• Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase




    All bar one of the last 13 ran in a chase in the last 45 days
    Only one winner fell last time out
    A headgear wearer has been placed in 9 of the last ten.
    A first time headgear wearer has been placed in 6 of the last ten
    In 10 of the last 11, a maiden over fences has won three and gained a place in the other seven
    Only two of the last nine winners had previously competed in a Graded Chase. Two of the last three.
    6 Irish trained ran in 2017. Gained 1st, 4th and 5th places.
    A beaten favourite last time has never won


    There have been 14 of these


    Race Distance - 2 miles abt 4 and a half furlongs. Usually 20 runners. In 2011 this took the place of the Jewson Novice H'cap chase but is slightly different in conditions in that it is now a 0-145 novice handicap. Now usually a handicap in name only as each of the last five versions had no more than a 10lb weight range. Makes the ratings range 145 to 135. All bar three horses in total in the last three Grade 1 JLT Novice Chases (first race Thursday) were rated above 144. I wrote last year that 'Those that tend to compete here have poor early chase form and are now showing recent significant chasing improvement'. Completely wrong where Tully East was concerned. Quite Interesting fact that in 2004 King Harald got £46k for winning this. First prize 2017 only £40k.



    Oppose those older than 7 unless previously finished in top 4 in previous Festival G1 Novice hurdle. Last run was in a chase within the last 45 days. Not worse than 3rd on last completed run unless Henderson trained. N Henderson horses run very well in this. If tried, has won over 2m 4f. Has won at Class 3 level. Not running under a penalty. Rated between 124 and 142 over hurdles unless has won two chases. Placed horse is either a course winner or placed at a previous Festival. Maiden over fences to be placed. Apart from when running on this course, has finished in the first 4 in all completed starts over fences. Irish trained having recentish success. Having fallen in a chase is no longer in vogue. Something wearing a type of headgear for the first time can be placed. Don't be scared about backing a stable who have never had a Festival winner. Check all those coming from the novice handicap chase held on course trials day in January. Ran in last 45 days. Not beaten favourite last time.

  • Evidence



    ’06 had 6 previous Festival runners, 3 finished 1-2-3. ‘Performed well’ included Reveillez’s previous 4 length sixth to No Refuge in Sun Alliance Novice Hurdle.

    ’07 had Rasharrow, previous 3rd in Champion Bumper, finished fourth here.

    '08 Fleet Street previously 3rd in a Supreme Novice, finished fourth here at 66s.

    '09 although 1st and 2nd had run at previous festivals the theory didn't work. Straw Bear (2nd in a Supreme) did finish 5th despite his inability to jump fences.

    '10 winner Copper Bleu had been 4th in the 2009 Supreme Novice.

    '11 Quantitiveasing 2nd and Tullamore Dew 3rd had finished 5th and 2nd respectively in the 2010 Coral Cup.

    '12 Battle Group 4th (4th in 2011 Coral Cup)

    '13 Ackertac 2nd at 66s (5th to Hunt Ball in this race '12)

    '14 Attaglance 2nd 10s won Martin Pipe Hurdle in 2012

    '15 Thomas Crapper 2nd at 6/1fav, previous 2nd to Don Poli in M Pipe Hurdle. 1st and 3rd came from Nov H'Cap Chase Trials Day.

    '16 Ballyalton previously 2nd to Faugheen in the Neptune. Bouvreuil 2nd in Fred Winter

    '17 Tully East had finished 4th in Martin Pipe '16. Only other qualifier from the 20 runners would have been Itsafreebee PU

    '18 Mister Whitaker had won on Trials Day, Rather Be 9th in the Bumper '16, Barney Dwan 4th, had been 2nd to Presenting Percy in Pertemps


    Of the 14 winners of this, Ballyalton (9), Copper Bleu (8 yrs) only ones older than 7.


    Every winners last run was in a chase within the last 60 days. Mister Whitaker 45 days, Tully East 23, Ballyalton 25.


    Tully East and Ballyalton only ones in last ten to have run in a Graded chase. Tully East ran in G1 and G3 2 milers. It is suggested that, in the scond of those, Denis O'Regan kept him as far behind as was humanely possible. Ballyalton fell in a Reynoldstown.


    10 of the 14 winners beaten in first two chase starts. Not Tully East, won his beginners chase first time out. Not Present View nor Mister Whitaker. Both won their second chase.


    Past 10 rated at least 132. Last two years it wasn't really a handicap. Last year Mister Whitaker bottom weight off 137 carrying 11st 2 lb. In 2017 the range was 5lb, 137 to 142. Last 11 rated between 135 qnd 142. Apart from King Harald, the very first winner at 110, Mister Whitaker 118 and Finger On The Pulse at 147, all the rest rated between 124 and 142 over hurdles.


    12 from 14 had finished in first 2 last time. Not Ballyalton (F) nor Rajdhani Express. In Tully East's case, second meant last of two finishers.


    Ony five of the 14 winners had their last race in a handicap. And that five came from the last seven. Not Tully East nor Ballyalton. Two of the five were top weights.


    Only Tully East and Ballyalton of the last eight to have run at a previous Festival. However as shown above, decent history of placed horses having been before. Present View never ran here before victory. Along with Divers and Hunt Ball, had never run in a graded race.


    10 of the 14 finished in the first four in all completed starts over fences. Not Tully, Ballyalton, Rajdhani nor Divers. The last three of these surprisingly failed this stat in a Cheltenham chase.


    Only 1 from 10 runners under a penalty have paid a dividend. Some have to run and win within last fortnight to get into this race. No qualifiers 2017 or 2018.


    All 14 winners had won to Class 3 level in a chase or a hurdle. Tully East had won an 11k euro h'cap hurdle.


    9 from the 14 had won one from previous two runs and 6 from last 10 won last time out. Proves little.


    12 from the 14 from the front five in the market. You might expect that.


    6 of the 14 winners were giving their yard a first Festival winner.


    11 of the 14 had already run over at least the race distance over fences. Not Tully East.


    Irish Cavalier, Copper Bleu and Chapoturgeon had never won over 2m 4f. Chapoturgeon had never run over the trip but had been a very easy chase winner last time and Copper Bleu had been a close second in a G2 Aintree novice hurdle over this trip. he had never run over 2m 4f over fences before. Irish Cavalier's last run was 3rd in the 2m 4f course nov hcap chase on Trials day. He had ran unplaced in an Aintree 2m G2 novice hurdle.


    The Nov H'cap chase on Cheltenham Trials Day at the end of January has produced Mister Whitaker, Rhadjani Express and Irish Cavalier. Only Mister Whitaker won in January. That race, coincidentally, has also produced In Temps Pour Tout and Singlefarmpayment. Neither of them won either. Mister Whittaker won easy from Theatre Territory and Sizing Tennessee, the latter then finished third in the 4 miler.


    N Henderson won with Rajdhani and has had five runners up, including Rather Be and Gold Present in the last two years. JP McManus won with Reveillez and has had two runners up and a third. Three unplaced in last two years.


    8 from the past 14 had only won once over fences. Four from the last eight had won at least twice but not the three before Mister Whitaker.


    Ballyalton, Irish Cavalier and Finger On The Pulse had yet to win over fences. All three had been placed in their last completed run. 31 maiden chasers have run in the 13 races. Ibis De Rheu best of three in 5th last but a maiden had been placed in the previous 10 of these including Two Taffs, third in 2017, Ballyalton, Irish Cavalier and Attaglance who was second in 2014.


    IRISH TRAINED - 42 have tried, Tully East joins 2008 winner Finger On The Pulse. 7 others placed, Powersbomb 22s 4th, The Last Goodbye 5th last year, 2016 Bridgets Pet 33s and 4th. A good return in 2017 from only 6 entries. Not so good in 2018, best Any Second Now in 8th from the six entries.


    6 of the 14 had fallen at least once over fences but only Ballyalton and Radjhani Express of the last seven. And Ballyalton the only one to fall last time out.


    JOCKEYS - 2017 Jamie Codd on Powersbomb joins Shane Shorthall (claiming 5lb) 4th on Bridgets Pet and Mr Sam Waley-Cohen (winner 2013) as being the only amateur or conditional jockeys to have ever finished in the first 4 in any of the 14 versions of this race. Perhaps Sam not as bad a jockey as some say? two conditionals last year not finish in first eight. Two other conditionals in 2017 failed to finish.


    BLINKERS/CHEEKPIECES etc - No qualifiers last year, quite suprising. Ballyalton in cheekpieces, Irish Cavalier in first time cheekpieces, the first winners from the 56 to try. In 2017, 6 wore some type of headgear, best home was Two Taffs in first time cheekpieces and then Powersbomb in his usual hood. In 2016 10 of the 20 runners wore some sort of headgear. Bouvreuil hooded in second place. 2015 Generous Ransom 3rd in second time cheekpieces. 2014, 6 tried best Ahyaknowyourself 3rd. 2013 Ackertac 2nd at 66s. Something wearing first time headgear has been placed in this, some at big prices, in 8 of the last 10. Didn't work 2014 with Art Of Logistics or Close House the only qualifiers.


    Beaten Favourite Last time. No winner of this has been beaten favourite last time. Three tried last year all unplaced. In 2017 two tried, both PU.



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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.  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. Oh yes, and if you're called Rory Delargy, you can't win the quiz too often.

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