year, Cuneo 4th as well. Nicholls trained Arpege D'Alene close 2nd in 2016.


    RATINGS - Fingal on 148 broke the glass ceiling. Previous 12 rated between 120 to 142. Sire 145, Delta 139, Percy 146, Mall Dini 139, Call the Cops off 138. As stated, since it now takes you to be 135 to get in, its not surprising that last eight winners rated from 138 to 148. Last 22 all rated between 120 and 150.

    18 of last 29 had not run in the previous 30 days. Sire 76 (first one this century not to have run in the calendar year), but Delta 22 days, Percy 19 days, Mall Dini 26 days since last run, Call The Cops won 12 days before this and was winning under a 5lb penalty. Improving novices?


    BLINKERS ETC - Eight headgear wearers last year resulting in a 1-3, Sire De Berlais in first time blinkers. 10 Headgear wearers in 2018 finishing 1st, 3rd and 4th. All those three had worn their headgear before. In 2017 three headgear wearers, all finished own the field. 7 headgear wearers in 2016 including 2 first timers, Tagliatelle 4th in blinkers always worn. 7 Headgear wearers in 2015 including 3 first timers, best Henryville in 4th in a hood he always wore. 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 - Sire De Berlais 4/1 fav, nothing in the last six above 14/1. Before 2014 Fingal 9/2 fav the previous 10 winners average price over 25/1. Inching Closer 2003 at 9/2 the only other favourite to win since '98. Delta Work 5/1 second fave to Glenloe, Percy 11s, Mall Dini at 14s.

    In last ten years 41 horses aged 7 yrs or under have started at under 10s. Winner last year, 1-2 2018. Jury Duty placed at 9s in 2017. Call The Cops won.


    Buena Vista one of 5 winners to repeat success. His ratings were 133 and then 138. Willie Wumpkins '79, '80, '81 the previous multiple winner. Sire De Berlais

    Since 1983 8 novices have won off ratings up to 146 including three of the last four . Also Cuneo 4th last year Southfield Theatre 2nd in 2014 was a second season novice. (Darryl didnt take to been beaten by a nose, if I remember).


    JOCKEYS - Since 1992 8 conditional jockeys have won this. But not recently. None since Conor O'Farrell claimed 5lbs off Buena Vista second time around in 2010. Eight claiming jockeys spread over the past two years, none finished in the first ten. 2017, 8 claiming jockeys, including amateurs tried, best Kevin Dowling (10) in fourth. 4 tried in 2016, best Jack Kennedy(3) also fourth. 3 unsuccessful 2015 but Mr W Biddick (3) had a great spin in fourth. 6 unsuccessful 2014, 4 unsuccessful in 2013.


    Davy Russell the first jockey in 20 yrs to win this three times.


    This century no beaten fav last time out has won this. Five tried last year, Cuneo best finisher. Three unpl triers between 2018 and 2017


    If your bookie doesn't pay 5 places in this, with 24 runners, they are stealing from you. Take your custom somewhere else.



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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.