• Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Steeple Chase


    After a gap of 34 yrs, Irish trainers have jogged the last two with Gigginstown owned.

    The last seven winners had no placed chase course form

    All 5 winners 2011 to 2015 plus the last two runners up had all been beaten in a New Course chase no later than the previous year's Festival.

    Only Empire Of Dirt from the last eight had won a Graded race

    D Pipe has won three of the past eight

    18 from the past 19 had run between 3 and 16 times over fences

    19 from the past 21 carried no more than 10st 13lbs

    Salut Flo only favourite to win this century

    20 from the last 21 previous successful at trips between 2m 3f and 2m 5f



    (Calling it 'The Mildmay' is usually easier. In 2015 the race distance returned to 2m and abt 5f after one year at 2m 4f.)

    Gigginstown runners bear the closest scrutiny. Not carrying over 10st 13lb unless previous placed Festival form. Rated between 130 and 145. Winner not older than 10. Older horses do get placed. If backing a 10 yr old or older prefer one with placed course form. Winner will have won at Class 3 level and at a distance between 2m3f and 2m5f. Will either have competed in a previous festival race or will have less than 12 chase runs.
    Has run between 3 and 16 times over fences. If out at all, will have run between 3 and 8 times this season or be Pipe trained. Could have finished anywhere last time out. Did not gain a place in this season’s on course 2m 5f Graded Handicap Chases. Any price. Novice, Irish trained and a French Bred to gain place. Watch for French Bred 6 yr olds. Not blinkered. Consider D Pipe 12/1 and under and Venetia Williams. Not P Nicholls. Wasn't beaten favourite last time. Winner may have been given a 'sighter' in a course chase no later than last year's Festival and has no course win form . Either that or never has run at the course before.

  • Evidence

    WEIGHT - Mister McGoldrick '08 11st 7 and Non So ’06 11st 3 are the only ones since Elfast '94 to carry over 11st to victory. Apart from Half Free (3 time Festival winner) and dual winners Elfast and The Tsarevich, no other winner since ’77 has carried more than 11st to victory. (Last year Road To Respect 10st 13lb (Pricewise winner) 2016 Empire Of Dirt 10st 11. 7 qualifiers. 2015 10 carried over 11st, Buywise best in 3rd. 2014 3 carried over 11st, Colour Squadron 2nd and Johns Spirit 4th. 2013 8 over 11st best Hunt Ball in 4th) The Ryanair seems to take the best 155+ rated horses but placed horses can carry big weights.


    18 from last 21 carried no more than 10st 11lbs including Empire Of Dirt, 1-2 in 2015 and the 1-3 in both of the previous two years and the 1-2-3 in each of the three years before that. All last 16 rated between 128 and 147. - Road To Respect 145, Empire of Dirt 142, Darna and Ballynagour both at 140 Carrickboy 136, Salut Flo 137. (27 from last 30 not rated above 142). Last year ratings went from 158 to 133 with bottom weight on 10st 1lb. 2016 157 to 135 with 10st 4 the bottom weight before claims.


    4 of last 26 winners out of handicap. Last one Tikram 3lb 'wrong' in '04. '09 Ping Pong Sivola 1lb 'wrong', favourite and 2nd. 2012 two out of the handicap and unplaced.


    Eight of the last 18 runners carrying a penalty have been placed. Thomas Crapper only qualifier last year, finished 4th. None ran 2016. Shangani unpl 2014. 2012 Niceonefrankie unpl, '11 Holmwood only qualifier and won, '09 sole qualifier Pop was 'going ok when fell 4 out’.


    PRICE - Salut Flo at 9/2 first favourite since Majadou '99 and then before that Political Pop '81. Besides Salut Flo the last 15 winners ranged between 12/1 and 66/1. Last 4 winners returned at 14s, (a sweet) 16s, 33s (Darna Pricewise paper tip at 40s), 12s and Carrickboy at 50s (This race has probably the current worst record for favs in Festival). 16 of last 17, 12/1 or bigger.

    TRIP - 21 from last 21 previously been successful over trips between 2m3f and 2m5f (plus Non So who may have been, if he hadn’t fallen two out in one such chase).


    AGED 10 AND ABOVE - Holmwood Legend was 10 yrs old, Mr McGoldrick 11 when he won (at tote price £147/1) Young Spartacus 10ys old in '03 . Apart from them, in last 15 years only nine others paid a place dividend (2017 Thomas Crapper 7s and 4th, 2014 Tatenen 3rd at 33s, 2013 Tartak 4th, both 10 yr olds, '10 Mr McGoldrick (13 yrs old) 33/1 4th, In 2008 Fundamentalist, a 10 yr old, was third @28s to Mr McGoldrick, an 11yr old @66s). Two ran in 2017, 11 ran 2016, and 7 in 2015, best placing in both was 6th.

    As stated, in the last 15 renewals there have been 12 placed aged 10 and above including the 3 winners. All bar Holmwood had previous placed course form. Thomas Crapper placed in two Festival h'caps. These 12 came from a total of 36 horses aged 10 and above. (Tatenen was a G2 Chase course winner). Prices of the 12 ranged from 7s to 66s. Worth considering however if they are aged 10+ and running in this, it is likely that a few of them have been round here before.


    RETURNERS can run well in this race. Two dual winners, Elfast and The Tsarevich. Mr McGoldrick, Dublin Flyer, Smartie Express, King of the Lot and Fondmort were placed on more than one occasion. Palarshan 2nd '07 finished 5th '08. In 2012 Divers finished 4th in this a year after winning the novice handicap chase on the Tuesday. Tartak finished 5th and 3rd in 2012 and 2013, the first time as top weight, 2013 he was bottom weight. Didn't happen in 2016 or 2017. Baron Alco, Bouvreuil, Thomas Crapper


    NEW COURSE CHASE FORM - I like this - Taking out Empire and Road to Respect, the previous five winners of this as well as both seconds in 2017 and 2016, Baron Alco and Tango De Juilley had no course win form but all had actually been beaten in a previous New course chase. The two Gigginstown horses had never run here before. Four of those five winners and the two seconds had been given a course 'sighter' in the season they won. Baron Alco second in a New Course novice. Carrickboy 6th in the novice hcap chase the previous year. All seven had previous chase experience of the New Course over the trip. 6 qualifiers last year, including 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Of all the seven, Baron Alco the only one to have been placed in a New Course chase.


    Every winner this century bar Road To Respect, Empire of Dirt and Great Endeavour (a novice with only 3 runs) had contested a race at the track. Only Young Spartacus this century had previously won a course chase.


    19 from last 26 had competed at a previous Festival (the other 7 had less than 12 chase runs, Respect 5, Empire 11). 4 had run in the County. Ballynagour 8th to Carrickboy in 2013, Carrickboy 6th in a Poultney, Great Endeavour unpl in '09 Coral Cup. Something Wells 'disputing 4th when fell in '08 Jewson. Mister McGoldrick placed in '06 Queen Mother. 5 of the last 13 winners were were in their 3rd season chasing.


    All last 21 had won at Class 3 level or higher. But only Empire of Dirt of the last 9 had won a Graded Race (the £60k Leopardstown Chase over 2m5f)



    M/D.Pipe. Seven winners in last 18. Pretty good. M Pipe won four in five years between '97 and '02 with four different horses and four different jockeys. (Names please? Answers at foot of page) D. Pipe has now won three in eight years with Starchitect 5th 6/1 last year, Kings Palace 3rd at 11s 2016 and Monetaire 11/2 fav second in 2015 after a tardy start. Great Endeavour winner 2010. 2011 Consigliere 4th, Matuhi 6th. 2013 4 runners all unpl including Ballynagour 7/2 fav. That year Matuhi suffered a fatal fall at the last when in 3rd. Ballynagour won in 2014. Out of a total of 17 runners in David's eight years. The three winners were returned 8/1, 9/2f and 12/1. According to the Racing Post race reports they all shortened in price in the run up to the race. Imagine that. As did Starchitect. During the eight years his only other 3 horses running at single figure prices were Starchitect, Ballynagour 7/2 fav unpl and Notus de la Tour 8/1 fell at the third fence in Salut Flo's year.


    N Henderson Two winners, a third and a fourth in the last eleven. (2017 Cocktails At Dawn PU, 2016 Full Shift 4th, nothing placed in the previous six years). P Nicholls has never won this (and is well aware of the fact if you read his column). 2017 Bouvreil 3rd, Art Mauresue 8th. 2016 three tried including Stilletto 11/2 jfav F, and Art Mauresque PU at 11s. Caid Du Berlais 11/1 unpl 2015.
    Poquelin PU 2013. Crack Away Jack pu in 2012 went off at 13/2. Gwanako 2nd '08 and 5th '10.


    V Williams 3 winners and two seconds in the last eleven. Usually not the obvious one. Two PUs last year. Tango De Juilley 2nd at 33s 2016. Idole First winner at 12s, Carrickboy 50s, Something Wells was 33s


    IRISH TRAINED - Road To Respect and Empire Of Dirt the first Irish Trained winners of this in since Doubleuagain in 1982. Both Gigginstown. Take a bow, Colm Murphy. Only Diamond King as well last year, PU. 3 others tried in 2016, best of the rest Ballycasey in 5th. In the previous 23, 2015 Rawnaq 3rd at 25s from 4 runners, 2012 Glam Gerry 3rd from 2 runners @33s, 2011 Beautiful Sound 3rd, only entry and fav, '10 Notable D'Estruval 3rd. Cregg House ‘03 and Its Time For A Win '02 were placed. Sraid Padraig Unpl 2014. Punch well above numbers.   


    Novices - 6 winners, three seconds, two thirds and a fourth in past 221 races. A 1-2 last year from seven qualifiers. 2016 a 4th from 2 runners. 2015 3rd and 5th from 4 runners. Nothing placed previous two years. 2012 Pipe trained Notus de La Tour only novice 8/1 fell at the 3rd. None placed 2011, 1st and 2nd 2010 from 5 qualifiers, ’04 Tikram. All bar Road To Respect of the last 5 winning novices to win this had at least placed course form. Also Ping Pong Sivola, 2nd as a novice in '09 also had winning course form. Last three novice winners rated 145, 133 and 135. The latter two would have just got a run in the past two renewals.


    18 from last 19 winners ran between 3 and 16 times over fences. Respect 5, Empire 11, Darna 9, Ballynagour 8 runs, Carrickboy 16 runs. Mister McGoldrick (152/1 tote, I know a boy that day who didn't think it was big enough) previously third in a QM had 33 previous chases before winning this.


    JOCKEYS - 7 of the last 28 winners ridden by conditional jockeys including 2009, '10, '11. Jack Kennedy (3) only placed one in the last four.


    THAT SEASON 28 of last 33 winners all between 3 and 8 previous runs that season. (Not Ballynagour, one run, Salut Flo, one run, Holmwood - seven)

    23 of last 34 first or second in either of last two runs (not in '07, '08, '10, '12 '14 or 2015). Not a helpful fact in the search for a form selection.

    Only 23 of last 32 had won in the same season. Includes the last three.

    19 of last 26 had not finished worse than 4th last time. (’02 Blowing Wind 5th, ’03 Young Spartacus not been out that season, Mister McG had been 5th, Salut Flo 12th in G3 course Handicap chase, Carrickboy and Ballynagour both PU, Darna 7th in 2m4f h'cap on Cheltenham Trials Day. Had a breathing op since that).


    Darna, Salut Flo, Idole First, Liberthine and Sacre D’or only winners since ’83 to have run in the Graded December or January 2m 4f Handicaps at Cheltenham that season. Ballynagour first winner to have run in the Paddy Power since Half Free '84. None of the last 11 were placed in any of the big Cheltenham 2m 5hcaps that season. The 2m 4f handicap chase at Kempton in mid January has produced 3 of the last 14. (Mercian Prince)

    Five of the last six winners hadn't been seen for at least 42 days. Road To Respect 25 days


    BREEDING French breds have won 7 of the last 16 and finished placed in 8 others (Baron Alco and Bouvreuil last year from 8 qualifiers, 2016 Tango and Full Shift from 6 runners, Monetaire 2015, none placed 2014, 10 ran in 2013, finished 2nd and 3rd. 6 in 2012 finished 1st and 4th, 1 - 2 - 3 in '09 from 12 runners). Three of the four winners aged less than 7 were French breds. (exception Great Endeavour).


    BLINKERS CHEEKPIECES ETC - No winners in 15 from 56 triers. Nine last year, Bouvreuil ten in total prvious two years, all unplaced. Two in 2014 wore first time headgear, both unpl.

    This century 28 beaten favourites last time ran. No winners. Villlage Vic last year, Kings Palace and Full Shift BFs 2016.




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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 (Gary).  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 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

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