Year||| Form||| Winner||| Age||| OR||| SP||| Trainer||| Jockey||| Runners||| Last race (No of days)
2020||| 239F3||| Lisnagar Oscar||| 7||| 146 |||50/1||| R Curtis||| A Wedge||| 15||| 3rd G2 Cleeve Hdle (47)
2019||| 1111||| Paisley Park||| 7||| 168||| 11/8F||| E Lavelle||| A Coleman||| 18||| 1st G2 Cleeve Hdle (47)
2018||| -||| Penhill |||7 |||153 ||| 12/1 |||W Mullins(IRE)||| P Townend |||15 |||2nd G1 Pnchstwn Nov Hdle (324)
2017||| 312F |||Nichols Canyon||| 7||| 161||| 10/1 |||W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh |||12||| Fell G1 Leop Irish Champion Hdle (46)
2016 |||111 |||Thistlecrack |||8 |||168||| EvensF||| C Tizzard |||T Scudamore||| 12 |||1st G2 Cleeve Hdle (47)
2015||| 1234||| Cole Harden||| 6 |||158||| 14/1 |||W Greatrex |||G Sheehan |||16||| 4th G2 Cleeve Hdle (47)
2014 |||111||| More Of That||| 6 |||160||| 15/2||| JJ O'Neill||| B Geraghty||| 10 |||1st G2 Relkeel Hdle (89)
2013||| 21||| Solwhit||| 9 |||154||| 17/2||| C Byrnes(IRE) |||P Carberry |||13 |||1st G3 Naas Hdle 2m 3f (54)
2012 |||111 |||Big Buck's||| 9||| 174 |||5/6F||| P Nicholls |||R Walsh||| 11 |||1st G2 Cleeve Hdle (47)
2011||| 11 ||| Big Buck's||| 8||| 174||| 10/11F||| P Nicholls |||R Walsh||| 13||| 1st G1 Long Walk Hdle (78)
AGE - In its modern 48 year existence only Solwhit, Gaye Chance, Crimson Embers, Galmoy, Inglis Drever and Big Bucks have won this race when aged 9 or over. Solwhit was a 6 time G1 winner. All bar Solwhit were previous Festival winners and of those only Gaye Chance had not won this race before. Gaye Chance was the last of Fred Rimell's 27 Festival winners. in 2020 six elder statespeople tried best was Bacardys 3rd at 33s. A fair ride by Mr PW Mullins.
6 and 7 year olds. They have taken 23 from the last 30. As shown above, only Thistlecrack of the last seven winners was older than 7 yrs. As 8 year olds, Inglis Drever and Baracouda were winning for the second time, Big Bucks for the third. The other three were Thistlecrack, Anzum and Balasani (of which I can find nothing else in common). Balasani got it off Avro Anson on a stewards enquiry. Cole Harden and More of That at 6 yrs were first time winners. Going back 27 races, first time winners were Solwhit (aged 9), Thistlecrack and Anzum (8) in 1999, Balasani (8) in 1994. All other first time out winners were all aged 6 or 7 yrs.
No 5 year old has ever won this race. French bred 5 yr olds such as Le Coudray, Cyborgo and Escartifigue went close and Smad Place was third in 2012. If he had been allowed to lead, Mr King? 5 of the 11 five year olds to run in the last 16 editions have been placed (and 4 of the last 6). No five yr olds have run in any of the last six years.
Crimson Embers won as a 7 yr old and then again in 1986, as the only 11 yr old to succeed. If I remember right he was also returning from an injury. Some present in 1985 say he was unlucky not to be awarded the race as a 10 yr old when allegedly the victim of 'slight' interference from stablemate/same owner and favourite Rose Ravine. There was no objection from connections. Indulge me and click on this. Our first year attending the Festival. It's fantastic to hear the Voice again and compare the surroundings to modern day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO5fuKe9BlE
THE CLEEVE HURDLE - Only Rose Ravine, Inglis Drever, Big Bucks (twice) Thistlecrack and Paisley Park have done the Cleeve Hurdle/Stayers double. Paisley Park didn't repeat the feat in 2020. Lisnagar Oscar had finished third in January. In 2019 Sam Spinner was 4th in the Cleeve before finishing 2nd in this to Paisley Park. Unowhatimeanharry won Cleeve then 3rd here in 2017 when odds on. Saphir De Rheu 2nd here after winning on Trials Day 2016. 2015 when Cole Harden the Stayers, he was only fourth home in the January soft ground. 2014 At Fishers Cross (2nd in January, 3rd in March). 2013 Reve De Sivola winner of Cleeve was 4th in March. Bacchanal and Inglis were 2nd in the Cleeve and Anzum unplaced in January before coming to win here. The Cleeve was only upgraded to 3 miles and Grade 2 status in '05. The last 11 winners of the Cleeve to run here have finished 2/3/1/1/0/2/1/4/1/3/1/6 in this race. Grand Crus in 2011 won the Cleeve and finished runner up in March. In '10, Time for Rupert 2nd in Cleeve and 2nd here. In '07 Inglis was 2nd to Blazing Bailey in Cleeve before winning World Hurdle
Inglis Drever, Big Buck's and Thistlecrack only horses to have done the Long Distance Hurdle (Newbury Hennessey day)/Stayers double. Paisley Park won at Newbury last season. Unowhatimeanharry. Paisley Park, Thistlecrack, Big Bucks and My Way De Solzen have both done the Long Walk/Stayers double although My Way's Long Walk was held at Chepstow. Last season The Worlds End didn't come. At Newbury he just got back up from the rogue L'Ami Serge (PU here).
Big Buck's only ran one season in all of the Long Distance at Newbury, the Long Walk and the Cleeve winning them all by 5l, 8l and 7l respectively. Paisley Park didn't run at Newbury in his year. In 2016 Thistlecrack won all three by 6l, 8l and 12l respectively. In 2017 Unowhatimeanharry won all three by 6l, 4.5l and 1.75l respectively. Then beaten here at 5/6.
No horse has done the Haydock Trial/World Hurdle double. Baracouda did win both when the Rendlesham was held at Kempton. Emiton 4th here after an easy Haydock win.
Penhill, Faugheen, Katchit in 2008, Istabraq and Hardy Eustace are the only winners of Festival novice hurdles since 1984 to have returned to Cheltenham and won any hurdle race the following year. Envoi Allen, Monkfish.
Penhill became the first Stayers Hurdle winner to have ever run in any of the 15 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdles never mind do the double. This has now become the norm Paisley Park was 13th to Kilbricken Storm in his novice year and Lisnagar Oscar 5th to Minella Indo in his. Kilbricken Storm was 11th to Paisley Park in 2019. My thanks to Rory Delargy for pointing out to me this list of subsequent Festival winners to have been beaten in an Albert Bartlett. Lisnagar Oscar joins Paisley Park. Chief Dan George, Bostons Angel, Oscar Park, Cape Tribulation, Teaforthree, The Druids Nephew, O'Faolins Boy, Black Hercules, Blaklion, Native River, Balko Des Flos. Also throw in other NH big guns such as Carruthers and Elegant Escape. The last two Stayers winners, and Lisnagar Oscar who was only one of two in the 2019 Albert Bartlett field to come to this race. Seems easy enough now, doesn't it.
26 of last 28 had shown 'good' if not winning previous course form (not Solwhit or My Way De Solzen, Long Walk Winner. Both SP under 9/1). Lisnagar Oscar as well as the run in the AB, had previously been 2nd in that 3mDecember G2 novice hurdle. With his Cleeve run that made 2 placed course runs in G2s. No wonder Rebecca thought he would win. How did I miss this? Paisley and Penhill we know about. Nichols Canyon 3rd in both a Neptune and a Champion Hurdle. More Of That won the G2 Relkeel. Cole Harden 3rd of 7 in a Relkeel, 4th of 6 in the Cleeve. Good course form? I'll give it to him.
TRIP? 15 of last 20 had won at least a G2 Hurdle over less than 2m 5f. Taken a hit recently. Not Lisnagar Oscar only 2m 4f Nov H or G2 Haydock Albert Bartlett trial. Not Paisley Park, only second in that 2m 5f G2 Leamington Novice at Warwick. Not Penhill, (only a G3), Cole Harden nor Thistlecrack. The latter went straight from 5th in the Imperial Cup Sandown h'cap to cruising home in the G1 Aintree 3 mile novice. Never looked back from there.
FORM OVER 3 MILES. Since 1989 there have been 24 different winners of this race. 8 of them were attempting 3 miles for the first time in the UK or Ire. They were Nichols Canyon (had actually tried it in America) More Of That, Solwhit, Inglis Drever, Bacchanal, Karshi, Princeful and Nomadic Way. Inglis actually came here from winning the Haydock Champion Hurdle Trial and then the Kingwell at Wincanton in 3m 47secs. He had been second to Fundamentalist in the Neptune Novice Hurdle the previous season.
Up to 2013, only 4 of the previous 33 win and place had not won over 3 miles. Inglis was joined by Kazal and Crystal D'Ainay who were placed in Graded 3 milers before this and Smad Place 2011 on his first run over 3 miles. Kazal had won a Graded Race over 2m 6f in a Limerick bog. None of More of That, Annie Power, Solwhit or Celestial Halo had previously tried 3 miles over hurdles. All placed horses in the last five years bar Ronald Pump had Graded place form over 3 miles. In 2018 they had had previous G1 form over 3 miles. In 2019 all three were G1 winners over 3 miles. In 2020 1st and 2nd had won over 3 miles, Bacardys 2nd in a Punchestown G1
Nichols Canyon and Solwhit are the first ex-champion hurdle contenders to win since Nomadic Way in 1992. Nichols Canyon had been 3rd to Annie Power in 2015. Solwhit had been 6th to Binocular in 2010. Since Nomadic Way, Zaynar, Ashkazar, Hardy Eustace and Oscar Whisky tried unsuccessfully. Celestial Halo ran with merit when 2nd to Solwhit. He had been 4th to Binocular and 2nd to Punjabi in Champion Hurdles. Faugheen had a fantastic run in 3rd in 2019 as an 11 yr old.
IRISH TRAINED - Six from 15 runners last year. Ronald Pump 2nd for Matthew Smith at 20s, W Mullins 3rd with Bacardys. Matthew Smith does very well with small numbers. In 2019 Willie Mullins had Faugheen 3rd at 4s and Bapaume 16s in 4th, Bacardys 6th to follow Penhill and Nichols Canyon, Solwhit in 2013 first Irish Trained winner since Dorans Pride 1995. Placed Irish trained Supasundae 6/1, Annie Power (11/8 fav 2nd), Voler La Vedette, Mourad, Powerstation (3rd in 2010 and 2009) Kazal, Rule Supreme, Limestone Lad (twice), Golden Cross, Bannow Bay and Le Coudray as all placed in the last 16 races. Solerina and Sallie's Girl were also 4th.
W Mullins 2 wins and 2 placed in the last four.
Penhill, Nichols Canyon and placed horses Bacardys, Voler La Vedette and Powerstation in 2010 were not the shortest-priced of the Irish runners. Apples Jade shortest at 7/1 last year, retired. Snow Falcon, 5th behind Nichols Canyon in 2017, best of the Irish rest behind Nichols Canyon. 3 in 2016, best Alpha Des Obeaux in 2nd chasing Thistlecrack. Five tried in 2015, a disappointing bunch, best home was 8th.
Penhill, Nichols Canyon and Solwhit did not come from the Boyne Hurdle at Navan in mid February. The three previous Irish trained did. Also Golden Cross was 2nd here. Barcardys last run was to be stuffed by Apples Jade over 3m at Leopardstown at Xmas. 2019 Tiger Roll strolled around Navan, winning at 60s on the machine. What a horse. Solwhit had come from winning the 2m 4f Limestone Lad hurdle at Naas. The race has since been shortened to a 2 miler.
Mares with their 7 lbs allowance. 22 have tried in the past 24. One winner, 3 seconds, 2 thirds and four fourths. (Voler La Vedette 2nd under a great ride by Andrew Lynch in 2012, Annie Power 2nd 2014). None ran in 2016 or 2017, three in 2018, best Colins Sister RIP 33s in fourth including a disappointing Augusta Kate. Apples Jade faded to 8th last year. Benie Des Dieux.
Galmoy Hurdle - Benie Des Dieux perhaps should have come here last year? 2019 Bapaume 2nd at Gowran before 4th here, Augusta Kate 2nd to Presenting Percy 2018. 2017 Shaneshill PU in the Stayers after winning in Gowran. Alpha Des Obeaux 2nd in both 2016. Monskland 2015 2nd at Gowran, PU Cheltenham. Mourad wins at Gowran, 3rd behind Big Bucks. Powerstation 2nd at Gowran, 3rd to Big Bucks 2011. Worth considering.
NATIONAL SPIRIT HURDLE - Fontwell My Way De Solzen 2006 in the only horse to do the double. William Henry didn't come. Another one who may have regretted it.
32 from last 35 winners all 1st or 2nd in either of last two runs. Not Lisnagar Oscar, Cole Harden. Apart from Nichols Canyon (fell in Irish Champion Hurdle, everything since ’86 had finished in the first four last time out. All bar Lisnagar, Nichols and Cole of the last 16 winners were 1st or 2nd last time out. All bar Nichols and Cole of the last 16 winners did not finish outside the first 2 in any hurdle run that season. More Of That was unbeaten throughout career before this. (starting 15 months earlier with a 20/1 maiden hurdle win at the penultimate meeting ever held at Folkestone. We were there. Little did we think that we had witnessed a Stayers winner!)
Second season hurdlers - 16 of the last 25. 6 other versions were won by multiple winners after their first win. Nichols Canyon and Solwhit the first exceptions to this all since Anzum '99. 6 from 15 were second season hurdlers last year, including the winners.
17 of last 20 had won that season (Lisnagar Oscar hadn't had a great season, Penhill and 2004, Iris’s Gift – one run 2nd). Nichols Canyon had won the Morgiana. Cole Harden won the Wetherby G2 on Charlie Hall day.
Apart from Lisnagar Oscar (5) Penhill (0), last 18 winners number of previous runs that season between 1 and 4. Paisley Park 4s Nichols and Cole had 4. Thistlecrack and the nine previous winners from Cole Harden had no more than 3 runs.
Solwhit's win in 2013 was his 20th race over hurdles, Big Bucks' fourth win was his 29th, Inglis's third win was his 21st over hurdles, Nichols Canyon's was his 17th. Besides those, 16 of last 21 had between 6 and 17 runs over hurdles before this. Another exception was More Of That, only 4 previous runs. Big Bucks retired after 33 runs over hurdles. Lisnagar 9 previous hurdles, Paisley Park eight, Penhill nine.
Rustle, Karshi, Trapper John, Inglis Drever all placed in previous years Neptune Novice Hurdle before winning this. Cole Harden had finished 7th. N/A in 2016 though Nichols Canyon showed up a year later. Black Op 2nd to Samcro 2018, 13th here 2019. City island couldn't jump fences, came here instead, PU.
Lisnagar Oscar, Paisley Park, More Of That (Haydock 2m 4f Fixed Brush), Big Bucks (first time) and My Way De Solzen all ran in a handicap hurdle in the same season they won this. The last two winners in the big Haydock November h'cap.
HEADGEAR - No headgear winners from last 58 triers since Nomadic Way in 1992. 4 ran last year, Ronald Pump, 2nd in the hood always wore, three other first timers well down the field. Four ran in 2019, Sam Spinner carried out on shield in second, nothing else finished in first 12, 2018 had 3, all unplaced. Seven in 2017, valiant effort by Lil Rockerfeller in 2nd (missed his big chance by not running in the 2019 four miler said my torn up antepost docket). Only At Fishers Cross in the field in 2016 , his third attempt and PU. Four tried in 2015, Zarkandar 3rd.
HORSES IN FESTIVAL FORM - Paisley Park, Cole Harden and My Way de Solzen only ones of the last 22 not to have been placed (at least) in a Grade I hurdle in the previous years Festival if given the chance (Solwhit injured in 2012 - no appearance). Lisnagar Oscar 3rd behind Champ at Aintree G1. Doran’s Pride as well, but he fell at the last when disputing second in the Sun Alliance Novice Hurdle. Thistlecrack went to Aintree after the Imperial Cup win and missed Cheltenham.
Of the 28 different winners since ’83 only Lisnagar Oscar (5th in the AB), Paisley Park, Cole Harden, Big Bucks, My Way, Doran’s, Balasani and Shuil Ar Aghaidh had been unable to gain a place at the previous Festival when given the opportunity to do so. The latter pair had been unplaced in one of the handicap hurdles. Big Bucks was unplaced in the Jewson '08.
The Relkeel was won by Camping Ground with Cole Harden well behind in 2015. Relkeel had been won in 2013 by More Of That before winning here. 2019 both Midnight Shadow from Wholestone out with the washing in March. Summerville Boy 5th here last year after beating Roksana.
Sam Spinner improved a lot on 5th in 2018 to finish 2nd in 2019 when young Colliver stretched them out a bit more. Can't find a winner of this who finished unplaced in it the previous year. Bacardys improved from 6th to 3rd.
PRICE - Lisangar Oscar 50s, (tote 84s, betfair 110s) Penhill 12s, Nichols Canyon 10s, Cole Harden biggest priced winner since 1999. More Of That 15/2 2014. 8 favourites have won this century but five of those were return winners. Only Paisley Park and Thistlecrack of the last eight after that string from Big Buck's. 16 horses outside the first 4 in the betting have been placed since 2002. All three last year, Sam Spinner 33s 2019, Penhill and Wholestone in 3rd 2018, Lil Rockerfeller 33s, Bobs Worth 33s, Celestial Halo 40s, Smad Place 9s, Powerstation did it twice. Not a remarkable stat.
Cole Harden first frontrunner to be successful since Cyborgo in ’96. Limestone Lad placed in '02 giving his all behind the Fish (Baracouda). Bog Warrior a gallant front running 5th in 2013. Fractured his near fore coming down the hill.
TIMES: Fastest recent time was Bacchanal ‘00 in 5 mins 36 secs on good to firm followed by My Way De Solzen in 5.38. Cole Harden 5mins 41 the same time as Call The Cops in the Pertemps. Lisnagar Oscar was round in 6mins 3secs, a good three seconds slower than Sire du Berlais a little bit earlier, who was carrying 2lbs less. Paisley Park in 5 mins 54 soft one second slower than Sire De Berlais an hour earlier. Penhill 6 mins 20 in slow ground, 10 seconds slower than Delta Work earlier. Nichols Canyon 5 mins 50 secs, the same as Presenting Percy slightly earlier. Thistlecrack 5mins 43s, 6 secs faster than Mall Dini earlier. Iris Gift did it in 5.49, the Fish in ’03 was 5.41. More Of That 5 mins 49s was again the same time as the earlier h'cap.
Solwhit's 2013 Stayers Hurdle win was timed at 6 minutes 25 secs on officially good to soft ground. This was a full 25 secs slower than Holywell's win in the earlier handicap hurdle and the latter carried only 6lbs less.
ATTHERACES SIMON ROWLANDS SECTIONAL TIMINGS -
Times for the 3 mile novice hurdle run on the next day. Black Jack Ketchum 5.38 (same time as that years Stayers) and Witchita Lineman in 5.43 which was three seconds faster than his elders. Very Wood 5.50 in 2014. 2015 Martello Tower 6 mins dead after overnight rain. 2016 Unowhatimeanharry 5 mins 48 secs. 2017 Penhill in 5.50, the same as Nichols Canyon and Percy. Spooky. Novices carry 5 lb less. Kilbricken Storm 2018 was 6 mins 14 sec after Fabulous Saga tried to stretch them out. 2019 Minella Indo was 4 seconds slower but last year Monkfish's time was a good 5 seconds faster than the Stayers. Interesting.
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.