• Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap

    Hurdle Race

    HEADLINES

    No winner had run at Cheltenham before.

    P Nicholls has run 19 French breds. Three winners and seven placed.

    None of the last seven winners was a filly.

    Two of the six runners carrying a penalty have won.

    Only two of the last nine won last time out.

    No winner that started its career under National Hunt rules did so in Britain or Ireland.

    Last six winners rated between 129 and 139.

    Only one winning favourite since 2010.

    Willie Mullins, Philip Hobbs, Venetia Williams yet to win this.

    In six of the last seven a hood wearer has finished in the first five home.

    No last time BF in a UK or IRE race has ever won.

    Summary

    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt half a furlong. Going 15 yrs. Either fav or beaten last time possibly in a graded hurdle especially if Irish trained. Useful to have a previous hurdle time for 2 miles in soft ground of under 4mins 16 secs or has a flat rating of over 80. Ratings 129 to 139. Won't help. Any price. Ran in the previous 32 days or has only run in France. Either has run only a maximum of 3 times over hurdles in Uk/Ire or has run up a sequence of at least three wins this season. May have competed against older horses last time out. Not a filly. Not a conditional/amateur jockey. Could be blinkered. Horse wearing a hood in the first five home. Last run not in a handicap. Penalised runners have punched above their numbers. Trifecta Perm due covering the front four in the market. Not BF last time. Paul Nicholls targets this. If any trainer has had at least two winners already today, back all their runners. W Mullins, Venetia Williams or Philip Hobbs yet to shine here. Winner never ran here before.

     

    In 2015 Maximum number of runners dropped to 22 from 24.  Hasn't really helped.

  • Evidence

    The Winners - It started in 2005 with a 20/1 Irish winner, then a 40/1 shot of Charlie Egerton's which led from 4 out. Some sanity was regained with Gaspara, a Pipe trained 9/2 favourite which came straight from winning the Imperial Cup and here led the whole way. Then Crack Away Jack with a smooth Carberry ride, 'held up'. Silk Affair outstayed them all and Sanctuare, in 2010, was an armchair ride for Ruby. In 2011 What A Charm had a Irish flat rating of 105 and wandered in here with a hurdle handicap of 115. In 2012 N Henderson's 4 timer on the day was completed by Une Artiste, another 40/1 shot. In 2013 the winner was a 25/1 shot trained by G Elliott who I don't remember mentioning the words Flaxen or Flare at the Belfast Preview Night nine days earlier.

     

    In 2014 Hawk High 33s trained by Tim Easterby, was a rare and welcome Northern Trained festival winner. 2015 Qualando at 25s, the Paul Nicholls third string beat the Paul Nicholls second string, the trainer's third winner of the day. 2016 Diego Du Charmil the 13/2 P Nicholls second fav (and plot) won having been fortunate in about three counts. Two Irish fell when coming with wet sails and his own stable companion got a bit hampered at the last and may have won in another couple of strides. In 2017 Flying Tiger at 33s from the Nick Williams yard gives Richard Johnson his first Festival winner since 2014. Noel Fehily on Divin Bere, the fav, did a fine job keeping it in prime position going round only to be nabbed on the run in by the champion jockey. There was a horse with Tiger in its name won the 4 miler the day before. That might have helped? In 2018 another 33/1 shot, Veneer Of Charm (50s on machine) with a flat rating of 75, completed a Gordon Elliott three timer on the day. Joseph O'Brien last year, with Kevin Blake as his race planner, finally brings some sanity to proceedings with a well punted 7/2 favourite, Band Of Outlaws. Joseph's first outright Festival winner. Trends, what trends?

     

    7 of the 15 winners won last time out (and also six that finished second in the race). But only Band Of Outlaws and Qualando of the last nine. Band Of Outlaws won a rated novice at Naas by 4l. There is a great clip of Kevin Blake (Joseph's race planner, being interviewed on ITV Racing frowning as he says 'he's got plenty to find.' Dabiroun and What a Charm were both maidens and along with Flaxen Flare had been well beaten in a Irish G1 or G2 hurdles on previous run. But not Veneer Of Charm. Last of seven finishers in a Navan rated novice. Both Flying Tiger and Une Artiste finished 4th in the G2 Adonis at Kempton last time out. Spooky. Une Artiste and had previously won the Cl2 Victor Ludorum at Haydock. Hawk High had finished last in a Cl2 Novice at Haydock. Qualando won a Cl4 all aged Novice at Exeter. 4th in a Listed hurdle in Auteuil. Diego Du Charmil last race was to finish 2nd in a £17k French hurdle. 'Rating of 133 looked kind' stated Mr Nicholls. Sure it did.

     

    HANDICAPPER? - Only Gaspara came from the handicap hurdle route. Won Imperial Cup at Sandown 4 days before. Penalised runners are two winners from six qualifiers. (Gaspara and Silk Affair). Qualifier Eragon De Chanay unpl 2018.

     

    Diego du Charmil 2016 was still a maiden. Flying Tiger took four attempts to win a hurdle but only two of those were in the UK. Used to be that all winners took three attempts to win their first hurdle. 4 from the last nine winners won with their first attempt over hurdles. Diego Du Charmil was given his rating and P Nicholls was going to do nothing to harm it. Une Artiste and Sanctuaire had been running in France but both won on their first starts in England. 2011 What a Charm hadn't finished better than 5th on any of his three hurdle starts.

     

    BEATEN FAVOURITE - Although none came last year, 48 beaten favourites (BFs) last time out in UK or Ire have tried to win this. None have succeeded. Only Diego Du Charmil a BF in France last time. 2018 Style De Garde 12s did finish second for N Henderson.

     

    FILLIES? - No fillies have won any of the last seven. However 4 of the last 13 winners have been fillies from only 15 runners in total (only two ran over the last three years, both unplaced, 2016 Missy Tata in 4th, 2015 none ran, 2014 Pipe trained Azza only one, finished 17th).

     

    4 of the last 13 beat older horses on their latest start. Three others had also already run against elders including Veneer Of Charm.

     

    FLAT RATINGS - Top rated horse on the flat has won three and been second in another. Hasn't worked in the last three years. Last year Lethal Steps (102) 9/1 trained by G Elliott and ridden by D Russell finished 19th and last. Second top flat rated was Band Of Outlaws on (93) 2018 top was Act Of Valour (98) and 9th. 2017 Percy Street (98) finished 6th, Nietzsche off 86 was third. 2016 Duke Street off 83 badly hampered at last.

     

    11 of the 15 ran in the previous 32 days. Band Of Outlaws 32, Veneer Of Charm 53, Flying Tiger 18, Diego 133 days, Qualando 19, Hawk High 25.

     

    8 of 15 French bred or imports. 7 weren't.

     

    No winner had run at Cheltenham before.

     

    No winner that started its career under National Hunt rules did so in Britain or Ireland. All in France. A nicely thought out stat from Matt Tombs is his Cheltenham Festival Guide. Not sure how much it will help.

     

    First four winners, Flying Tiger and Band of Outlaws came from the top third of the handicap. Other nine didn't. 13 of the 15 winners were rated between 124 and 134. Not Band Of Outlaws 139 Not What A Charm 115 . Flying Tiger had been highest rated to win this of 134. Veneer was 129. Handicap can be now compressed as everyone fights to get in. Last year 141 to 129, 2018 139 - 126. 2017 not too bad 139-124. But do tend to be rated 129/130 to get a run. 2016 ratings between 142 and 128. 2015 and 2014 both covered by 12lbs.

     

    TIMES Band Of Outlaws had done 3 mins 52secs for 2m on good ground and 4 mins 9 for soft/heavy. Veneer of Charm, Flying Tiger, Hawk High, Flaxen Flare, Gaspara, Shamayoun and Crack Away had winning times in 2 miles in soft under 4 minutes 16 secs. Both Dabiroun and What A Charm who had been placed in Listed flat on soft ground. Flaxen Flare Irish flat rating of 80. Veneer of Charm 70. Hawk High rating of 80. Qualando's hadn't run over 2 miles. Its last run was over 2m 2f. Diego Du Charmil 3 mins 56 when 2nd on last run. Silk Affair had never won over the trip before (had won over 2m 2f) but was rated 94 on the Flat in Britain. What A Charm had won over 2 miles on the Flat.

     

    12 of the 15 winners had only ran three times over hurdles. In order to get a handicap mark. The 3 others had run up a sequence of at least 3 wins that season. In Une Artiste's case, the sequence started in France. Qualando only 2 runs in Britain, unsuccessful in 3 runs in France.

     

    BETTINGS STATS ON THE FRED WINTER - In the last six years only nine in total from the first six home have been under 16/1. That's nine from a possible thirty six. And four of the nine were from 2019. In 2014 Katgary (P Nicholls trained and unlucky here) in 2nd only one in the first 11 home under 16/1. However favourite has been placed in six of the last ten years, Last 8 winners priced 7/2 fav 33s, 33s, 13/2, 25s, 33s, 25s, 40s.

     

    D Pipe has had a winner, two second, a third and a fourth so far from a total of 13 runners. Gaspara and Ashkazar (2nd) came directly from the Imperial Cup at Sandown the Saturday before. Kazilian 4th 2012, T Scudamore went off like a scalded cat. Only three unplaced runners in total over the past seven years. Changed times. RIP Warthog.
     

    P Nicholls has run 19 French breds in this. 3 winners (in the last 8) and 7 placed. Three unplaced between the last three years.

     

    W Mullins 0 from 14 runners though Ceil De Neige 3rd last year and Voix Du Reve unlucky in 2016, Venetia Williams 0 from 9 and Philip Hobbs 0 from 9.

     

    Four Irish trained winners at 7/2 fav, 33s 20s, 25s and 9s, all 'mid div' or 'held up'. Three of the four Irish trained winners had contested a G1 or G2 race last time. Not Veneer Of Charm nor Band of Outlaws. Gordon Elliott trained the two Irish winners before Band Of Outlaws.

     

    Only 5 of the 42 horses rated 120 or less were placed. 1st and 3rd 2011 from 10 runners. Lowest rating in the last four years has been 124.

     

    JOCKEYS - No conditional jockey has won any of the last five. 4 conditionals have won including Nina on Dabiroun when she was claiming 5lb (second female rider to be successful at the Festival in non amateur races), Andrew Glassonbury on Gaspara, Jeremiah McGrath on Une Artiste both claiming (5). Brian Hughes good ride 2014 on Hawk High. Lizzie Kelly in 5th best conditional finisher in 2017. Bet she was both pleased and annoyed when Flying Tiger won for Richard Johnson and her father. Lizzie and James Bowen unplaced in 2018 both claiming three. Didn't realise amateur David Maxwell had a ride in this last year. Finished 16th, I'm sure he was pleased to get round. (topical)

     

    BLINKERS CHEEKPIECES etc - Four winners in the fifteen races, Hawk High, Flaxen Flare, What a Charm and Shamayoun. All had worn them before but it was Flaxen Flare's first try with them over hurdles. Four headgear wearers last year, best finisher in 6th. 5 headgear wearers in each of the previous two years, best 2018 Style De Garde 2nd. In 2017 best Nietzsche in 3rd. 10 headgear wearers in 2016 Romain De Senam best in 2nd. 3 first timers. In 2015, 6 headgear wearers, finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th. None first time wearers but first time tongue ties did finish 2nd and 3rd. 8 headgear wearers in 2014 with 1st and 3rd, 5 in 2013 including winner.

     

    HOODS - In six of the last seven, a horse wearing a hood has finished in the first five home. in 2019, the only qualifier (in whom I had placed my hopes) was given a pointless scalded cat ride by Darryl in Green. 'Raced keenly, led to three out, stopped.'

     

    I digress. Over dinner on the Saturday before the Festival last year I was excitedly explaining this hood stat to Sheelah, going into depth as to how it might calm a young 4 yr old hurdler. She replied 'I'm thinking of putting one over your head to see if it works.'

     

    James Pyman, Racing Post tried to make a case that those returning to the festival the season after running in this can run well. Hmmm. Look out for Band Of Outlaws, Coko Beach, Ciel De Neige and King d'Argent. Didn't work last three years. Bouvreil 2nd in this, came back to be second in the nov h'cap chase in 2016. Caid Du Berlais 3rd in this 2013, placed in Martin Pipe Hurdle 2014.

     

     

    ITS BACK IN VOGUE!! Thanx to BAnd of Outlaws, eleven of the fifteen winners had the letter A in the first three letters of their names but none started with the letter A. Two others, Silk Affair and Une Artiste have 'A' at the start of the second bit of their name. (2015 - 9 Qualifiers including 1st, 4th and 5th. 15 qualifiers 2014 including the 1st and 2nd). Like QuAlando. In 2016 this theory didn't work from the 7 qualifiers. I am claiming that a moral victory as CAmpeador was 'mounting a strong challenge' under B Geraghty before crumpling at the last. Can't even claim a moral victory in 2017 or 2018. Best finisher 2017 was DiAblo De Sivola in 5th (Mind you, I've heard some say he was unlucky). 2018 best was PAdleyourowncanoe 4th. (Its the Fred Winter, remember. Stats?)

     

     

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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.