AGE - In 2016 On The Fringe (11yrs) joined Cavalero (11yrs) in 2000 and Earthmover (13yrs) 2004 winning for horses over 10 yrs of age. First since Three Counties in '89. On The Fringe had become the first 10yr old winner since Baby Run 2010. 12 from 24 older than 10 last year, best Barel Of Laughs (11yrs) 100/1 in second. 8 from 24 older than 10 yrs 2106, as well as The Fringe, Paint The Clouds in 3rd. 2015 , 9 from 24 last year were older than 10, Carsonstown Boy 4th. 13 from 24 qualifiers in 2014 best Pearlysteps 4th. All four of our older winners above were course winners, both the Fringe and Earthmover had won this before. Those aged 12 or over have produced one third from 56 runners over the last 13.
Earthmover won this as a 7yr old and a 13 yr old, trained first time by R Barber and the second time by P Nicholls.
Since 1990 Apart from the Fringe winning in 2016, the other 27 horses that were ages 11+ and went off at less than 10/1 have been beaten.
In the past 15, ten aged 8 or less have been placed from 103 triers. Six won, Salsify twice. (Colman Sweeney only jockey in the past 30 odd yrs to win this on two different horses. The other horse was?) Apart from Following Dreams 2nd 2015 at 50/1 and 2011 winner Zemsky at 33s (D O'Connor ridden), the other 6 placed 'youngsters' all priced 7/1 or less. Last year two ran including Ask The Weatherman unpl at 13/2.
PRICE - 4 favourites and a jt fav have won in the last 16 plus one second fav at 6s. 2016 On The Fringe backed from 5/2 to 13/8 in ten minutes before the off. The rest have included a 16/1, 15/2, 14/1, 3x20/1 and 2x33/1. Seven favs and one joint favourite of the last 12 beaten favourites were trained in Ireland including On The Fringe 4th at 11/8 fav last year. (And Salsify was pretty fortunate in 2013).
Point To Point or Handicap? - Pacha Du Polder last year, Baby Run '10, Amicelli '08, Sleeping Night ’05 and Drombeag ’07 are recent winners not to come through point to point and hunter chase ranks. Zemsky '11 and Earthmover ’04 had been initially point to pointing before going through handicap company and then back again. Lot of debate about this recent trend but ex handicappers had been turning up in this for ages. Other examples include last year Wonderful Charm making it a P Nichols 1-2, 2016 Marito 2nd 14s, Point The Toes 3rd, 2015 Point The Toes 11/4 fav, 2013 Cottage Oak (3rd) 2013 and '12 Chapoturgeon 3/1 fav and 5/1 respectively, Mighty Moss, West Tip, Flashing Steel, Cab On Target, Stearsby, Ryde Again, Lord Relic and Dorans Pride. All short enough based on past glories and beaten. Carsonstown Boy came to P2Ps in 2012. Henry Daly's Pearlysteps 8/1 and 4th in 2014.
Pacha Du Polder (151) became the first ex handicapper to win this since 2005 140+ at their peak. 59 have tried including Wonderful Charm who at one stage in his career was rated 159. Eight of them in 2016 including those finishing in 2nd adown to 6th. On The Fringe rated 147 last year. Aupcharlie, Mendip Express, So be careful of previous 'class' acts. Call Me Bubbles, Grand Gesture, Wonderful Charm Virak, Morning Assembly.
To accentuate trend S Alner ’03, P Nicholls ’04 and ’05 and last year, JJ O’Neill ‘07, Twiston Davies '10 Ian Ferguson '11 first professional trainer stables to win this since Fred Winter in the eighties. ('09 Mrs Crow with Cappa Bleu). Liam Lennon was the trainer in the papers for Tammys Hill, but in post race interviews he kindly gave all the credit to JJ Smyth and his family. Last couple of years you would have to say that Enda Bolger is a very professional trainer.
Cappa Bleu and Amicelli first since Rushing Wild ‘92 not to have won a Hunters Chase at some stage. All three had never run in one. Cappa only one since Rushing Wild last one not to have won under rules.
WINNING LAST TIME OUT - 5 from last 15 previous run not winning including the three before Pacha Du Polder. He beat Grand Vision easy over 2m 4f at Bangor. On The Fringe seemed each year just to warm up in the Leopardstown Raymond Smith Chase before winning everything else, Tammys Hill RIP ran 3rd to Warne over 2m 5f at Fairyhouse before his win.
Going back to ’91, 9 of last 26 had previously won at Cheltenham. Also Baby Run and Amicelli had previously been placed in a course Grade 2 hurdle, ’07 Drombeag had been 3rd in the 4 miler, ’96 Elegant Lord had been third to Fantus ’95. On The Fringe (first time) 3rd to Tammys Hill in 2014. 10 others, including Tammys had never raced at Cheltenham before. Exceptions to them all, Pacha Du Polder, beaten at two previous Festivals and Zemsky - 4th and last home in a 3 mile December course novice chase when trained by N Henderson.
COMING BACK AGAIN - Pacha Du Polder had been 5th in 2016 when tenderly 'supported' in the saddle by Victoria Pendleton. (If you think the difference that Byrony Frost must have brought, how much did he have in hand?) On The Fringe has won as favourite twice 13/8 and 3/1 jt fav and 4th in 2011 as a five yr old, 11/2 second fav and third in 2014 as an 8yr old. 2013 Salsify (and Oscar Delta), Amicelli 1st '08 then 4th in '09, Whyso Mayo '07 followed up his win with a second. Last Option '03 his win with a third the next year. Behind Cappa Bleu '09 was Baby Run in third. Baby Run trifle unlucky 2011 when UR at second last. (The Doc had him covered with Zemsky) Pacha Du Polder, Wondeful Charm.
Record of previous winner is 204U114.
Before the Fringe and Salsify, last back to back victory Double Silk '94. Although Fantus and Earthmover have also been double winners but not in successive years. Of all winners since Double Silk, 7 did try, their placings P36204U. 2 remained hunters but didn't come back to defend and the rest moved onto the handicap ranks. Pacha Du Polder
THIRD WIN? - Hasn't been done - Double Silk (11/4) finished 5th to Fantus in his quest for a third win. Fantus (5/1) in turn ironically finished PU behind Earthmover in trying to win 3 times. Earthmover (7/1) finished 6th behind Sleeping Night when he had a go. Not happening this year.
21 from last 22 last run between 12 and 41 days previous, whenever the date of the Leopardstown race. Not Drombeag, professionally trained first run of the season.
Pacha Du Polder only one from the last 20 not to have won over 3m. Had been placed twice over 3m 3f at Stratford. Pacha's last run was to win a 2m4f hunter at Bangor in mid February. Barrakilla 2018 going straight to Aintree.
Don't see any recent winner in the last 10 coming from the Walrus Hunter Chase (Haycdock Mid February) Virak scraped home in a swamp from Shotavodka.
Zemsky first in cheekpieces since Drombeag. No blinkered winners. Cheekpieces and blinkers are now allowed in point to points. Neither cheekpieces nor tongue ties are recorded anywhere due to the difficulties of ensuring correct information. My thanks to Richard Pugh at the excellent www.p2p.ie. Best finisher last year, Wonderful Charm in his regular cheekpieces. 2016, best finisher Marito.
IRISH TRAINED Last seven Irish winners On The Fringe (x2), Tammys Hill, Salsify (x2), Drombeag '07 and Whyso Mayo '06 came from Leopardstown Inn Hunter Chase (better known as the Raymond Smith) on Irish Hennessey day won well in '10 by Kilty Storm (2nd here). '11 On The Fringe finished 4th here. You Must Know Me led all the way from It Came To Pass and Salsify, On The Fringe well beaten in 7th at Evens. Salsify weakened in fourth last year after a long lay off. PU at Cheltenham. Those involved in finish of this race have continually gone off at too big a price at Cheltenham. THis race was one of the casualties from the successful Dublin Festival. Now moved to the Punhestown Trials Day on the 11th February. Derek O'Connor is his weekly p2p column in the Racing Post is not totally happy with this switch, stating that the inside Punchestown track is not ideal for these hunters. It was a fantastic race, though, with Gilgamboa (not qualified) just getting the better of Burning Ambition, the new Irish p2p star.
P NICHOLLS - Won with Earthmover, Sleeping Night, 1-2 last year with Pacha Du Polder and Wonderful Charm. (Some said Katie was too busy watching Jamie on The Fringe and didn't pay much attention to the PN second string. Pacha Du Polder, Wonderful Charm, Virak. Harry Denham 19th Feb 'We intend to run a few.'
Carsonstown Boy 4th 2015 year fast finishing second in the 2m 5f Fairyhouse Hunter Chase 21st Feb where Tammys Hill 3rd in 2013. Aupcharlie won this last year but was well beaten at Cheltenham. Check
6 from last 20 made virtually all the running (and Carsonstowns Boy 2nd 2014). Definitely not Salsify or Zemsky, both given fine rides by Colman Sweeney and Derek O'Connor. Jane Mangan took the lead on Oscar Delta from 4 out. Pacha Du Polder chased leaders. The Fringe tended to 'lead last'.
44 last time beaten favourites have run this century. 4 winners On the Fringe both times, Tammys Hill and Earthmover. The latter came from Fontwell, a course that would probably not have suited him. Level £1 stakes backing all 40 puts you £15.25 behind.
JOCKEYS - Only two jockeys have won this century who could normally claim 7lb
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.