AGE - Since Minnehoma ’92 all 32 horses aged 9 and above have been beaten (So close, Whisper but I think Might Bite would have been unlucky to lose the race. I love the picture. Neither Nico nor Davy has a clue who has won. No qualifiers in the previous four years, Call The Police 3rd in 2012). 20 of last 24 winners were 7 or 8 years of age. Seven year olds won 14 of last 18 and 9 of the last 11. Exceptions were Might Bite at 8 years, the 5yr old Star De Mohaison ’06 (with a big allowance) and three 6 yr olds, Florida Pearl ’98, Young Hustler ’93 and Don Poli in 2015. Those are the only three six year olds to have won since 1978 although Burton Port was 2nd in 2011. 5yr olds recently - Adriana Des Mottes 4th in 2015, Unioniste 3rd as fav 2012, Long Run 3rd 2010 at 11/4. Ten five year olds have run in the last 23 years, Star De Mohaison won and three others were placed. Star got a 10lb allowance in 2006. Now only 2lb and mares 7lbs. The three 6 yr olds winners were priced 11/8 fav, 9/4 2nd fav and 13/8 fav respectively in what were, with hindsight, uncompetitive renewals. In 2016 Blaklion and Shaneshill were both seven year olds.
PRICES - 2007 to 2009 Cooldine, Albertas Run and Denman won as jollies. Might Bite and Don Poli the first since. Nick Dundee, Royal Athlete, Mr. Mulligan, Harcon, Barton Bank, One Man, Keen Leader, Our Vic, Comply or Die and since 2009, Punchestowns, Time For Rupert, Long Run, Grand Crus and Unioniste all 3/1 or under and beat. In 2016 with More Of That 6/4 fav, No More Heroes at 5/2, Blaklion 8s, should have been a good result for the books.
THE REYNOLDSTOWN. THE OLD BOGEY RACE. - O'Faolains Boy 2014 joined Albertas Run in 2008 in completing the Reynoldstown/RSA double, first since Killiney ’73. 20 have tried, 11 started favourite here, only 6 others achieved a place. Bobs Worth, Nahthen Lad '96, Envopak Token, The West Awake and Kildimo all beaten in the Reynoldstown went on to win at Cheltenham. Vyta Du Roc 5th here but Minella Rocco (2nd at Ascot) took the 4 miler and Ballyalton (F) won the 2m 4f nov h'cap. Since 1996 only 8 horses have ran in the RSA after being beaten in a Reynoldstown. Bobs Worth only winner. 2016 Bigbadjohn beat Flintham. Neither came here. Black Corton won well at Ascot
All 20 Kempton Feltham (now the Kauto Star Novice Chase) winners to come here have failed to do the double. Some have said this stat survives thanks to Darryl Jacob. Royal Vacation fortunate at Kempton that Might Bite fell and therefore this stat may have be consigned to dust. Annacotty well beaten here 2014, 2012 Dynaste beat in the Jewson. Even Trabolgan '05 winner was beaten a short head at Kempton before coming here. Black Corton beats Elegant Escape. A fortunate winner after Fountains Windfall fell going strongly 4 out.
Last 15 all placed at least in a Grade 1 or 2 chase. Not Might Bite but I am going to give it to him. Blaklion won the G2 Towton at Wetherby.
Last years Neptune Hurdle winner hasn't figured in the finish of this since at least 1991. Willoughby Court
All bar Don Poli of the last 53 winners had a run since 31 December. Don Poli won G1 Leopardstown on the 29th December. A difference of two days. Really daft stat.
Apart from Hussard Collonges’ success in 2002, Royal Emperor placed ‘04 and According To John's 3rd in '07, 32 other Northern based have failed to reach frame during last 15. Those to flop recently include Seeyouatmidnight, Corrin Wood, Vintage Star, Mr Moonshine, Wymott. '10 legend Knockara Beau finished 4th. No triers last year.
FORM 39 from last 43 (Christ, 43, how long am I doing this) winners were 1st or 2nd last time (exceptions Kildimo 4th in a Reynoldstown, Lesley Ann Fell, Hanakham, 3rd in the Wincanton Gold Cup Trial and, after a gap of 16 yrs, Lord Windermere 3rd G1 PJ Moriarty).
19 of last 25 were in the first four in the market. That means 6 weren't. Not a shock.
22 of last 25 had run no more than 5 times over fences. 22 from last 24 had run at least three times over fences (not Florida Pearl nor Don Poli - unbeaten over 2. Trainer connection would be W Mullins. Don't think he is a stats man).
Lord Windermere joined Cooldine, Brief Gale, Florida Pearl and Star De Mohaison to be the only 5 of the last 31 winners yet to be tried in a chase over 3 miles. The latter four all won their previous start, all bar Star in a Graded race. Lord Windermere's notes say 'kept on well' in Moriarty. To be honest, you wouldn't have backed him in a fit three out. Of the other 26 only Hussard Collonges (2nd twice, ‘staying on’), Nahthen Lad and Bobs Worth (both 2nd in a Reynoldstown) and Trabolgan (short head 2nd in a Feltham) had not been successful over that distance. Bobs Worth had won an Albert Bartlett.
14 from last 18 'raced up with the pace' or 'tracked leaders'. Might Bite very much so. Not O'Faolains Boy, Weapon's Amnesty, Bobs Worth or Lord Windermere. Last 19 hadn't run within the last 24 days. O'Faolains Boy at 25 days the most recent runner of the 18 (and he would never have won if Smad had been allowed to go on and make the effing pace. Not Choc's best day. Two years later Wayne Hutchinson in the 2015 Hennessey decides to go against trainer instructions, take the lead and wins by an ever increasing 12 lengths. A King asked gently on C4 by AP after he won the Cotswold. 'Do you think he could make the running?' Bitter? Me? Smad was placed in a Stayers as a five year old. He was never going to get any faster. Should have been given a chance in the Grand National. However, the owners privilege not to run him. He did achieve plenty. A great trier).
Last 20 winners had 74 completed starts over fences. Only seven unplaced completions, three of which were in Irish Grade 1 Chases. (Lord Windermere 3rd of 6 beaten 1/2 length). Might Bite made a hash of the last when 2nd of 3 in his first chase, Blaklion was 4th of 7 in his, O'Faolains Boy was 2nd of 4 in his. Don Poli, Denman, Florida Pearl and Rolling Ball in 1991 the last four to have 100% success rate over fences before this race. Don Poli and Denman the only two in last 14.
All the last 11 had between 6 and 13 runs in total over hurdles and chases. Might Bite had nine.
No winner since Hussard Collonges 2002 made their chase debut over 3 miles. Might Bite the first since Hussard last one to fall in any of last three starts.
No mares have won since Brief Gale in '95. (Briery Belle 25s and PU last year, Adriana Des Mottes in 4th in 2015, only ones to run in last eight years. The latter ran when as a five year old and got a 9lb allowance).
BLINKERS CHEEKPIECES etc - No headgear winners in last 17 (Royal Vacation PU regularly wears blinkers, Le Mercurey in 2016 finished last, two tried 2015, finished last and PU, Annacotty 8th in 2014, Wymott PU 2011)
BEATEN FAVS LAST TIME - Best race in Festival this century for beaten favourites last time winning. 3 from 24 qualifiers. Lord Noellie 2000, Hussard Collonges 2002, Trabolgan 2005. None since. Heron Heights PU last year. Shaneshill went close in 2016. Now that excites me.
BREEDING 23 of last 26 NH Bred. 18 from last 22 Irish NH Bred (Might Bite by Scorpion, Irish Bred. Blaklion by Kayf Tara (GB), Star De Mohaison and Hussard the French bred exceptions, Bostons Angel sired by Winged Love, a dual purpose sire) Since '94 no ex Flat horse has gained a place.
HURDLES Last nine winners rated 134 plus over hurdles (Might Bite 148, Blaklion 144, Don Poli 153. O'Faolains Boy 4th in an Albert Bartlett under 143, Bob Worth 150+), 11 before that weren't.
TIMES - 2017 6 mins 9 including that bit when Might Bite went missing. 2016 6 mins 6, 2015 6 mins 9 secs. 2014's fast time of 6 mins dead would confirm a good pace and good ground. O'Faolains Boy, surprisingly for a son of Oscar, hadn't run over good ground since he won an Irish point. 2013 6 mins 25s would suggest softish ground. In 2012, 6 mins 8 secs suggest the going as good.
Conclusion - Previous times have not been much help as an indicator. However, lets not be negative. Best times for this years candidates so far:-
Black Corton - 6 mins 9 in a soft ground Feltham
Shattered Love bt Jury Duty getting 7 lbs over 3 miles at Leopardstown in 6 mins 20 secs. 13 seconds slower than Coney Island achieved in 2016
COURSE FORM - 5 of last 12 placed at least in a course chase that season but only Blaklion of the last seven. Might Bie had won a £10k novice hurdle but had not impressed in two attempts at course novice chases. Bostons Angel PU in an Albert Bartlett, Cooldine 7th in the Bumper 2 years previous, Lord Windermere had never been here before, O'Faolains Boy 17l 4th in Albert Bartlett. Don Poli won the Martin Pipe hurdle Champagne Classic. Sizing Tennessee on 6 mins 34 won the same December Novice Chase as Blaklion.
9 of the last 11 had previously ran at a Festival. Not Might Bite
Might Bite first since Lord Noelie '00 to have raced two seasons over hurdles. Both had only one hurdle in one of those seasons. Rolling Ball in 1991 the last winner of this to have previously spent two full seasons over hurdles.
Might Bite, Blaklion first since Weapons Amnesty to have fallen that season. 3 winners out of 37 unseat/fall qualifiers.
22 of last 24 were novice hurdlers the previous season.
8 of the last 11 winners had all won listed/graded races over hurdles (not Might Bite, O'Faolains or Bostons Angel. Might Bite had won a £20k Cl2 at Kempton).
TRAINERS Paul Nicholls won in '06 and '07. Both winners ran at Exeter before the New Year. Black Corton. Willie Mullins has trained four Irish Winners since '85. Of his other 13 runners, three were second, two thirds, one fourth and six fell (Bellshill 3rd last year, Shanehill 2nd 2016, 2015 Don Poli, 2014 Ballycasey 4th, 2013 Boston Bob fell 2 out when right there, 2012 Call The Police 3rd. Only 6 Irish victories since 1985 but 5 of the last 9 in '15, '13, '11 '10 and '09, three runner ups in Shanehill, Horner Woods and Lyreen Legend, a 3rd in 2014 with Morning Assembly. All five Irish trained winners finished in the first three at Leopardstown over Christmas, three in a 3m G1, one in a 2m 1f G1 and one in a beginners chase.
As 5 of last 8 Irish Trained, all bar Don Poli ran in PJ Moriarty at Leopardstown. Bellshill fell when beaten.
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). 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 worried 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.