• Ultima Handicap Chase




    No winner in the last six aged older than eight

    15 of the last 17 won by either by novices or second season chasers

    The last five GB trained novices to win all had previously won a hurdle with a first prize of at least £10k

    All winners this century had recorded their best RPR over at least 3 miles.

    9 of the last 10 had run at a previous Festival

    Only two winning favourites since 1994

    No Irish trained winner in the last 12

    Nine of the last eleven won with a h'cap rating of at least 142

    W Mullins and P Nicholls have yet to win it

    N Henderson's only winner was in 2000

    Six of the last seven winners wore some sort of headgear




    Race distance - 3 miles and about one furlong. Will be aged between 7 and 9 yrs. Will have run before at the Festival or will be 7 or 8 yrs and improving i.e. with a rising handicap rating. Winner’s handicap rating over 140. Will have recorded their best Racing Post Rating over at least 3 miles. This rating will be at least 143. Will have already won at least a Class 3 chase. If a novice, will have won a hurdle worth at least £10k to the winner. Has won over 3 miles or at least placed over 3 miles in two of last three runs. Will have run between 3 and 12 times over fences in UK and/or Ireland. Will have run at least twice this season. Will have been 1st or 2nd sometime this season. 1st or 2nd in either of last two chase runs or at least 3rd last time. Winners over 11st becoming a lot more frequent. Any price. One of the top weights to be placed.   Wasn't unplaced in this years Betbright Chase. If wins this after running in this season's Newbury Hennessy back it in the Grand National. Has run in the last 45 days. P Nicholls N Henderson poor enough records. W Mullins yet to have a runner. Watch for D Pipe, Tony Martin and Jonjo trained. Wears some type of headgear. Irish trained don't win but get placed. No F, R, B or U as last form entry. Not a claiming jockey. Half a furlong longer in distance from 2014

  • Evidence

    AGE - The Package (Kim Muir 2015, bless him) Spot the Difference ’05, Uncle Ernie ’97, Foyle Fisherman ’91 and Three Counties ’89 are the only 12 year olds to have won a race at the Festival since ’84. None of them won this race. The Package 2014 is the only horse aged 11yrs or over to be placed in this since ’97. 48 have tried. Chief Dan George in 2010 last horse aged in double figures to win. Before that Joes Edge '07. Changed times but none of the 18 runners were aged older than nine years. Nine in total aged in double figures ran in the last four years, Buywise in 4th 2017 the only one to be placed. (Aagh Buywise. Thought I had him right, for once, in the Sandown Veterans when coming to take Houblon. Then he fell at the last. Plus ca change). I digress. (If looking at 12 yr olds in future The Package and Uncle Ernie had been placed no less than 3 times at previous Festivals. Spotthedifference had already won the Cross Country Race twice that season. He was only getting going in 2005).


    Flyers Nap '97 last winner older than 10 yrs and he was a previous Festival chase winner. Coo Star Sivola first six year old winner since Antonin '94. Three six year olds ran in 2018 all finishing in the first eight.


    NOVICES - In the last 17 renewals, six have been won by novices (Coo Star) and nine by second season chasers. Novices are five for the last 11. They do well for their numbers. Fork Lightning in '04 was the first novice in 30 years, then Dun Doire ’06 who was still technically a novice but had already won a Thyestes Chase. He was followed by Wichita Lineman, Holywell, Un Temps Pour Tout, obviously, first time and finally Coo Star Sivola. 2010 might have been a sixth winning novices but for a poor enough ride by Timmy Murphy on The Package or even Bensalem who fell 2 out when going very well in the same race. Also Vintage Clouds, Singlefarmpayment (talented rogue) Green Flag, White Star Line, Our Mick, Reve De Sivola and Ogee all recently placed as novices. Novice winner ratings Fork Lightning first, 136, 129, 142, 145, 148, 142. Five novices ran in 2018, three in 2017. I've seen it written that Adrian Heskin (Singlrfarmpayment) was the first jockey in a decade to have been outridden in a finish by Tom Scudamore. That's harsh. Another 9 from the last 17 were second season chasers. Mirroring this 10 from the last 13 had no more than 9 runs over fences. Un Temp's second win was only his seventh chase, Coo Star last year was only running in its sixth chase.


    All the novice winners above bar Dun Doire had previously won a hurdle with a first prize of at least £10k.


    History of horses being placed more than once in this, including Un Temps Pour Tout, Holywell, Our Mick, The Package (3 times), Juveigneur, Irish Hussar, Kelami, Ad Hoc, Unguided Missile, Boraceva. Bensalem may well have been. Fair Along, 4th in 2011, had been previously placed in a QM and an Arkle. Look for Vintage Clouds, Beware The Bear, Singlefarmpayment, Buywise (surely not, please).


    WEIGHT CARRYING - Un Temps Pour Tout 11st 12lb, 11st 7lb, The Druids Nephew 11st 3lb, Holywell '14 11st 6 lb became the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th this century to have won carrying over 11st. Bensalem 2011 11st 2lb first to carry more than 10st 12 to victory since Unguided Missile's 11st 10 in '98. That's 5 from the last 8 over 11st. Coo Star Sivola carried 10st 13lbs (minus Lizzie Kelly's 3lb claim, of course). In 2017 1st and 3rd were the two top weights, in 2016 all four placed carried at least 11st 5lb. Holywell had 11st 12lb in second.


    In 2012 Alfie Sherrin (1lb wrong) was the third winner out of 68 runnings from out of the handicap (only Maamur ’96 has won more than 3lb ‘wrong’. That's 23 yrs ago for Andrew Thornton). Bottom weight in 2018 carried 10st 8 lbs but there were only 18 runners. Bottom weight in 2017 carried 10st 5lbs.

    HANDICAP RATINGS - In 2017 waved good bye my friend Scot Lane who won the race for the second time off 150 in 1983. One of the great chestnuts bit the dust. Since 1983 the ratings of winners between 129 and 150. Un Temps Pour Tout off 155. 9 from the last 11were at least 142. Coo Star was 142 Going back from 2016, Un Temp 148, The Druids Nephew 146, Holywell 145. An Accordion 143, Wichita 142, Chief Dan 142, Bensalem 143, Alfie Sherrin 129, Golden Chieftain 132.

    Last 18 had all recorded their best performance as assessed by RPR (Racing Post Ratings) over 3 miles. The last eleven had achieved a minimum RPR of 143. Un Temp 163. This stat doesn't do much to cut out numbers.


    IRISH TRAINED - Before Youlneverwalkalone ‘03 and Dun Doire ’06 the last Irish trained winner was Arkloin ’66 carrying 12st 5lbs. The former pair came here having both just won major Irish handicaps. Two 4th places ’08 and '10. White Star Line 3rd 2013 from 4 triers between 2012 to 2014. In 2015 two came, Grand Jesture 2nd at 25/1, Gallant Oscar 3rd at 9s. In 2016 Morning Assembly in 4th best of the three. In 2017 three came, best Noble Endeavour in third. Even Clarcam finished 9th. In 2018 there wasn't a single Irish trained runner in the race. Well, I suppose its only for a £62k first prize. My antepost coup on Snow Falcon thwarted at the overnight stage. Irish trained punch above their numbers for places but haven't won since 200 . I'm told that Willie Mullins has never had a runner. Tony Martin has had 5 runners in this in the last 13 years, one winner and two placed.


    M. and D Pipe. Un Temps Pour Tout twice. Well targeted. Ran Eamon An Choic 28s and Ramses De Teillee 12s last year. Both ran well before running out of puff in the bog. Three runners unplaced in the 3 previous races before Un Temps Pour Tout. Great Endeavour still in contention when fell 2011. The Package 2nd 2014 also placed in 2010 and 2012. An Accordion won in '08. None of the latter priced above 11/1 on their first effort. Un Temps returned 11s and 9s, well punted on both wins. Might be back in 2019.


    N Henderson - One winner and 7 placed from last 20 runners (Ma Filleule 33s 2nd 2013 but his unpl including Quantitiveeasing 11/2 jt fav. Gold Present 10s). Hasn't won it since the classy Marlborough in 2000. His placed horses returned between 11/2 and 66/1. Doesn't help. Three runners last year Beware The Bear 14s best in fourth. Its Nicky, they may be overbet.


    JonJo ONeill has had 3 winners in the last 10 and 3 runners up this century. No runner 2018 but Go Conquer ran really well in 5th 2017.


    Paul Nicholls yet to win this - 0 from 21. 2018 Vicente PU. 2017 Caid De Berlais fell early, Ibis De Rheu unpl., 2016 Southfield Theatre 16s BD. 2015 Black Thunder carrying topweight unpl. 2014 Pacha Du Polder 50/1 unpl. 11th Feb Racing Post - 'Give Me A Copper to be aimed at it.'


    PROFILE - 21 from last 24 had all won over 3 miles (Alfie Sherrin and Un Temps Pour Tout (first time) had both won a 3m hurdle, the latter in France). Exceptions - Bensalem, Rough Quest ‘95 and Frenchmans Creek’ 02 but those had been placed over three miles in at least two of their last three runs. 9 of last 28 winners (including Alfie) had already tried 4 miles sometime during their career. 19 hadn’t.


    15 from last 21 had won a handicap chase Class 3 or above. Exceptions were the four English trained novices, Bensalem (who didn't try a handicap between The Festival 2010 and 2011) and Alfie Sherrin. Un Temps Pour Tout had yet to win a chase but had been second to Native River in a G2 Newbury novice. All the exceptions had previous won a hurdle worth at least £10k to the winner. Only Fork Lightning had not won at least a Cl 2 Hurdle.


    Un Temps Pour Tout 2017 joins Joes Edge 2007 to be the only winners to have previously won a Graded chase before winning this.

    15 from last 21 had between 5 and 11 chase runs in UK and Ireland (Coo Star 5, Un Temps second time 6, Holywell and Alfie had 6, Bensalem, 5). Un Temps, first time, and Wichita had 3 runs but both had won G1 hurdles. The Druids Nephew (12 previous chases) 2nd to Sam Winner in G3 hcap Paddy Power meeting. Golden Chieftain (14) had been placed in the course G3 December Chase. Kelami (19 runs) finished 4th in the RSA the year before winning this.


    11 from last 21 placed at least at a previous Festival. 11 hadn't. Coo Star 3rd in Fred Winter 2016.


    No horses with a letter as their last form that is F,P,U or B has won this since Flyers nap in 1997. Race known as the Astec Buzz in those days. 5 tried 2018, best Beware The Bear in 4th (P) 3 tried 2017, best finisher 13th, 5 tried in 2016.


    HEADGEAR - Un Temps Pour Tout (both times) and The Druids Nephew won wearing their his usual blinkers and cheekpieces respectively. Holywell wore blinkers for the first time over fences when winning. The only other time he had worn them was to win the Pertemps in 2013. Both the previous two winners wore cheekpieces as did the 2nd in 2012, Alfie Sherrin for the first time, Golden Chieftain 6th time. An Accordion 2008 makes it seven from the last 11. In 2018 five wore some sort of headgear, the fastish finishing Shantou Flyer, 2nd in a first time visor the best performer. In 2017 12 out of the 23 runners wore some sort of headgear, 13 in 2016 and nine in 2015.


    All former winners at least two runs this season (coincidentally both Alfie and Bensalem finished 5th the run before in a 3m h'cap hurdle). 14 from last 19 no more than 4 chase starts that season. It was Coo Star Sivola's 5th, Holywell's 6th chase in 2014, Golden Chieftain's 8th run since October.


    10 of the last 11 had run in the past 45 days (24th January ish). Not Wichita Lineman. What a ride, AP, even if it only was Darryl Jacob on Maljamar.


    4 of the last 20 runners up in Betbright/Racing Post Chase went on to Cheltenham that year to run in 3 mile + chases. Two winners. '00 Marlborough WH Chase, '97 King Lucifer Kim Muir. The others were L'Ami who finished 4th in the Gold Cup and Possol unplaced in this '09. Pilgrims Bay finished 14th last year, Double Shuffle was second at Kempton but didn't come here. Did OK in the King George, though. Double Shuffle


    Ignore those that finished unplaced in Racing Post Chase. 15 tried recently, only Shardam of the lot has been placed (2014 Tour Des Champs 3rd at Kempton, 5th here). None came in 2018.


    12 from last 18 'held up in rear' or 'well off the pace', 'midfield' (Colin Tizzard didn't think Golden Chieftain would stay the trip and I'm not sure that AP had much choice on Wichita, Coo Star, Holywell and Un Temps Pour Tout 'tracked leaders, close up' both years).

    Un Temps (10th at Newbury) followed The Druids Nephew (7th) to became the first Hennessey runners to win this since Seagram ‘91 (Offshore Account placed in '10 having fallen early at Newbury). The Druids Nephew then went close to emulating Seagram's Grand National success. When he fell at Valentines 2nd time round I could have cried. He also became the first ever winner to come from the 3m 3f hcap at Cheltenham on Betvictor November Saturday. Rock The Kasbah bt Royal Vacation in a good race.


    PRICE - Last four favourites to oblige are Gay Vulgan ’77, Antonin ’94, Wichita Lineman '09 Coo Star Sivola '18. Last year this was possibly on of the worst races at Festival for winning favourites. But that mantle will now move. I keep telling you, the favourite will win sometime. Coo Star Sivola became the first favourite to win in 37 consecutive Festival handicaps. As good a reason for backing it as any. In 2017, Singlefarmpayment, the Pricewise Selection, was backed from 10s overnight to 5/1 fav on the off. Our Mick was placed as 13/2f in 2013. Bensalem, Marlborough and An Accordion were solid morning favourites but drifted before the race itself. 4 of the last 17 were not from the first 4 in the market. As a clerk, you would expect that.


    24 of last 27 winners had been 1st or 2nd sometime that season. 19 had won. Not Un Temps (first time) nor Alfie Sherrin.

    Only two of the last eight won last time out.


    23 from last 30 had been 1st or 2nd in either of last two runs. Not Un Temps (second time) nor Druids Nephew. Both ran down the field in Cleeve Hurdle. Three other exceptions were Frenchmans Creek, Kelami and Golden Chieftain all 3rd last time out.


    Only two of the last eight won last time out. Seven last time out winners ran in 2018, Coo Star only one in first five. Three last time winners ran in 2017, best was Noble En deavour in 3rd. 2016, five came, best Kruzhlinin in 5th, 3 in 2015 all unpl. 7 last time out winners in the 2014 field produced 1st and 2nd. Despite what the great Matt Tombs says in the Cheltenham Betting Guide, I'm not convinced they are a trend.


    Apart from Golden Chieftain, last 23 winners had run previously at the Festival or were aged 8 and below and improving i.e handicap mark is going up. (Chieftain was 8 yrs but his handicap rating had been previously 10lb higher. Alfie Sherrin had been unpl in a Pertemps Final, Holywell won it, Druids Nephew covered both stats).



    JOCKEY - Lizzie Kelly (3) bt James Bowen (3) last year. Brendan Powell (3) on Golden Chieftain became the first claiming jockey to win since at least 1990. Mr Sam Waley Cohen (3) third 2016, JJ Burke (3) 2nd on Grand Jesture 2015 Nico De Boinville (5) second 2014 on Ma Filluele. 16 other claiming riders unpl over the last eight years.


    This century Un Temps Pour Tout 11/1 (first time) became the second BF last time to win following Bensalem 5s. 29 other beaten favourites last time have tried. Singlefarmpayment., Shantou Flyer and Vintage Clouds all placed in the last two years carrying that particular cross.








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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.  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. Oh yes, and if you're called Rory Delargy, you can't win the quiz too often.

Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol.  A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.