AGE - 'Great horses defy trends.' Douvan was, I think, unfortunate in 2017. Special Tiara (RIP) joined Sprinter Sacre to be the first 10 yr olds to win since Moscow Flyer won at 11 yrs. Only five finished last year, Gods Own as a ten year old stole 3rd at 40s.
Somersby 2nd 2015, Sizing Europe 2nd 2013, Big Zeb 3rd 2012, Moscow Flyer (win ’05) and Tuitchev 3rd ‘04 only horses aged 11 or over in last 21 years to have been placed. Moscow’s win at 11 first since from that age group since Skymas ’77. In the last 26 years, the winner's roll call reads aged 5 (1) 6 (2), 7(5), 8(8), 9(5), 10(4), 11(1). Apart from Tiara, Sprinter and Moscow, no winner older than 9 since One Man '98. This century 45 horses older than 9 tried (other than the three winners). Only 4 of those started at less than 10/1, all of those finished placed at least. Sizing Europe, Big Zeb twice each and Fota Island. Somersby finished second twice aged 10 and 11 at 14s and 33s. Simply Ned 12yrs Gods Own 11yrs Un De Sceaux 11yrs.
Master Minded first five year old to win. Voy Por Ustedes had been the first six year old winner of this in 35 years. Then MM won as a six yr old. Only 13 six year olds have actually run in this race since ‘88. One since Petit Robin 3rd '09. None last year.
Seven yr olds. 5 winners and 6 seconds from 29 runners in last 24 renewals. Min second last year from three triers, Fox Norton similar in 2017, including the Douvan at 1/4. None ran in 2016. Dodging Bullets was a 7yr old winner. Module 3rd 2014. Sprinter Sacre and Sanctuare (4th) 2013.
BETTING - Three winning favourites in the last six including 2013 and '14. 2017 Special Tiara 11s followed Sizing Europe 10s, Big Zeb at 10s and Newmill's 16/1 success in ’06 as decent priced winners. Before that Deep Sensation 11/1 in 1994 highest priced winner since at least 1983. Between ’91 and ’04 only three of the 50 that started bigger than 14/1 got placed. Then Mister McGoldrick was 3rd in ’06 at 50/1 and ’07 placed horses Dempsey 20s and River City 33s. Module at 20s 3rd 2014, 2015 Somersby 2nd at 33s. 2016 Special Tiara 3rd at 16s 2017 Sir Valentino 3rd at 33s followed by Gods Own 40s last year. This race always tends to have small fields. (Largest field ever was 13 in 1999). Newmill is the only winner of this in the past 35 to be returned over 11/1.
This century 18 horses beaten favourite last time or joint favourites have run. Douvan last year, Finians Rainbow only winnner Last two qualifiers ran in 2015. Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy
FORM - 32 of last 34 had won that season (exceptions Sizing Europe and Martha’s Son ’97 one outing - Fell). 29 from last 34 had been 1st or 2nd last time (Tiara 5th to In De Sceaux in a soft ground rescheduled Clarence House, Martha’s, Edredon Bleu 3rd, Voy unseated, Sizing Europe 3rd).
Only Special Tiara, Dodging Bullets, Sire De Grugy, Sprinter Sacre (first time) and Klairon Davis of the past 24 had failed to win over at least 2 miles 2 furlongs earlier in career. Tiara is never winning over 2m 2f. Sire did win novice hurdle over 17.5 furlongs. Sprinter Sacre previously 2nd in an 20 furlong Ascot Novice Hurdle. Klairon Davis had fallen early in his two attempts at longer distances. 16 of last 28 had won over 2 and 1/2 miles (None of the last six nor Master Minded).
All last 16 had won over at least 2m 1f. Hardly a shock. Special Tiara's only win over more than the 2m minimum was when 4th fav in a Ballinrobe beginners chase. Hard to believe.
Since ’95 Special Tiara, Klairon Davis, Moscow Flyer (2), Newmill, Big Zeb and Sizing Europe have won for Irish trainers. Reasonable from 55 runners over 23 years. But Douvan 1/4. 2016 Un De Sceaux second at 4/6. Min best last year, 2015 Special Tiara (18s) best in third. Sizing flying the flag best in 4th 2014, sole representative in 2013 and 2nd. In 2012 the three Irish finished 2nd, 3rd and 5th. In 2011 the 4 Irish trained horses filled the first 4 places.
Tingle Creek/Queen Mother double. Six have done it this century, all bar three winners at Sandown have come here. Dodging Bullets, Sire De Grugy, Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded '09, Moscow Flyer '05, Flagship Uberalles '02 going back to Viking Flagship '95. All bar Dodging Bullets were Queen Mother favourites. 2012 Sizing Europe pipped on the run in by Finians Rainbow after the nonsense with the last fence, if you remember. No double 2016. Sire De Grugy finished last. Willie placed Un De Sceaux well in 2017 to run away with the Ryanair. Politilogue only fourth here last year after winning at Sandown. The Tingle Creek Chase has produced at least one subsequent Festival winner from 13 of its last 18 runnings. Didnt last year. 8 of last 13 winners of this ran at Sandown finishing 21214111 there. Altior
All bar Special Tiara, Dodging and Sizing of the last 23 winners had won more than half of their completed NH starts. Tiara a shocking 28 runs and 6 wins, Dodging was 8 from 18, Sizing 10 from 23 (I admit Newmill had only 9 wins from 20 runs before his triumph but you do humour me each year). Let us say all bar Special Tiara had won at least 45% all NH starts. Altior has won 18 from 20.
Last winner with only one previous run this season was Flagship Uberalles 2002 and Call Equiname 1999. Uberalles came from winning a Tingle Creek and Equiname won a rescheduled Victor Chandler h'cap at Kempton.
6 from last eleven won the Desert Orchid at Kempton including the 2017 winner. 5 didn't. Altior
Sprinter Sacre, Moscow Flyer 2003 and 2005, Royal Relief 1972 and 1974 are the only three to have regained crown. Moscow was 11yrs old and the 6/4 fav. Not relevant this year.
14 of last 16 rated at least 160 and had previously won a Grade 1 race. Not Special Tiara but he had won two G1s and had just come down to 159 after two years in the 160s. Sprinter (second time) 170, Dodging 171, Sire 169. Last 19 winners had all previously won at least a Grade 2 and had no more than 4 outings that season. Only Master Minded had yet to win a G1.
19 from last 20 all ran at least 7 times over fences. Sprinter (first time) and Finians Rainbow with 7 each had the least, all the rest had more including Master Minded first time.
No mare has ever won this race. No blinkered/cheekpieces winner in last 19.
CHELTENHAM FORM - Since 1959 there have been 11 back to back winners of this, five in the past 34 years but only Master Minded in the last 23 yrs. Apart from MM, last 13 to come back have failed to defend their crown. Special Tiara. All those five back to back winners started the second year as short priced favourite. No Grand Annual/Queen Mother double since Kababatic ’91. (Rock The World but that is Robbie Power on http://www.gaultstats.com/blog/momentum-relief ). Badsworth Boy's treble was completed in '85, he was a 10 yr old, had 4 opponents, started at 11/8f and strolled home (Bobsline fell 3 out, some say Frank 'Tightlips' Berry was unlucky, others allege he wrestled him to the ground. A hoary chestnut).
26 from last 34 won or placed at Festival before, the best return for this stat in the 4 Championship races. (Special Tiara 3rd of 10 in 2016 version to Sprinter Sacre. Dodging Bullets only 4th of 20 in a Triumph Hurdle and a three time course winner but I'll give it to him). Not Sire De Grugy, had never previously ran at the Festival but had been 2nd in a November G2 Novice Chase, (Sprinter Sacre Arkle winner, Finians Rainbow was 2nd in 2011 Arkle). Two of the other eight were course winners. Master Minded (first win) and Newmill had never been there before. Big Zeb fell in this in his only other visit to Cheltenham in '09. However, in the past 33 yrs only Special Tiara and Edredon Bleu in 2000 have improved on a placed effort one year to win it the next. Edredon started 7/2 2nd fav when he won. Min
16 of the last 17 Arkle winners to run, made the first three. Eight won. Altior and Sprinter Sacre the latest to do so. Not Un De Sceaux (2nd), Douvan unplaced. Footpad
31 from last 34 either course winners or won over 2m2f. Not Special Tiara, not Sire De Grugy.
All bar Sprinter Sacre of the last 16 ran since the turn of the year. He won the Desert Orchid Kempton on 27th Dec. Four days and hardly vital. Altior had a wind op and had been missing 287 days before his prep jog in the Game Spirit.
Paul Nicholls - 5 winners and 5 placed from 27 runners since 1999. Politologue a touch disappointing in 4th last year, no runners 2017. Dodging Bullets broke that losing Festival chase run of 81 runners stretching back to Kauto in 2009. No runners 2017. Politologue?
2018 Queen Mother Form. Altior powers away up the hill in 4 mins 8, seven lengths away from Min. Douvan, running away when fell at top of the hill. Altior traded well above evens when outpaced down the hill but Politologue just stopped. Min returns to fight this year and won well in Dublin RF. The rest of last year's field either are either or not very good. Tends to be the view most years. (Its the fault of the Ryanair, I can hear Lydia and Steve.) Footpad the only real newcomer/danger.
All bar Special Tiara since 1978 either placed last time or F or U. He had been 5th.
2018 Arkle - Ruby on Footpad (5/6) strolled behind Davy on Petit Mouchoir and Aidan on Saint Calvados (11/4 2nd fav) as they cut their own throats in a bog. 4mins 2 secs was a fair enough time but I thought poor enough rides by two senior jockeys. Unlike 2017, the time was better in standard than the Supreme or the Champion Hurdle last year. Interesting. Footpad's Arkle time was 5 secs faster than Altior's QM the next day. The novices carry 6 lb less. In 2016 Douvan's Arkle time was 3 mins 49 and .3 of a second faster than Sprinter Sacre the next day. Un De Sceaux's Arkle time was 3 mins 51 secs, only one and a half seconds faster than Dodging Bullets the next day. The 2014 Arkle time was 3.47 two seconds faster than the QM the next day. The seniors now carry 6lbs more as from 2014, a change from what was always 3lbs. Sprinter Sacre and Captain Chris also outspeeded their seniors in their respective Arkle years with only 3lb less.
Queen Mother Times: Altior 4 mins 7 secs, Special Tiara 3 mins 55s, Sprinter Sacre, 3 mins 49secs. Dodging Bulllets 4.00, Sire De Grugy 3.49, Sprinter Sacre 4.01 Finians Rainbow 3.52 Sizing Europe 3.54 Big Zeb 3 51, MM 2 4mins, MM1 3 56, Voy 3 53, Newmill 3 51, Moscow Flyer 3.54, Azer 3.54. Proves little. The races are both run on Old Course.
Simon Rowlands times views on this link
PLACED HORSES - Going back to Lord Dorcet in 1998 all bar Dempsey and Petit Robin of the 36 placed horses since were already at least Grade 2 chase winners. (Some years less than 8 runners) Dempsey himself came here on the back of a facile Sandown Grade 3 success in February of that year. Petit Robin, Dempsey and Lord Dorcet had previously been placed in a Grade 1. 14 of The last 17 placed horses in this were all previous Grade 1 winners. Not Min only G2last year. Not Module and neither of 2017's two, Fox Norton nor Sir Valentino, both only G2 winners before this.
BREEDING. 5 of past 7 winners under 8 yrs of age were French Bred. Have won 7 from last 17. Dodging Bullets was allegedly bred in England by Frankie Dettori though I'm not sure how much he knew about it. Altior and Special Tiara IRE bred, Un De Sceaux is French, Sire De Grugy is French. Sprinter Sacre is French Bred from Network, a German Sire
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.