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. Five aged in double figures ran in the last two years, all well down the field. In 2014 apart from The redoubtable Package, the rest of the first six home were all 7 yrs old. Mirroring that in the last 16 renewals, five have been won by novices and 8 by second season chasers. (If looking at 12 yr olds in future The Package and Uncle Ernie had been placed 3 times at previous Festivals. Spotthedifference had already won the Cross Country Race twice that season. He was only getting going in 2005).
Only 3 winners outside of 7 to 10 year age group from last 42 runnings.
FORM - 5 winning novices in last 13 runnings. Fork Lightning in '04 was the first in 30 years, then Dun Doire ’06 who was still technically a novice but had already won a Thyestes Chase, the ill fated Wichita Lineman, Holywell then Un Temps Pour Tout. 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. Also Green Flag, White Star Line, Our Mick, Reve De Sivola and Ogee all recently placed when novices. Novice winner ratings 136, 129, 142,145 and 148. Three other novices ran last year, best Out Sam fav and 7th. Another 8 from the last 16 were second season chasers. Mirroring this eight from the last 11had no more than 9 runs over fences.
History of horses being placed more than once in this e.g 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 Holywell, The Young Master, Morning Assembly.
WEIGHT CARRYING - In 2012 Alfie Sherrin (1lb wrong) was the third winner out of 66 runnings from out of the handicap (only Maamur ’96 has won more than 3lb ‘wrong’. That's 21 yrs ago for Andrew Thornton). Un Temps Pour Tout 11st 7lb, The Druids Nephew 11st 3lb, Holywell '14 11st 6 lb became the 3rd, 4th and 5th from last 32 winners to have won carrying over 11st 2lb. Bensalem 2011 11st 2lb first to carry more than 10st 12 to victory since Unguided Missile's 11st 10 in '98. That's 4 from the last 6 over 11st. Last year all four placed carried at least 11st 5lb. Holywell had 11st 12 in second
HANDICAP RATINGS - Since ’83 ratings of winners between 129 and 150. However 7 from the last 9 were at least 142. Un Temp 148, Holywell 145 The Druids Nephew 146. An Accordion 143, Wichita 142, Chief Dan 142, Bensalem 143, Alfie Sherrin 129, Golden Chieftain 132. No winner rated 150+ since Scot Lane in '79.
Last 16 had all recorded their best performance as assessed by RPR (Racing Post Ratings) over 3 miles. The last ten had achieved a minimum RPR of 143. This stat would have taken out half the field last year but would have left most of the fancied runners.
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. Continue to punch above their numbers. I'm told that Willie Mullins has never had a runner in this. Tony Martin has had 5 runners in this in the last 11 years, one winner and two placed
M. and D Pipe. Un Temps Pour Tout at 11s. Three runners unplaced in the 3 previous races. 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 7/1 on their first effort.
N Henderson - One winner and 6 placed from last 17 runners (Ma Filleule 33s 2nd 2013 but his previous last 4 unpl including Quantitiveeasing 11/2 jt fav. 2011 Caroles Legacy beaten 1/2l). All his placed horses returned between 11/2 and 66/1. Doesn't help. No runners last two years.
JonJo ONeill has had 3 winners in the last 8 and 3 runners up this century.
Paul Nicholls yet to win this - 0 from 19 Last year Southfield Theatre 16s BD. 2015 Black Thunder carrying topweight unpl. 2014 Pacha Du Polder 50/1 unpl. No runners 2013.
PROFILE - 19 from last 22 had all won over 3 miles (Alfie Sherrin and Un Temps Pour Tout had 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 26 winners (including Alfie) had already tried 4 miles sometime during their career. 17 hadn’t.
13 from last 19 had between 5 and 11 chase runs in UK and Ireland (Holywell and Alfie had 6, Bensalem, 5). Un Temps 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.
8 from last 19 placed at least at a previous Festival. 11 hadn't.
No horses with a letter as their last form e.g F,P,U,B has won this since Flyers nap in 1997. 5 tried in 2016. The race was known as the Aztec Buzz in those days. Nearly as snappy as the Ultima. Flyers Nap had previously won the Kim Muir in '95.
HEADGEAR - Un Temps Pour Tout 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 previous 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 six from the last nine. However last year 13 out of the 23 runners wore some sort of headgear 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). 13 from last 17 no more than 4 chase starts that season. It was Holywell's 6th chase in 2014, Golden Chieftain's 8th run since October.
8 of the last 9 had run in the past 45 days (24th January ish). Not Wichita.
4 of the last 19 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. Last two haven't come
Ignore those that finished unplaced in Racing Post Chase. 14 tried recently, only Shardam of the lot has been placed (2014 Tour Des Champs 3rd at Kempton, 5th here 2013 Q'easing PU here).
12 from last 16 '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, Holywell and Un Temps Pour Tout 'tracked leaders').
The Druids Nephew became the first Hennessey runner (7th) to win this since Seagram ‘91 (Offshore Account placed in '10 having fallen early at Newbury). Carole's Destrier. 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 Paddypower Saturday. Viconte Du Noyer bt Warrantor and Minella Rocco
PRICE - Last three favourites to oblige are Gay Vulgan ’77, Antonin ’94, Wichita Lineman '09. This is possibly now back amongst the worst races at Festival for winning favourites. Our Mick was placed as 13/2f in 2013. Bensalem, Marlborough and An Accordion were solid morning favourites but drifted before the race itself. Our Sam 13/2 fav in 7th last year. 4 of the last 15 were not from the first 4 in the market.
22 of last 25 winners had been 1st or 2nd sometime that season. 17 had won. Not Un Temps nor Alfie Sherrin.
Only one of the last six won last time out.
22 from last 28 had been 1st or 2nd in either of last two runs. Not Druids Nephew. 5th in Cleeve Hurdle. Three other exceptions were Frenchmans Creek, Kelami and Golden Chieftain all 3rd last time out.
Only one of the last six won last time out. 5 last time winners ran last year, best was Kruzhlinin in 5th, 3 in 2015 all unpl. 7 last time out winners in the 2014 field produced 1st and 2nd. 4 last time winners in 2013, best finisher was 6th, 3 such winners in 2012, best was 7th. Despite what the great Matt Tombs says in the Cheltenham Betting Guide, it is hardly a trend.
Apart from Golden Chieftain, last 21 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 - Brendan Powell (3) on Golden Chieftain became the first claiming jockey to win since at least 1990. Mr Sam Waley Cohen (3) third last year, JJ Burke (3) 2nd on Grand Jesture 2015 Nico De Boinville (5) second 2014 on Ma Filluele. 13 other claimers unpl over the last six years.
This century Un Temps Pour Tout 11/1 became the second BF last time to win following Bensalem 5s. 26 other beaten favourites last time have tried.
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.