• JT McNamara National Hunt Chase

    The 146th year of the National Hunt Steeplechase Challenge Cup




    13 from the last 14 aged 6, 7 or 8 years

    22 from last 26 placed in the first 4 last time

    One of the runners is likely to win the next Irish, Scottish or Welsh National

    18 from last 19 placed 1st or 2nd in a chase over at least 3 miles
    Last five winners rated at least 143

    8 of the last 18 had ran in handicap company, all were placed


    Race Distance - about 4 miles

    Winner and placed to be aged 6, 7 or 8 years. If tried, will have been 1st or 2nd in a chase over at least 3 miles. Ran in a chase by 31st Oct or has won a p2p. Should have won a chase this season or is a second season novice. Will have been first or second in either of its last two runs or have solid Festival form. At least 5th last time out. Will have run at least four times this season or will have run at least three times over fences. Will have finished 1st or 2nd in nothing shorter than a 2m 4f mile hurdle or have high class 2m hurdle form. If given a hurdle RPR, it is above 119. If previously tried in handicap company, has been placed. If ran here, has been placed here. Doesn't have to have raced here before. Winner rated 143+. Likely to have contested at least a G2 Chase. May be trained by A.King, JJ O’Neill or in Ireland. Irish trained to be placed at least. D Pipe often placed in this race, Nicholls and Henderson stables have difficulty here. Nicholls runners tend to be too short in price. Could be any price and ridden by top amateur. Favourite not due. Headgear possible. Not beaten favourite last time. Check Newbury and Warwick Nov Chase form. More than likely that the winner of one of the next Irish, Scottish or Welsh Nationals is in the field but doesn't win this.


    They jump 25 fences and in 2016 it became a Grade 2



  • Evidence

    AGE Minella Rocco and Tricky Trickster 2009 only 6 yr olds to win since 'there's only one' Boraceva in ’89. Minella Rocco bt Native River who was another six year old. 11 from last 14 aged 7 or 8 (Midnight Prayer was a 9 yr old and Rith Dubh 10yrs in '02 - THE fantastic ride from JT McNamara - Rest In Peace).


    10 yrs and over. Rith Dubh ‘02 and Flimsy Truth in ’97 were winners. In the last 11 renewals, 14 horses of this age group have run, only Tofino Bay placed 2013. He had won a G2 Nov Chase at Navan. No other aged 10 or above placed in the past 18. No ten year olds ran last year. In 2015 Perfect Gentleman was the only qualifier and 4th.


    And since the last changes, Perfect Gentleman, Midnight Prayer, Tofino Bay and Beshabar (2nd in 2011) only ones above 8 yrs old to be in the top 6 finishers. That's 4 from 48 possibles. Beshabar previously won G3 Nov Hurdle. Eight other qualifiers over the past four years failed to finish the race.


    PROFILE Cause of Causes, Chicago Grey, Butler’s Cabin '07 and Loving Around ’96 only winners in last 26 not placed in first 4 on previous run. Cause Of Causes last of 5 in the Galmoy Hurdle but down the field in a Drinmore before that. Chicago Grey previous run 5l 5th in a G1 at Leopardstown. Butler’s Cabin unplaced last time in a course G3 H'cap Chase but had won Class 3 chase at Cheltenham that season.


    28 of past 31, 1st or 2nd in either of past two runs (not Cause of Causes, Butler’s Cabin or Another Rum '05). 10 from last 11 finished in the top 5 last time out.


    18 from last 19 had finished first or second in a chase over at least 3 miles. (not Butler’s Cabin but he had never run over 3 miles). Minella Rocco 2nd in an Ascot G2. Midnight Prayer won a Warwick Novice. Back In Focus came from winning a G1. Cause Of Causes previously 2nd in both a Paddy Power Chase and a Kim Muir. Kept as a novice for this after 10th in Irish National.

    29 from last 32 all out at least 4 times that season. Apart from Cause of Causes all other winners since conditions changed. Last 17 had all run at least 3 times over fences. (Chicago Grey 9 previous chases, Poker de Sivola had actually competed in 12 chases, winning only on his previous run).


    8 of the last 18 had run in handicap chase company, 4 winning, 4 placed. 10 hadn't.


    All bar Minella Rocco had been in a chase by 31st October. Minella Rocco had won a p2p in March '14. 5 of last 7 had spent two seasons over hurdles.


    7 from last 10 had competed in at least one Cheltenham chase before. All bar Minella Rocco placed at least once. Midnight Prayer, Back In Focus and Old Benny had never been here before.


    From the last 13 (since the 2002 change of conditions), 8 winners had previously won over 3 miles over hurdles. 3 others had been second (Tricky Trickster and Poker de had both been 2nd 'staying on' in such a race. Rith Duth had been 2nd in a 3m maiden hurdle to Paris Pike). Exceptions include Midnight Prayer, winner of and 'staying on' in a 2m 6f hurdle, Chicago Grey 2nd in 2m 6f hurdle The last two winners had never run over 3m although Minella Rocco had won an Irish p2p and Cause Of Causes was classy enough to finish 2nd in a Galway Hurdle and win the £84k Ladbroke at Ascot. Beaten 13l in Galmoy Hurdle. Nine from last 11 had a hurdles mark of at least 119 (if that helps) Minella Rocco had only two hurdle runs, winning both.


    6 of last 19 had yet to win over fences. That includes Minella Rocco and Cause Of Causes. Previous six had all won a chase.


    10 of the last 15 had yet to win a chase worth more than £6k. Back In Focus and Chicago Grey had won at least a £12 chase.


    Ratings 18 from last 24 win and place rated between 127 and 139. But not the last five winners at 143, 146, 150, 146 and 151 respectively. Last year Minella Rocco at 143 was the lowest rated of the first seven home. In 2014 Shotgun Paddy second 151. Previous run was to win Warwick Classic Chase. In 2013 Tofino Bay 2nd was rated 149 and Rival D'Estruval who fell 2 out was 143. Five of the last six winners had all contested at least a G2 chase earlier that season. Top Rated has finished 111205 over past 6 years.


    FUTURE GLORIES Top rated 2016 was Vicente (153). Next run won Scottish National. Noble Endeavour (Paddypower Chase) going well when falling two out. Top rated in 2015 was Thunder And Roses (148). Next run won Irish National. 2014 Shutthefrontdoor 6th before doing the same. 2013 Godsmejudge 3rd here, then won Scottish National. 2011, Beshabar, 2nd here, yes, Scottish National. You could nearly call this a trend.

    WARWICK - Belami Des Pictons won the same 3m 2f Cl3 Nov Ch in February as Midnight Prayer in 2014. Also Relaxation in 2000 and Old Benny 2008 ran well in Warwick Novices.

    5 of the last 7 British trained winners ran in a Newbury Chase - Also Native River 2nd last year (beat Un Temps Pour Tout).


    WINNING JOCKEYS. The best amateurs win this ('16 Derek O'Connor, '15 JJ Codd, Step up Joshua Newman 2014. '13 PW Mullins, '12 JT McNamara, '11 D O'Connor, '10 Katie Walsh, '09 S Waley Cohen, ’08 C Huxley, '07 A J Berry). However the field will be full of the best amateurs. The Doc 3rd on the The Job Is Right 2015, 2nd on Shotgun Paddy in '15, 4th on Any Currency 7/1 in '10, 2nd on Drumconvis 22/1 in '09. Fell two out 2013 on Rival D'Estruval when in contention. Super ride on Minella Rocco who traded at 32 in running. Similar efficient ride in 2015 by Jamie Codd on Cause Of Causes.


    STABLES  Jonjo O’Neill – five winners in last 15 and six in all. (Butler’s Cabin was the stable second string). JP has owned 6 winners and also 5 placed. 2 blinkered winners trained by Jonjo. (No runners 2012 or 2013, 2015. Trained Shutthefrontdoor). Cause of Causes trained by G Elliott, his second winner.


    Pipe stable has never won this. Martin had been second four times, David second '08 and again in 2015 with Broadway Buffalo 12/1. In the last nine, Buddy Bolero 4th, Sona Sasta 6th, Over The Creek 2nd 7/1, Control Man 3rd 11/1, Not Left Yet, Sixo and Basilea Star, Gentle Ranger all falling when in contention. Trying hard.  A King 2 winners '08, '14 and Godsmejudge 3rd in 2013.


    Paul Nicholls (his column) 'has been trying to win this since Rampoldi was pulled up in '94'. (Vicente 5th, Vivaldi Collonges PU 2015, Hawkes Point PU 2013, Harry The Viking 2nd in 2012, no runner 2011, Massasoit 10th 2010). Two placed from 17 (11 started from first 6 in betting). Willie Mullins has now won this as a trainer and won twice as a jockey. Shed a nice tear in 2013 when Patrick got Back In Focus home in front. (Measureofmydreams 3rd, Perfect Gentleman 4th, Suntiep 3rd last year, unlucky in 2012, Allez Garde brought down stablemate Soll). N Henderson has never won this.


    Irish trained - 6 winners from last 20. 3rd last year, 1st, 3rd and 4th in 2015, only 3rd 2014, winner and 2nd in 2013, 3rd and 4th in 2012, G Elliott winner 2011, also 4th and 5th from 5 runners. Doing well in this. Irish trained 4 from 20 last year, 5 from 17 2015, 4 from 15 2014, only 3 from 16 in 2013.

    Michael Hourigan trained Deejaydee in 1999 to win and The Job Is Right 3rd last year.



    Ten Up Chase Navan February 2015 was won by Measureofmydreams who finished 3rd at Cheltenham. Black Hercules fell when about to win the Ten Up then won the JLT. Noble Endeavour finished 5l 2nd at Naven, then fell 2 out here when not completely out of it. The race has produced Another Rum to win this in 2005. He only finished 4th at Navan. Very Wood fav unplaced here 2015 after winning Ten Up.

    Acapella Bourgeois jogged it. Road To Respect 32 lengths behind.


    Used to be the best race in festival for blinkered/cheekpieces/visors/hoods etc runners. 4 winners from 70 qualifiers over last 14 renewals. Native River 2nd last year from 10 qualifiers, 1-2-3 in 2015 (none first time wearers). But only Tofino Bay placed from about 19 triers spread over the previous four years. No first time blinkers from 5 carriers in 2014.


    PRICE Only two and a half favourites in the 20 years to 2010 then Chicago Grey, Teaforthree and Back In Focus come together, like a fleet of buses. Native Emperor ‘04 first (joint) favourite winner since ’92. Only two of the previous nine favourites finished in the first four. 2015 Very Wood 7/2f, 10th. Last year Minella Rocco was the overnight 5/1 fav, opened 10s on course, went 32s in running when Derek seemed to have trouble getting him to out on the final lap. But Derek (and Bryan) knew.



    Only one BF last time in 2016 PU, 2015 Broadway Buffalo finished 2nd. This century no beaten favourite last time out has won this race.


    Bookies on course and Hills went 1/5 odds 1-2-3. BET365, Betfred, Ladbrokes and Skybet went 1/4 odds 1-2-3-4. Shop around.



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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 (Gary). The Stats Proverb says 'Relevance Is In The Eye Of The Beholder.' 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 concerned 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.