Year ||| Form||| Winner||| Weight||| OR ||| SP||| Trainer||| Jockey||| Last race (No of days)
2020||| 31F31 ||| Aramax ||| 11-8||| 138||| 12/1||| G Elliott (IRE)||| M Walsh||| 1st Naas Nov. Hdle (32)
2019||| 311||| Band of Outlaws||| 11-8||| 139 ||| 7/2F ||| JP O'Brien (IRE)||| JJ Slevin ||| 1st Naas Nov Hdle (24)
2018||| 127||| Veneer Of Charm ||| 11-0||| 129||| 33/1 ||| G Elliott (IRE)||| J Kennedy||| 7th Navan Nov Hdle (54)
2017||| 2P614 ||| Flying Tiger ||| 11-5 ||| 134||| 33/1||| N Williams||| R Johnson ||| 4th G2 Adonis Hdle Kempton (18)
2016||| 322||| Diego du Charmil ||| 11-1 ||| 133||| 13/2||| P Nicholls ||| S Twiston-Davies ||| 2nd Prix Verdi (133)
2015 ||| 421||| Qualando ||| 11-0 ||| 131 ||| 25/1 ||| P Nicholls ||| N Schofield ||| 1st Exeter Nov Hdle
2014 ||| 51216 ||| Hawk High||| 11-1 ||| 130 ||| 33/1||| T Easterby ||| B Hughes||| 6th Cl2 V. Ludorum Haydock (25)
2013||| 01125||| Flaxen Flare||| 10-7||| 127||| 25/1 ||| G Elliott (IRE)||| D Condon ||| 5th G1 Spring Hdle Leop (32)
2012||| 1114||| Une Artiste ||| 10-8||| 127 ||| 40/1 ||| N Henderson||| J McGrath(5)||| 4th G2 Adonis Hdle Kempton (18)
2011 ||| 21757 ||| What A Charm ||| 10-6||| 115||| 9/1 ||| A Moore (IRE)||| P Townend ||| 7th G2 F'house Juv Hdle (22)
The Winners - This race began in 2005 with a 20/1 Irish winner, next 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. She came straight from winning the Imperial Cup and led here the whole way. Then Crack Away Jack with a lovely 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. The winner in 2013 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 and the first for Brian Hughes, the Champion Jockey. In 2015, Qualando at 25s, the Paul Nicholls third string beat the Paul Nicholls second string, the trainer's third winner of the day. In 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.
Flying Tiger in 2017 at 33s from the Nick Williams yard gives Richard Johnson his first Festival winner in three years. Noel Fehily on the fav Divin Bere 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 unloved 33/1 shot, Veneer Of Charm (50s on machine) with a flat rating of 75, completed another on the day trainer treble in this race, this time for Gordon Elliott. Trends, what trends? In 2019 Joseph O'Brien, ably aided by Kevin Blake as his race planner, returns some sanity to finding winners in this with a well punted 7/2 favourite, Band Of Outlaws. Joseph's first outright Festival winner.
In 2020, Aramax had been the rage for this since winning the same Naas Novice hurdle as Band Of Outlaws 12 months earlier . But not on the day. Barry Geraghty got on Mick Pastor instead with a first time hood. First time hood in hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival? Did he not know? Aramax, 5/i fav in places in the morning, available at 12s on the machine pre race, industry SP 15/2. Mark Walsh never had a moment's worry. Pipes get second with Night Edition.
8 of the 16 winners won last time out (and also seven that finished second in the race). But only Aramax, Band Of Outlaws and Qualando of the last ten. As said, the last two winners easily won that rated novice at Naas. 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 did.
ALREADY A 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. None since.
Diego du Charmil, What A Charm and Dabiroun in 2005 the only maidens to win. One unplaced last year. 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 ten 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. Aramax had 5 hurdle runs, winning second run, his last in France.
BEATEN FAVOURITE LAST TIME - One ran last year, Langer Dan in 6th. None in 2019. 49 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 eight. However 4 of the last 14 winners have been fillies from only 15 runners in total (only two ran over the last four years, both unplaced, 2016 Missy Tata in 4th, 2015 none ran, 2014 Pipe trained Azza only one, finished 17th). Mares Novice hurdle on Thursday taking them now.
4 of the last 14 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 four years. Last year Theatre of War (85) 20/1 finished 7th. In 2109 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 Flat 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.
12 of the 16 ran in the previous 33 days. Aramax 33, Band Of Outlaws 32, Veneer Of Charm 53, Flying Tiger 18, Diego 133 days, Qualando 19, Hawk High 25.
9 of 16 French bred or imports. 7 weren't. Aramax GER Bred.
Three of the last four numbered in single figures on racecard. Other one No 12.
No winner had run at Cheltenham before. Night Edition 2nd last year, had been 2nd in January.
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 when he wrote the Cheltenham Festival Guide.
The first four winners and then, Flying Tiger, Band of Outlaws and Aramax (No 2) came from the top third of the handicap. Other nine didn't. 13 of the 15 winners were rated between 124 and 134. Not Aramax 138, Band Of Outlaws 139 Not What A Charm 115. Flying Tiger had been the highest rated to win this of 134. Veneer was 129. Handicap can be now compressed as everyone fights to get in. Last year 140 - 129, 2019, 141 - 129, 2018 139 - 126. But do tend to be rated 129/130 to get a run. .
TIMES Aramax 3mins 55secs at Naas, 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.
11 of the 16 winners had only ran three times over hurdles. In order to get a handicap mark. 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. Aramax 5 runs, three in Ireland.
BETTINGS STATS ON THE FRED WINTER - In the last seven years only twelve in total from the first six home have been under 16/1. That's twelve from a possible forty two. And eight of the twelve came from the 2019 and 2020 races. 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 eleven years, Last 9 winners priced 15/2, 7/2F 33s, 33s, 13/2, 25s, 33s, 25s, 40s.
G Elliott - Three winners in the past eight. In the past 10 yrs has run 17 in total. As well as his winners, Saint D'oroux 3rd Recent Revelations 4th last year, Coko Beach 2nd 2019 all returned at 14/1. Two others placed, Campeador fell at the last 2016 when all over them (pocket talking). For £1 level stakes Gordon is £51.50 ahead in the last decade
D Pipe has had a winner, three seconds, a third and a fourth so far from a total of 14 runners. Gaspara and Ashkazar (2nd) came directly from the Imperial Cup at Sandown the Saturday before. Kazilian 4th 2012. Night Edition his first placed from four runners in total over the past eight years. Changed times indeed.
P Nicholls has run 21 French breds in this. 3 winners (in the last 9) and 7 placed. Five unplaced between the last four years. Last year his two at 17/2 and 12/1.
W Mullins 0 from 14 runners though Ceil De Neige 3rd in 2019 and Voix Du Reve unlucky in 2016, Venetia Williams 0 from 9 and Philip Hobbs 0 from 9. N Henderson is 0 from 8 since Une Artiste's 40/1 shock in 2012. The losers since include three favs under 5/1 and three 8/1 shots. They're overbet but he's still in front.
Six Irish trained winners at 15/2, 7/2 fav, 33s 25s, 9s and 20s, all 'mid div' or 'held up'. Three of the six Irish trained winners had contested a G1 or G2 race last time. Not the last three..
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. 129 last year.
JOCKEYS - No conditional jockey has won any of the last eight. Three conditionals have won. 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 and, Jeremiah McGrath on Une Artiste also both claiming (5). Two down the field last year.
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. Six headgear wearers last year, best finisher in 9th. Four had a go in 2019, 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 eight seven, a horse wearing a hood has finished in the first five home. Four last last year, didn't work 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.' Serves me right.
James Pyman, Racing Post once tried to make a case that those returning to the festival the season after running in this can run well. Hmmm. Hasn't worked the last four years. Look out for Aramax, Night Edition, Saint D'Ouroux, Recent Revelations.
THE LETTER A. ITS BACK IN VOGUE!! Thanx to ArAmax and BAnd of Outlaws, eleven of the sixteen winners had the letter A in the first three letters of their names. Aramax was the first winner whose name started with the letter A. Two others, Silk Affair and Une Artiste have 'A' at the start of the second word of their name. In 2016 this theory didn't work from the 7 qualifiers. I am claiming that year 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. Also three winners in the past ten have been called Veneer Of CHARM, Diego du CHARMil and What A CHARM. You people laugh at me but is that not spooky, or what? (Remember, this is a 20 odd runner, 4 yr old handicap hurdle, full of plots. Lets not go mad with stats.)
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.