WEIGHT - The Storyteller 11st 4lb, 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. (2017 Road To Respect 10st 13lb (Pricewise winner) 2016 Empire Of Dirt 10st 11. 7 qualifiers. 2015 10 carried over 11st, Buywise best in 3rd (boy, he's cost me...) 2014, 3 carried over 11st, Colour Squadron 2nd and Johns Spirit 4th. 2013 8 over 11st best Hunt Ball in 4th) The Ryanair takes the best 155+ rated horses but placed horses can carry big weights. Village Vic top rated last year off 155.
18 from last 22 carried no more than 10st 11lbs including Empire Of Dirt, 1-2 in 2015, 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 17 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 31 not rated above 142). Last five all rated at least 140 increasing to The Storyteller last year off 147. Village Vic top rated last year off 155 down to Splash Of Ginge 137. 2017 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. None ran in 2018, Thomas Crapper only qualifier in 2017, 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 - The Storyteller at 5/1fav (backed from 7s on course) joins Salut Flo at 9/2 first favourite since Majadou '99 and then before that Political Pop '81. Besides those two favourites the rest this century 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 18, 12/1 or bigger.
TRIP - All bar Non So this century had been successful over trips between 2m3f and 2m5f (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, Mister McGoldrick 11 when he won (at tote price £147/1) Young Spartacus 10ys old in '03 . Apart from them, in last 16 years only eleven others paid a place dividend (2018 Splash Of Ginge, 25s in 2nd, Ballyalton, 11 yrs, 25s in 4th from five qualifiers. In 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. 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 14 placed aged 10 and above including the 3 winners. All bar Splash, Holmwood and Tatenen had previous placed course form. Last season Ballyalton previous Festival winner. Thomas Crapper placed in two Festival h'caps. These 14 came from a total of 41 horses aged 10 and above. (Splash Of Ginge won the G3 BetVictor last season, Tatenen was a G2 Chase course winner). Prices of the 12 ranged from 7s to 66s. Worth considering 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 last three years. Splash Of Ginge, Kings Odyssey, Ballyalton.
NEW COURSE CHASE FORM - I like this - Taking out the last three Irish trained winners who had never raced here before, 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. All seven had actually been beaten in a previous New course chase. 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. Splash had won a New Course chase in 2015 but had been well beaten twice last season in New Course chases.
Every winner this century bar the last three Irish trained 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 27 had competed at a previous Festival (the other 7 had less than 12 chase runs, Storyteller 3, Respect 5, Empire 11). 4 had run in the County. Ballynagour 8th to Carrickboy in 2013, Carrickboy 6th in a Close Bros, Great Endeavour unpl in '09 Coral Cup. Something Wells 'disputing 4th when fell in '08 Close Bros. Mister McGoldrick placed in '06 Queen Mother. 5 of the last 14 winners were were in their 3rd season chasing. Last two winners were novices.
All this century 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). The Storyteller had won a 9k euro Novice Hurdle, but only a beginners chase.
M/D.Pipe. Seven winners in last 19. Pretty good. M Pipe won four in five years between '97 and '02 with four different horses and four different jockeys. D. Pipe has now won three in the last nine years. Also Kings Socks 7/1 in 5th last year, Starchitect 5th 6/1 in 2017, 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 18 runners in David's nine years. His three winners were returned 8/1, 9/2f and 12/1. According to the Racing Post race reports they all shortened in price on course 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. Always worth considering.
N Henderson Two winners, a third and a fourth in the last twelve. (Last year Pougne Bobbi 16s and unplaced, 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). 2018 no luck in 2 runners including 8/1 Movewiththetimes PU, 2017 Bouvreil 3rd, Art Mauresue 8th. 2016 three tried including Stilletto 11/2 jfav fell, 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 2008 and 5th 2010.
V Williams 3 winners and two seconds in the last twelve. Usually not the obvious one. A beaten faller and two PUs covering the last two years. Tango De Juilley 2nd at 33s 2016. Idole First winner at 12s, Carrickboy 50s, Something Wells was 33s
IRISH TRAINED - The Storyteller, Road To Respect and Empire Of Dirt the first Irish Trained winners of this in since Doubleuagain in 1982. The latter two both Gigginstown. Two Elliotts and Colm Murphy. Only The Last Goodbye as well last year, 10th. Only Diamond King as well in 2017, 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. Punching well above numbers.
Novices - 7 winners, three seconds, two thirds and a fourth in past 23 races. Winner last year from two qualifiers. A 1-2 in 2017 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 Storyleller and Road To Respect of the last 6 winning novices to had at least placed course form. Ping Pong Sivola, 2nd as a novice in '09 also had winning course form. Last three novice winners rated 147, 145, 133 and 135. The latter two would have just got a run in the past two renewals.
19 from last 20 winners ran between 3 and 16 times over fences. The Storyteller 3, Respect 5, Empire 11, Darna 9, Ballynagour 8 runs, Carrickboy 16 runs. Mister McGoldrick (152/1 tote, I know a couple of gurus who looked at the Tote window that day just before the off and decided that he wasn't big enough) previously third in a QM had 33 previous chases before winning this.
JOCKEYS - 7 of the last 29 winners ridden by conditional jockeys including 2009, '10, '11. None since. Jamie Bargary (3) on Splash Of Ginge an enterprising second. (N Twiston-Davies interviewed on Racing TV just before the off said 'no chance.' No offence but amazing how little even the trainer knows) Jack Kennedy (3) only conditional placed one in the last four before that.
THAT SEASON - 28 of last 33 winners all between 3 and 8 previous runs that season. (Not Ballynagour, one run, Salut Flo, one run. The Storyteller 4)
23 of last 35 first or second in either of last two runs (not in '07, '08, '10, '12 '14, '15 or The Storyteller). Not a helpful fact in the search for a form selection.
Only 24 of last 33 had won in the same season. Includes the last four.
19 of last 27 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, The Storyteller 7th to Monalee in the Flogas).
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. Baron Alco, Guitar Pete, Javert, Mister Whitaker? None of the last 12 were placed in any of the big Cheltenham 2m 5hcaps that season. Baron Alco, Guitar Pete, Mister Whitaker, Frodon, Cepage. If Frodon turns up in this, I'm giving the game up. However great run by Splash of Ginge in second 2018 who had won the BetVictor last season. (I put it down to the soft/heavy ground rarely seen in March). The 2m 4f handicap chase at Kempton in mid January has produced 3 of the last 15.
Five of the last seven winners hadn't been seen for at least 42 days. But not the last two. Storyteller 39 days, Road To Respect 25.
BREEDING French breds have won 7 of the last 17 and finished placed in 8 others (Kings Socks best in 5th from five qualifiers last year. Baron Alco 2nd and Bouvreuil in 4th in 2017 from 8, 2016 Tango De Julliet 2nd and Full Shift 4th 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 16 from 61 triers. Five last year, best Ballyalton in 4th. Nine in 2017, Bouvreuil 4th, ten in total prvious two years, all unplaced. Two in 2014 wore first time headgear, both unpl.
This century 30 beaten favourites last time ran. No winners. Two last year, Movewithetimes 8/1 PU. Villlage Vic 11th in 2017, Kings Palace and Full Shift BFs 2016.
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 Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol. A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.