• Northern Trust Novices Handicap Chase

    HEADLINES

    All had ran in a chase within the last 60 days.
    Only one of the last nine winners older than seven.
    Only one winner fell last time out.
    A headgear wearer placed in 10 of the last eleven. No headgear on last 3 winners.
    A horse wearing new headgear for the first time has been placed in 7 of the last eleven. None won.
    In 11 of the last 12, a maiden over fences has won three and gained a place in the other eight.
    Three of the last four winners had already competed in a Graded Chase.
    9 Irish trained ran last year resulting in a 1-2-3. In 2017 6 ran resulting in a 1-4-5. However both Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott have yet to win.
    A Plus Tard the first beaten favourite last time to win.
    Only one conditional jockey has ever been placed in this.
    13 of the 15 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out.

    Summary

    There have been 15 of these

     

    Race Distance - 2 miles abt 4 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 six 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. You tend to have to make your choice between Irish plots and English trained that have poor early chase form but now showing recent significant chasing improvement. Quite Interesting fact that in 2004 King Harald got £46k for winning this. First prize 2019 a little less than £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 60 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 at least 137. Placed horse is either a course winner or ran well 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 recent success with bigger numbers. Having fallen in a chase is not in vogue. Something wearing a type of headgear for the first time can be placed but won't win. 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. Not beaten favourite last time unless Irish trained.

  • Evidence

    PREVIOUS FESTIVAL FORM 

     

    ’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 6/1 fav, 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

    '19 A Plus Tard never here before, Tower Bridge 2nd had finished 5th of 20 in 2018 Albert Bartlett

     

    Of the 15 winners, Ballyalton (9), Copper Bleu (8 yrs) only ones older than 7 yrs. A Plus Tard first five year old since Chapoturgeon 2008

     

    Every winners last run was in a chase within the last 60 days. A Plus Tard 58, Mister Whitaker 45, Tully East 23, Ballyalton 25.

     

    Trend changing. Three of the last four, A Plus Tard, Tully East and Ballyalton had run in a Graded chase. A Plus Tard second in a G3, Tully East ran in G1 and G3 2 milers. It is suggested that, in the second of those, Denis O'Regan kept him as far behind as was humanely possible. Ballyalton fell in a Reynoldstown. None of the previous six had run in a Graded chase.

     

    10 of the 15 winners beaten in first two chase starts. Not A Plus Tard, won his second chase, beating the Arkle winner. Now there was a form line. Not Tully East, won his beginners chase first time out and then hid in plain sight. Not Present View nor Mister Whitaker. Both won their second chase.

     

    Past 8 winners all rated at least 137. For years now it hasn't really been a handicap. A Plus Tard with 144 jogged around under 11st 7lb, bottom weight 11st 2lb. 2018 Mister Whitaker bottom weight off 137 again carrying 11st 2 lb. In 2017 the range was 5lb, 137 to 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. A Plus Tard didn't run over chases in UK or Ireland.

     

    13 from 15 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 15 winners had their last race in a handicap. And that five came from the last eight. Not A Plus Tard, 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.

     

    10 of the 15 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 last three years.

     

    All 15 winners had won to Class 3 level in a chase or a hurdle. Tully East had won an 11k euro h'cap hurdle.

     

    10 from the 15 had won one from previous two runs and 6 from last 11 won last time out. Proves little.

     

    13 from the 15 from the front five in the market. You might expect that.

     

    6 of the 15 winners were giving their yard a first Festival winner.

     

    12 of the 15 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 Un Temps Pour Tout and Singlefarmpayment. Neither of them won it either. Mister Whittaker won easy from Theatre Territory and Sizing Tennessee, the latter then finished third in the 4 miler. Simply The Betts (now 149 and too high in the handicap to qualify) from Imperial Aura (now 143).

     

    N Henderson won with Rajdhani and has had four runners up, including Rather Be and Gold Present in the last three years. JP McManus won with Reveillez and has had three runners up and a third. Five other JP unplaced in last three years.

     

    9 from the 15 had only won once over fences. Four from the last nine 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. Tower Bridge was a beat placed maiden of three last year 2nd, Ibis De Rheu best of three in 5th 2018. 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 - 51 have tried, 9 from 20 in 2019 resulting in a 1-2-3. Tully East in 2017 joined 2008 winner Finger On The Pulse. 7 others placed, Powersbomb 22s 4th, The Last Goodbye 5th 2018, 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. Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott yet to train the winner from a total of 11 runners.

     

    6 of the 15 had fallen at least once over fences but only Ballyalton and Radjhani Express of the last eight. 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 15 versions of this race. Perhaps Sam not as bad a jockey as some say? Five amateurs/ conditionals over the last three years not finish in first eight.

     

    BLINKERS/CHEEKPIECES etc - Tower Bridge 2nd in first time cheekpieces No qualifiers in 2018, quite suprisingly. I think there can be a lot of rogues in this. 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 4th. 2013 Ackertac 2nd at 66s in first time blinkers. 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.

     

    Having said all that, only Ballyalton and irish Cavalier of the last 11 winners wore any sort of headgear. And neither for the first time.

     

    Beaten Favourite Last time. A Plus Tard breaks my nice stat and becomes the first BF last time to win this. Beaten at 5/4f G3 Punchestown. Have been trying to find a reason why I didn't back this good thing and that's probably it. Hey ho. Two other BFs nowhere.

     

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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.