AGE Great horses defy trends. Sprinter Sacre first 10 yr old to win since Moscow Flyer won at 11 yrs. 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 20 years to have been placed. Moscow’s win at 11 first since from that age group since Skymas ’77. In the last 24 years, the winner's roll call reads aged 5 (1) 6 (2), 7(5), 8(7), 9(5), 10(3), 11(1). Apart from Sprinter and Moscow, no winner older than 9 since One Man '98. This century 41 horses older than 9 tried (other than Moscow and Sprinter). Only 4 of those started at less than 10/1, all 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. Champagne Fever 10yrs, Sire De Grugy 11yrs, Special Tiara 10 yrs
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.
Seven yr olds. 5 winners and 4 seconds from 23 runners in last 22 renewals. Dodging was a 7yr old winner. Module 3rd 2014. Sprinter Sacre and Sanctuare (4th) 2013. None ran in 2016.
BETTING Three winning favourites in the last 9 including 2013 and 2014. 2011 Sizing Europe 10s followed Big Zeb at 10s and Newmill's 16/1 success in ’06 as rare big price winners here. 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 and in 2015 Somersby was returned at 33s. This tends to have small fields. (Largest field ever was 13 in 1999). Newmill is the only winner of this in the past 34 to be returned over 11/1.
This century 17 horses beaten favourite last time have run. No winners. Two ran in 2015 Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy
FORM 30 of last 32 had won that season (exceptions Sizing Europe and Martha’s Son ’97 one outing - Fell). 28 from last 32 had been 1st or 2nd last time (Martha’s, Edredon Bleu 3rd, Voy unseated, Sizing Europe 3rd).
Dodging Bullets, Sire De Grugy, Sprinter Sacre (first time) and Klairon Davis of the past 23 had failed to win over at least 2 miles 2 furlongs earlier in career. 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 26 had won over 2 and 1/2 miles (None of the last four nor Master Minded).
All last 14 had won over at least 2m 1f. Hardly a shock.
Since ’95 Klairon Davis, Moscow Flyer (2), Newmill, Big Zeb and Sizing Europe have won for Irish trainers. Reasonable from 50 runners over 21 years. Un De Sceaux second 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 this century, all bar two 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. No double last year. Sire De Grugy finished last. The Tingle Creek Chase has produced at least one subsequent Festival winner from 12 of the last 16 runnings. 2011 - Oiseau de Nuit won Grand Annual. 8 of last 12 winners of this ran at Sandown finishing 21214111 there. Un De Sceaux
All bar Dodging and Sizing of the last 22 winners had won more than half of their completed NH starts. 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 every year). Let us say all winners of had won at least 45% all NH starts.
5 from last ten won Desert Orchid Kempton. 5 didn't. Special Tiara.
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. Sire De Grugy
14 of last 15 rated at least 160 and had previously won a Grade 1 race. 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.
18 from last 19 all ran at least 7 times over fences. Sprinter (first time) and Finians Rainbow with 7 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 18. Somersby always wore cheekpieces.
CHELTENHAM FORM Since 1959 there have been 11 back to back winners of this, five in the past 33 years but only Master Minded in the last 22 yrs. Apart from MM, last 13 to come back have failed to defend their crown. All those four back to back winners started the second year as short priced favourite. No Grand Annual/Queen Mother double since Kababatic ’91. (Solar Impulse). 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). Sprinter has retired.
24 from last 32 won or placed at Festival before, the best return for this stat in the 4 Championship races. (Dodging 4th of 20 in a Triumph Hurdle and a three time course winner, 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 '09. However, in the past 32 yrs only Edredon Bleu in 2000 has improved on a placed effort one year to win it the next. Started 7/2 2nd fav when he won. Un De Sceaux, Special Tiara
The last 15 Arkle winners to run all made the first three.
30 from last 33 either course winners or won over 2m2f. Not Sire.
All bar Sprinter Sacre of the last 14 ran since the turn of the year. He won the Desert Orchid Kempton on 27th Dec. Four days and hardly vital.
Paul Nicholls - 5 winners and 5 placed from 26 runners since 1999. Dodging broke his losing Festival chase run of 81 runners stretching back to Kauto in 2009. Finished 7th last year.
2016 Queen Mother Form. Sprinter retired. Un De Sceaux good win in rerouted G1 Clarence House. Gods Own two G1 wins Aintree and Punchestown. Special Tiara won G2 Desert Orchid. Picks up decent prizes every season. The rest of last year's field either are retired or not very good.
All since 1978 either placed last time or F or U.
Last 14 winners of the Arkle to have lined up for the next years Queen Mother Champion Chase have been placed at least. Seven won, Sprinter Sacre the latest. Un De Sceaux didnt.
2016 Arkle - Douvan walked it from Sizing John and Fox Norton. Vaniteux may have been second if not unseating two out. Sizing may be going for Ryanair but Fox Norton is now second favourite for this after a decent G2 course win. Dodging Bullets had been 4th in the Arkle in 2014. 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: Sprinter 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. The races are both run on Old Course.
PLACED HORSES - Going back to Lord Dorcet in 1998 all bar Dempsey and Petit Robin of the 32 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 Dorcethad previously been placed in a Grade 1. 13 of The last 14 placed horses in this were all previous Grade 1 winners. Not Module.
BREEDING. 5 of past 7 winners under 8 yrs of age were French Bred. Have won 7 from last 16. Dodging Bullets was allegedly bred in England be Frankie Dettori, 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 (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.