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 - Sizing Europe 2010 and Moscow Flyer 2002 only winners for those aged 8 since Commandante ’90. Both Sizing and Moscow rated in the high 150s when running in this and both had won the Grade 1 novice chase in December at Leopardstown. 8 yr olds do get placed. 2011 Finians Rainbow 2nd, '10 Osana 3rd, Kalahari King 2nd in '09. No 9 year old winner since Danish Flight '88. One of the best known Cheltenham stats. None ran last year. Sgt Reckless and Court Minstrel well beaten in 2015. 5 yr olds - Do well with smaller numbers but allowance stopped after '08. 4 winners from 13 races with approximately 20% of the runners. His Excellency 3rd of 7 runners 2013. No 5 yr olds in 4 of the last 6 years. None last year, Clarcam beat one home in 2015.
PRICE - Favourites now taking off after Douvan 1/4 following Un De Sceaux 4/6 following Simonsig 2013 and Sprinter Sacre 2012. Altior. Before 2012 we have to go back to Azertyuiop ’03, Klairon Davis ’95, Remittance Man ’91. Champagne Fever (11/4) Medermit (11/4), Captain Cee Bee (5/2), Noland, War of Attrition, Sybillin, Mulligan, Decoupage and Seebald all short prices and turned over. With small fields and the JLT you might expect more favourites to win. No more than 11 runners since its introduction.
Only 4 odds on shots this century and all four won. Western Warhorse 33s first winner priced over 11/1 since Waterloo Boy 20s in '89 (ah, the good old days). Gods Own and Baily Green (both 2nd at 33s) first since Ashley Brook '05 to be placed at 20/1 plus. Only 8 horses 20/1 and over have been placed in past 22 races. Fox Norton 3rd last year at 33s but only 7 runners.Last 23 winners were favourite or second favourite on their previous run.
Since the turn of the century 22 last time out beaten favourites have run. One winner Tidal Bay 6/1. Had been beaten 1/2l on previous run at Doncaster at 1/4 but had won 3 novice chases that season. Last year Baltimore Rock F.
Irish trained - 7 of the last 21 winners including Douvan, Un De Sceaux, Sizing Europe '10, Forpadytheplasterer '09, Moscow Flyer ’03 and eight others placed out of 59 triers over past 16 years. (Sizing John, Champagne Fever both 2nd, Trifolium 3rd 2014. 2013 Baily Green 2nd 2011 Realt Dubh 3rd). Last 8 winners of Irish Arkle finished 31121111 in this. Some Plan finished alone. Irish winners of this finished placed 3112111 in the December Leopardstown 2 mile novice. Min not coming. Douvan won it last year, Clarcam in 2014. 2013 Defy Logic beat Trifolium and Champagne Fever. 2011 Realt Dubh 3rd here after winning at Leopardstown. Winners of this who had run in the Irish Arkle finished 111U1FF21 in Ireland. Some Plan
N. Henderson - Five wins, two seconds and three thirds from 20 runners in past 23. 2016 Vaniteux may have finished second before UR two out. 2015 Josses Hill 3rd, 2014 Grandouet unpl. Before Simonsig and Sprinter Sacre last winner was Tuitchev in 2000. He has run six horses in this who had a hurdle rating in excess of 145. Three won, Finians Rainbow and Josses Hill both second and Vaniteux. Altior well above the 150 mark.
M/D. Pipe - 5 wins, 2 seconds and a third from 15 runners in past 19. Nothing placed for 7 years and then along comes Western Warhorse. D Pipe immediately admitted that he had spent the previous two weeks trying to persuade the owner, Roger Brookhouse, not to run him. What chance have we? Sail By The Sea from the same connections PU in 2015. No runners 2016. Well Chief (star) and the Warhorse only had one chase run. Rest back to '94 at least two chase runs.
P. Nicholls - In last 15 has had 20 runners. Two winners, four thirds. However since Azer '03 only three thirds from 15 runners. (Vibrato Valtat 4th in 2014 after trying to take the favourite on. Dodging Bullets unpl 2014. No runner 2013, Al Ferof unpl 2012).
A. King - has only ever had 6 runners in this. Jahash in ’04 was 4th at 150/1, Kadount ’05 was travelling well when UR four out and then he won it twice with Voy Por Ustedes and My Way De Solzen. 2011 Medermit his first runner for 4 years and favourite, only 4th. Last runner was Valdez 4th 2014.
Northern based - Kahahari King 2nd '09, Tidal Bay won '08 and Monets Garden’s 2nd to Voy ’06 improves their performance from the previous decade. Overturn well beaten at 7/2 in 2013. No triers last couple of years.
FORM - Only Contraband (3rd) and Moscow Flyer (F) of the last 25 winners did not finish 1st or 2nd in their previous race. Of those 25 only Moscow, Ventana Canyon and Un De Sceaux had actually fallen that season. Moscow had fallen twice but unlike Un De Sceaux, when he stood up, he won. Ventana Canyon started chasing career in the same 2m 2f Thurles Beginners as Un De Sceaux. 30 from last 32 winners not outside first 2 on any completed chase start that season in GB or Ire. (Not Contraband and Galas Image). Western Warhorse had won his only chase.
20 from last 25 had won at least 50% of their completed chase starts. All of the last five up to Captain Chris in 2011, only one win from 4 runs. 23 of last 29 had won at least twice over fences. (Three of the exceptions where trained by M/D Pipe, Forpadytheplasterer had been 2nd in three Grade 1 chases). Un De Sceaux and Azertyuiop only winners since Anaglogs Daughter in 1980 to make most of the running. Douvan led from the 3rd when Ruby got bored.
Last 20 no more than 5 runs over fences. Only Western Warhorse of the last 20 wore blinkers. His was first time. 23 of last 25 winners had at least 7 runs over hurdles/fences. Not Western Warhorse (5). He also became the 5th winner since 1987 to have had less than 3 chase runs.
7 from last 10 had won over 2m 4f. Not Forpady, only had won over 2m 2f. Not Sprinter Sacre, only 2nd in an 2m 4f novice hurdle. Not Douvan, only 2m 1f. Only 10 from last 16 had won a Chase by Tingle Creek Day (7th December). Not Captain Chris, Well Chief or any of the four before Douvan. Won a beginners chase at Navan on 22nd November. Un De Sceaux would have won 1/8 fell in a Thurles Beginners. Not particularly relevant, I think.
SUPREME NOVICE DOUBLE - Douvan first since Flyingbolt in 1965 the last to do a Supreme-Arkle double. Seven have tried. Believe Flyingbolt was useful. Altior Un De Sceaux didn't come via the hurdle because they already had Vautour. Other recent triers Al Ferof 3/1 2012 and Champagne Fever 11/4jfav 2014 caught on the line. To credit Ruby, he went on RUK explaining in detail why and when he should have kicked on a bit earlier that day. Simonsig won a Neptune. Sprinter Sacre 3rd in Supreme Novice before winning here. He had finished behind Al Ferof in the hurdle, Somersby 3rd in Supreme Novices before 2nd here 2010, Kalahari King 4th in Supreme Novice '08 before 2nd here '09. Noland won Supreme '06, 3rd here '08, Wild Passion 2nd Supreme '05, 4th here in '06. Medermit 2nd Supreme Novice '09 before failing here. Min and Buveur D'Air not coming.
COURSE FORM - Only Un De Sceaux and Voy Por of the last 14 winners had never run here before. Western Warhorse had been 2nd in a Cl3 hurdle off 125. The other 10 had 'good' course form. Definition as follows. Either a course winner or placed at a previous festival. Stat stretched to include Forpadytheplasterer had finished 4th in a G1 Neptune. The other 9 had also either won at least a G3 here or been placed in G2 or G1.
Boreen Prince 1985 last runner up in Champion Hurdle to win this the following year. Overturn failed in 2013. Top Notch 5th and Identity Thief 6th coming from that route. Apart from Sizing Europe all winners since 1966 had had a run since Jan 1st.
Kingmaker (Warwick, Feb 7) prep race with best current record. Winner of that has finished 0123U126 in this. check No Scilly Isles winner has doubled up in last 20. (check). Wayward Lad Chase at Kempton December won by Remittance man, Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig. Altior strolled home at 1/9. Captain Chris won after success in the 2m 4f Pendil Chase at Kempton. Last 2 winners of Lightning Nov Chase Donc 29th Jan well beaten at Cheltenham Forest Bihan
TIMES - This race is usually run in a time under 4 minutes 3 secs (Douvan 3 mins 49, Un De Sceaux 3 mins 51, 2014 3mins 47 2013 Simonsig did 4 mins 2 (in soft ground). The three years previous were all run in 3 mins 52. 12 of last 19 winners had already won a chase in a time under 4 minutes 1 second or had posted a time under 4minutes in at least a Grade 2 Hurdle (Douvan 3.48 in Supreme, Sizing Europe 3.50 for an Irish Champion). Un De Sceaux had done 4 mins 12 secs for 2m 1f for G1 Leopardstown which was quick. Other exceptions include Western Warhorse, Or Royal and Tuitchev who all had yet to contest a 2 mile chase although the latter had been 6th in the previous years Champion Hurdle. The other exceptions were Tidal Bay who had posted a time of 4mins 6 over 2m ½ furlong when 2nd at Doncaster, Captain Chris, a course hurdle winner and G2 Pendil winner last time out and finally Simonsig, a Festival G1 winner.
2016 contenders best times.
Altior - 3 mins 46 for Supreme Novice. Altior 3.54 for Henry VIII chase at Sandown toying with Charbel
Top Notch was about 10 lengths behind Annie Power who posted 3.45 in 2016 Champion Hurdle
Some Plan 4 mins 6 secs for Irish Arkle. Although he finished alone it was 'probably the fastest run Irish Arkle in many years' Davy Russell. Very likely with the unusual Feb good ground.
BREEDING - 10 of last 22 winners were French bred from about 25% of runners. 12 weren't. However a French bred has been placed at least in 12 of last 16. Douvan was bred in France but is by Walk In The Park, an Irish sire. (The sire of Min, as well). Only 11 German breds have run. Well Chief hacked home, two seconds and a third. Kruguyrova '08 only placed mare of ten which have run in the past 18 years. Last mare to win Analog’s Daughter ‘80. Altior is Irish bred by High Chapparal
RATINGS - 15 of last 17 rated at least 142 over hurdles. Douvan 160+ Un De Sceaux at least 156. (Western Warhorse was 125, Voy Por Ustedes not officially rated but likely to not have been much over 120 - both were unbeaten over fences). 9 of last 15 had rating of 156 plus and were the top rated hurdler. Altior has been given a rating of 170 after the Game Spirit. He may be the second coming but I think that's madness for what he has achieved over fences. There, I've said it.
2013 Simonsig second top rated hurdler, 2012 Sprinter Sacre lowest hurdle rating 145 of first 4 home.
7 of last 10 winners had won a Pattern race over hurdles (not Captain Chris, Sprinter Sacre or Western Warhorse).