• Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Steeple Chase

    HEADLINES

    After a gap of 34 yrs, Irish trained have won three of the last five

    The last four winners were novice chasers. Last 6 were making their Festival debut.

    Last nine winners aged six to nine years

    None of the last seven, more than 11 previous chase runs. Only one winner this century had more than 16.

    Only two of the last 11 had previously won a Graded race

    D Pipe trained three winners between 2010-2014. Since then a top five finisher in every renewal where he had a runner.

    No winners in the last 18 wearing any sort of headgear or BF last time out

    Only three winning favourites this century

    Summary

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

    Watch for Irish trained and Gigginstown runners especially if coming from Graded races. Novices and fancied French breds in vogue. Not carrying over 10st 13lb unless previous placed Festival form or a compressed h'cap. Rated between 130 and 149. Not older than nine years. Older horses do get placed. If backing a 10 yr old or older look for placed course form. Winner will have won at least 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 a total of between 3 and 16 times over fences. Has run between 3 and 8 times this season or Pipe trained. May have gained a place in this season’s on course 2m 5f Graded Handicap Chases. A 10/1+ perhaps due. No headgear wearers. Consider D Pipe 12/1 and under and Venetia Williams. Not P Nicholls. Wasn't beaten favourite last time. Check for those with a New Course 'sighter' over the past 12 months.

  • Honours Board

    Year |||Form||| Winner |||Age||| Weight||| OR||| SP||| Trainer||| Jockey |||Last race (No of days)

    2020||| 1121 |||Simply The Betts |||7||| 11-4||| 149||| 100/30F ||| H Whittington ||| G Sheehan |||1st Cl2 Chelt Nov H'cap (47)

    2019||| 111||| Siruh du Lac |||6 |||10-8||| 141||| 9/2 |||N Williams||| L Kelly(3) |||1st G3 Chelt H'cap (47)

    2018||| 2137||| The Storyteller |||7 |||11-4||| 147||| 5/1F |||G Elliott(IRE) |||D Russell |||7th G1 Leop Flogas Ch (40)

    2017 |||14322||| Road To Respect |||6||| 10-13 |||145||| 14/1 |||N Meade(IRE) |||B Cooper |||2nd G2 Navan Ten Up 3m (25)

    2016||| F2P1 |||Empire Of Dirt |||9 |||10-11||| 142||| 16/1||| C Murphy(IRE)||| B Cooper ||| 1st G3 Leop H'cap (60)

    2015||| 157||| Darna||| 9||| 10-11||| 140||| 33/1 |||K Bailey||| D Bass||| 7th G3 Chelt H'cap (70)

    2014||| P||| Ballynagour||| 8||| 10-9||| 140||| 12/1 |||D Pipe||| T Scudamore |||PU G3 Chelt H'cap (117)

    2013||| 4P61P||| Carrickboy||| 9 |||10-5||| 136||| 50/1||| V Williams||| L Treadwell |||PU Cl3 Winc H'cap (42)

    2012||| 0 |||Salut Flo||| 7||| 10-10||| 137||| 9/2F |||D Pipe||| T Scudamore||| 12th G3 Chelt H'cap (96)

    2011||| 152F1||| Holmwood Legend||| 10 |||10-6 (5lb ex)||| 125||| 25/1 |||P Rodford ||| K Burke(3)||| 1st Cl3 Sandown H'cap (5)

    Evidence

    Novices - The last four winners - From the last 24 races 8 winners, three seconds, two thirds and a fourth in past 24 races. Simply The Betts, the flag bearer from three to try last year. Two came in 2019, Siruh du Lac and Didero Vallis in 5th. The Storyteller, the novice winner in 2018 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 the 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 Storyteller and Road To Respect of the last 6 winning novices had at least placed course form. Ping Pong Sivola, 2nd as a novice in '09 also had winning course form. Last five novice winners rated 149, 147, 145, 133 and 135. The latter two would have just got a run in the past three renewals.

     

    20 from last 21 winners ran between 3 and 16 times over fences. Simply The Betts 4, Siruh Du Lac 7, The Storyteller 3, Respect 5, Empire Of Dirt 11, Darna 9, Ballynagour 8 runs, Carrickboy 16 runs. Mister McGoldrick (146/1 tote, I know a couple of respected gurus who stood in front a course Tote window just before the off and decided that the price just wasn't big enough) previously third in a QM had 33 previous chases before winning this.

     

    WEIGHT - Simply The Betts 11st 4lbs, 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 (Three-time Festival winner) and dual winners Elfast and The Tsarevich, no other winner since ’77 has carried more than 11st to victory. Last year 13 of the 23 carried over 11st including the first six home. Bottom weight 10st 9lbs.

     

    In 2019 Siruh Du Lac won with 10st 8lb, just 7 of the field carried over the 11st, Janika 2nd fav with 11st 12lbs, Spritofthegames 3rd with 11st 3lb (6th last year under 11st 4lb). 2018 The Storyteller with 11st 4lbs the only one in the first six over 11st. 8 qualifiers. 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 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. Snow Falcon top weight last year off 157. In 2019 it was Janika off 156.

     

    19 from last 24 carried no more than 10st 11lbs including Siruh Du Lac and Empire Of Dirt. Simply The Betts first in 19 not rated between 128 and 147. See the Honours Board. Siruh Du Lac 141, Road To Respect 145, Empire of Dirt 142, Darna and Ballynagour both at 140 Carrickboy 136, Salut Flo 137. (28 from last 33 not rated above 142). Last seven all rated at least 140 increasing to The Storyteller 2018 off 147 and then Simply The Betts 149. Ratings last year 157 to 140, 156 to 135. In 2018 Village Vic top rated off 155 down to Splash Of Ginge 137. 2017 it was 158 to 133 with bottom weight on 10st 1lb. 2016 157 to 135 with 10st 4lbs the bottom weight before claims.

     

    4 of last 27 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. Not likely to happen that much recently.

     

    CARRY A PENALTY? - Eight of the last 18 runners carrying a penalty have been placed. None ran last three years, 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 - Simply The Betts 100/30F and The Storyteller at 5/1F (backed from 7s on course) join Salut Flo at 9/2 to be the first favourites to win since Majadou '99 and then before that Political Pop '81. Besides those three favourites and Siruh Du Lac at 9/2 in 2018, the rest the SPs this century range between 12/1 and 66/1. Before Siruh the previous 4 winners returned at 14s, 16s, 33s (Darna, the Pricewise day of race tip at 40s), 12s and Carrickboy at 50s (This race may no longer have the current worst record for Festival favs). 16 of last 20, 12/1 or bigger. I work as a clerk. Suggest that we may have had enough shorties for a while in this 24 runner h'cap chase?

     

    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 £146/1) Young Spartacus 10yr old winner in '03. Apart from them, in the last 16 years, only eleven others have paid a place dividend. Last year, three had a go, best finisher 8th. 2019, 7 ran, all unplaced, 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.

     

    As stated, in the last 17 renewals there have been 14 placed aged 10 and above including the 3 winners. All bar Splash Of Ginge, Holmwood and Tatenen had previous placed course form. 2018 Ballyalton previous Festival winner. Thomas Crapper placed in two Festival h'caps. These 14 came from a total of 51 horses aged 10 and above. (Splash Of Ginge won the G3 BetVictor last season, Tatenen was a G2 Chase course winner). Prices of the 14 ranged from 7s to 66s. Worth considering, if they are aged 10+ and running in this, it is very 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. Mister 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 2017 to 2019 But last Spiritofthegames returned to finish 6th after a third in 2019 (Skybet would have paid). Siruh Du Lac disappointed on its return last year. However, Mister Whitaker in 3rd and Ben Dundee 5th had both previously impressed in the Festival Nov h'cap.

     

    NEW COURSE CHASE FORM - This one has taken a hit. Always the same when you work on a stat. Last year all bar Ben Dundee of the first six home had rock-solid Cheltenham New Course form. 1st, 3rd and 4th were New Course winners, 2nd and 6th had been placed in G3 New Course h'caps. Before that we had Siruh Du Lac (New Course winner last time) and the previous three winners who were Irish Trained and had never raced here before. The winners 2011 to 2015 as well as those finishing second in 2017 and 2016 had no course win form. All seven had actually been beaten in a previous New course chase. Four of those five winners and the seconds had been given a course 'sighter' in the season they won. Baron Alco second in 2017 had been second in a 6 runner New Course novice. Carrickboy 6th in the novice h' cap chase the previous year. All seven had previous chase experience of the New Course over the trip. 6 qualifiers in 2018, including 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Of all the seven, Baron Alco the only one to have been placed in a New Course chase. Splash of Ginge had won a New Course chase in 2015 but had been well beaten twice in New Course chases in the season he finished second to the Storyteller.

     

    Probably better classified as - 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. Simply The Betts and Siruh Du Lac join Young Spartacus 2003 to be the only winners this century to have previously won a course chase.

     

    20 from last 29 had competed at a previous Festival (the other 9 had less than 12 chase runs, Siruh 7, Storyteller 3, Respect 5, Empire 11). Simply The Betts 10th to Summerville Boy in the 2019 Supreme. 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 16 winners were in their 3rd season chasing. Last four winners were novices.

     

    All this century had won at Class 3 level or higher. But only Siruh Du Lac and Empire of Dirt of the last 11 had previously won a Graded Race ( the former won the G3 handicap in January, the latter the £60k Leopardstown Chase over 2m5f). The Storyteller had won a 9k euro Novice Hurdle, but only a beginners chase. Simply The Betts that Cl2 Timeform Nov H'cap Chase in January.

     

    TRAINERS

     

    M/D.Pipe. Seven winners. Pretty good. M Pipe won four in five years between '97 and '02 with four different horses and four different jockeys. D. Pipe has won three in the five years between 2010 and 2014. No runner in 2020. Placed runners include Eamon Na Cnoic 10/1 4th 2019, Kings Socks 7/1 in 5th 2018, 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 19 runners in David's ten 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 ten 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. Warthog RIP would have been interesting.

     

    N Henderson Two winners, a third and a fourth in the last fourteen No runner 2020. In 2019 Janika, well punted 3/1 fav in 2nd. River Wylde 10s PU 2018, 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 Betfair column). No runner last two years, 2018 no luck with 2 runners including 8/1 Movewiththetimes PU, 2017 Bouvreil 3rd, Art Mauresque 8th. 2016 three tried including Stilletto 11/2 jtfav 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.

     

    Venetia Williams - 3 winners and two seconds in the last thirteen. Usually not the obvious one. No runner last year but Didero Vallis 16s best of two in 5th in 2019. A beaten faller and two PUs covering the previous two years. Tango De Juilley 2nd at 33s 2016. Idole First winner at 12s, Carrickboy 50s, Something Wells was 33s. Overall is record three winners and 6 placed from a total of 23 runners. Pretty good.

     

    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. G Elliott/N Meade/ Colm Murphy. Six came last year, best Gordon's Ben Dundee 10/1 in 5th. Two 33/1 unplaced in 2019. The Last Goodbye ran as well in 2018, 10th. Only Diamond King also 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. Success still punching well above numbers, which are themselves increasing.
     

    JOCKEYS - 8 of the last 30 winners ridden by conditional jockeys including 2009, '10, '11. Lizzie Kelly (3) 2019 the first since. Last year Richard Patrick (3) gave Happy Diva a fine ride in second. Three others unplaced. Jamie Bargary (3) on Splash Of Ginge an enterprising second 2018. (Trainer N Twiston-Davies interviewed on Racing TV just before the off said 'no chance'). Jack Kennedy (3) only conditional placed one in the last four before that.

     

    RUNS THAT SEASON - 30 of last 35 winners all between 3 and 8 previous runs that season. Including the last six. Not Ballynagour, one run, Salut Flo, one run. Both Pipe plots.

     

    25 of last 37 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 26 of last 35 had won in the same season. But includes all of the last six. Only 2 of the past 16 not out since 31st December.

     

    21 of the last 29 had not finished worse than 4th last time. (’02 Blowing Wind 5th, ’03 Young Spartacus not been out that season, Mister McG 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). Siruh Du Lac came off the back of three successive wins up 18lbs since the start of the season. Simply The Betts up 24lbs from winning a Chepstow Nov h'cap in early November. Empire Of Dirt up 10lbs. Tom Segal when tipping Road To Respect wrote, 'the handicapper has no idea what the correct mark is for this horse.'

     

    Siruh Du Lac first winner since 1983 to have won one of the December or January 2m 4f Graded handicaps that season. Oldgrangewood winner in January a good fourth here, Cepage went to the Ultima. A poor decision, Venetia? Especially with your record in this? Darna, Salut Flo, Idole First, Liberthine and Sacre D’or only other winners since ’83 to have run in any of the Graded December or January 2m 4f Handicaps at Cheltenham that season. Ballynagour only winner to have run in the Paddy Power/Betvictor since Half Free '84. Happy Diva did justice to her November win. But changed times? Johns Spirit got 9lbs for winning the Paddy Power Happy Diva only 6lbs.

     

    Siruh du Lac first in 13 winners to have even been placed in any of the big Cheltenham 2m 5f h'caps that season. Great run by Splash of Ginge in second 2018 who had won the BetVictor in 2017. (Could be put 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 16. Nothing last year.
     

    Seven of the last nine winners hadn't been seen for at least 42 days. Not The Storyteller 39 days nor Road To Respect 25.

     

    BREEDING - French breds have won 8 of the last 19 and finished placed in nine. Some change then, in 2020, six ran, not one finished in the first twelve. In 2019 it was a French 1-2-5 from 11 qualifiers, in 2018 Kings Socks best in 5th from five qualifiers. 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). Four of the five winners aged less than 7 were French breds. (exception Great Endeavour). And Janika 2nd in 2019, a French Bred 6 yr old.

     

    BLINKERS CHEEKPIECES ETC - No winners in 18 from 72 triers. Three tried last year, best Mister Witaker 3rd. Eight ran in 2019, best finishers were 3rd and 4th, Five in 2018, best Ballyalton in 4th. Nine in 2017, Bouvreuil 4th, ten in total previous two years, all unplaced. Two in 2014 wore first time headgear, both unpl.
     

    This century 38 beaten favourites last time ran. No winners. Getting close though. Three last year, including Happy Diva. In 2019 five PPDs came (Punters Previous Disappointments). Finished 2nd and 3rd. Two in 2018, Movewithetimes 8/1 PU (he had some overbet career, that horse). Village Vic 11th in 2017, 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.  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.