First run in 2005. First three years was only G2 in stature. Now going 12 years as a G1.
First three winners and the runners up in ’05 and ’06 ran in the Paddy Power and December Gold Cups. Frodon returned to that stat by running in both and winning the G3 Caspian Caviar from Cepage off a rating of 164.
A fine day. Storm Frieda buffeted me all day, and there's plenty of me to buffet. The weather was horrendous. I was kept outside as Robin et al kept warm and dry in the lovely Annual Members Bar. After they won, I waited at the bottom of that horse walkway, foundered, everyone else running for heat and cover from the elements. Practically on my own. As Frodon and Bryony came by, I say, daftly, 'Well done Bryony, he's a machine.' In return I got a lovely smile, she slaps him on the neck and says, 'Do you hear that, you're a machine.' To hell with cash and the warm Members bar, my day (and evening) was made. Still makes me smile.
In 2008 first year as a Grade 1, Old Vic was a previous Grade 2 course winner and 2nd in this '07 before winning in '08. '09 Imperial Commander had won Paddy Power. In 2010 Albertas Run was a previous RSA winner. He beat Poquelin who in turn was the previous seasons December H'cap chase winner. 2011 Albertas beat Kalahari King who had been previously placed in a Queen Mother and an Arkle. 2012 Riverside Theatre had won the Ascot G1 Betfair Chase. 2013 Cue Card won Haldon G2 and Ascot G1 Chase. Was a previous Festival Bumper and course G2 Nov Hurdle winner.
2014 Dynaste had won a Feltham and been 2nd in a JLT, then a G2. 2015 Uxizandre had been previous 2nd in G1 JLT at Festival and course listed chase winner. 2016 Vautour had won a Neptune and a Punchestown G1 Hurdle before a G1 JLT, a G2 Ascot chase then 2nd to Cue Card in the King George. 2017, Un De Sceaux, well Un De Sceaux had only won the 7 G1s, an Arkle, a Tingle Creek, a couple of Clarence Houses. In his wake last year was Uxizandre and a couple of G2 winners. 2018 Balko Des Flos eased past Un De Sceaux, the rest nowhere. Had won a Galway Plate and been second in the G1 3mile Savills Ch at Christmas.
2019 - Frodon was a warrior all season. In 2018 Had taken the 2m 4f G3 course handicap in January before third in the Ascot Chase and then running a poor 5th here behind Balko Des Flos. Last season finished 2nd in the Betvictor, wins Caspian Caviar, then the Cotswold before repelling Aso and a very strong field in this. In each of his three wins last season he wasn't fancied by the scribes. In order, Caspian '164 too much weight', Cotswold 'won't stay.' Ryanair 'not classy enough, now needs further.' Frodon had won four G2 chases.
Since the upgrade to G1, Frodon Balko, Des Flos and Imperial Commander of the 11 winners had previously failed to win a G1 race.
Previous course winners outnumber non course winners only 84-74 as runners. 7-5 last year, 4-3 2018, 3-5 in 2017, 8-7 in 2016.
Last 12 winners aged 7 to 10 years. Un De Sceaux was a 9 yr old. Apart from him, last seven from eight aged 7 or 8 yrs.
Since became G1 in 2008 all winners bar Imperial Commander rated in the 160s Frodon 169, Balko Des Flos 166, Un De Sceaux 171, Vautour 176, Uxizandre 161, Dynaste 169 Cue Card 165 Our Vic 165, Albertas 162 and 166, Riverside Theatre 168.
Aso 3rd 2018 of 152, only horse placed in this in 12 yrs not to be at least 155. Placed horses 2019 were Aso 162 and Road to Respect 169. In 2016 placed horses last year were 165 and 161, Ma Filleule 159 in 2015.
Only five from the twelve won their last run, Un De Seaux first since Cue Card. Three other either unplaced or PU in that season's King George. Vautour had been 2nd at Kempton in 2015. Uxizandre unseated rider in Game Spirit won by Mr Mole with AP McCoy on board. He then announced his retirement to a startled Rishi Persaud, A King then put a first time visor on Uxizandre.
KING GEORGE - 7 of the last 12 winners competed in the King George that season finishing 266P552. But none of the last 3. Riverside Theatre 2nd in K George the season before winning this. Cyrname, Footpad, Aso, Lostintranslation.
Of the last ten only Imperial Commander and Vautour (5) had less than 7 previous chase runs. Frodon 23rd chase, Un De Sceaux's 12th chase in UK and Ire.
Irish Trained - 50 runners, three of the last four winners and 12 placed. ( Only a 3rd from 8 runners last year, 1-2-4 last year, 2017 1-2-4, 2016 1-2-3, 2015, Don Cossack 3rd as fav, Hidden Cyclone 2nd 2014, First Lieutenant 2nd 2013, none from 4 in 2012, '11 Rubi Light best of the 3 in third). Vautour was first Irish winner of this or the Cathcart (the predecessor) for 20 years.
Balko Des Flos finally wins the race for the sponsor. Road To Respect, 3rd last year. Balko Des Flos, Delta Work, Hardline, Tout et Permis, Voix Du Reve, Shattered Love. 2017 Empire Of Dirt11/4, finished fourth, never could go the pace of the winner. G Elliott at all Preview Nights made it clear that Empire Of Dirt was by far his best Gold Cup Chance. But Eddie and Michael call the tune. The sponsor would of course have won it in 2016 if it hadn't have been for Vautour being parachuted in at the last moment by Willie. In 2015 Don Cossack in 3rd didn't seem to get a great ride by B Cooper.
5 of the last 12 2m 4f Red Mills Chase winners at Gowran mid February tried their luck. 4 of them finished 3rd. 2017 Ballycasey NR. 2018 Our Duke RIP. Last year Monalee won at Gowran, finished 4th here. Anibale Fly was second to Monalee, then 2nd toAl Boum Photo in GC.
Peterborough Chase and Ascot Chase competitors were 0 for 10 in this until Albertas won in 2010. He was 2nd at Ascot and 3rd at Huntingdon that season. Ascot Chase winners Voy Por Estedes '09, Monets Garden '07 and Our Vic '06 all beaten in this. Cue Card and Riverside Theatre first from 8 Ascot Chase winners have come to Cheltenham in the same year and win. 2015 Ma Filleule finished 2nd at Ascot and here. . No double since 2013 but none of the last four Ascot Chase winners came to the Ryanair. Cue Card in 2017 went to the GC. Waiting Patiently didn't come. Cyrname absolutely hacked it, was declared the new Arkle and declined this race. Aso was stone last at Ascot but, along with Frodon, was able to dominate here. Ascot Chase this year, Riders Onthe Storm, had conquered Cyrname but hadn't Traffic Fluide, Janika 4th. Remember its a £98k to the winner first prize at Ascot, so could hardly be called a Ryanair prep. After the way they finished at Ascot you can see why they tend now to give this race a miss.
2011 and 2012 Huntingdon winners were 6th and PU here. 2013's winner Riverside Theatre didn't show up. Neither race winner figured in 2016. Top Notch won the Peterborough at Taunton in 2017, well beat by Waiting Patiently at Ascot and didnt come here. Charbel won last season's Peterborough. Didn't count here. Top Notch won the 2019 version just getting home from Kauto Riko, Aso 2/1 well beaten in 5th. Top Notch ain't coming.
Imperial Commander is the only Paddy Power/BetVictor Chase winner to win a race at the Cheltenham Festival that season since at least 1987. (Splash of Ginge great run in Midmay last year, 2017 Taquin Du Seuil second in the Coral Cup. Loved the Taq). On reflection this is possibly a difficult task as the November winners tend to be hammered by the handicapper and this G1 gives them one of the few possible options at the Festival. Baron Alco hasn't been seen since 4th in Caspian Caviar. 13 from the last 19 runners up in the Paddy Power Chase competed at the Festival that season. Frodon has become the second after Thisthatandother to win. The latter won this when a G2. Brelan D'As appears to be going back in trip as a Grand Annual plot.
Seven of the twelve earned their best RPR over 3m+ including Balko Des Flos at Leopardstown. Un De Sceaux and Uxizandre hadn't raced over a 3 m chase in UK or Ireland. Frodon had been given an RPR of 177 for winning 2m 4f on Jan 27th 2018. A bit strange, that one.
P Nicholls. From 12 runners, he has won it three times and had (in order going backwards), Frodon 1st, 5th (and last), Vibrato Valtat 33s and F, Wonderful Charm 16s and 8th, Al Ferof 5/1 and 5th, Kauto Stone 50s 9th at 50s, Ghizao 6th and last home, Poquelin 4th and 2nd, Gwanako 5th, Turko 3rd, My Will 4th and Armaturk pu.
If you include the Cathcart N Henderson has won this 6 times (this twice) and had Ma Filleule second in 2015. Josses Hill 8th in 2016, 5th 2017. Terrefort PU last year.
13 from 15 came from the first three in the betting. Frodon 9/2 from 13/2 in 15 minutes. (After a run of favourites and Paisley Park to come, layers most have been on their knees at that time) Uxizandre 16s well tipped up by Paul Kealy in the Racing Post. Albertas Run in 2010 returned 14s. Seven of the beaten favourites had won a Graded chase last time out, not Footpad, second in 2m Dublin Chase to Simply Ned. 30 from 43 placed came from first 4 in market. Unremarkable.
None of the winners had more than 4 runs since October. Frodon 4, Un De Sceaux, Vautour and Dynaste had two each. Un De Seaux, Vautour and Riverside Theatre the only clear top handicap rated to win. Both Frodon and Dynaste were joint top rated. Balko Des Flos, second top rated behind Un De Sceaux.
BLINKERS, CHEEKPIECES etc - Two outsiders PU last season. No qualifiers 2018. Aso at 40/1 3rd of eight actually wore cheekpieces in 2017 but hasnt worn them since Aintree 2017. None of the first six home in 2016 wore any type of headgear. All five that tried had worn the stuff before. Uxizandre won in a first time hood following Our Vic in 2008 in first time blinkers. Our Vic previous G1 winner and placed in that season's King George. Hidden Cyclone and First Lieutenant placed with blinkers.
2 winners from those 7 wearing first first time headgear, Uxizandre and Our Vic.
FRONT RUNNERS - 7 winners of this have made all, 4 others 'tracking leaders', the exception Dynaste. Riverside Theatre clouted every fence, if I remember correctly. Frodon was headed 2 out, but close enough.
TIMES. - Fordon 5 mins 10 in G to S. Balko Des Flos 5 mins 24 in soft ground. Un De Sceaux 5 mins 10 secs in 2017 having taken off with Ruby. Vautour - 5 mins 6secs in 2016 after 4mins 46 for the JLT in 2015. This is a furlong longer and the seniors carry 6lb more. Uxizandre's time of 5 mins 1 sec might suggest that, as he said, either AP had little or no control or that Ruby stacked them up behind Vautour. Probably a bit of both. No real difference in 2015 or 2014 between JLT and Ryanair. About 15 secs betwen the times for each race. Yorkhill 2017 did 5 mins flat for the JLT, 10 secs faster than the Ryanair. 2016 Black Hercules did 4 mins 55secs for the JLT, 9 seconds slower that Vautour.
2017 Mildmay (you know what I mean) Road To Respect jogged round in the same time as Un De Sceaux's Ryanair, carrying 11lb less.
2018 - Balko 5 mins 24, Shattered Love (13lbs less) 5 mins 12 an hour earlier, The Storyteller (Mildmay, same distance, carrying 6lbs less) 5 mins 28 an hour later.
2019 - Frodon 5 mins 10 in G to S. Defi Du Seuil 5 mins dead an hour earlier, half a furlong less with 6 lb less, Siruh Du Lac 5 mins 14 an hour later carrying 14lb less.
Simon Rowllands Festival Sectional Analysis
Both Our Vic and Fondmort won this having been second in it the previous year. Aso.
BEATEN FAVS - Thisthatandtother and Our Vic won this having been beaten fav last time out. Footpad was only qualifier last year, beaten over 2m at the DRF and made fav her, finished 6th. No beaten favs last time have won since 2008.
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.