• Johnny Henderson

    Grand Annual Steeple Chase

    Challenge Cup



    Last seven winners rated between 138 and 147

    Only 3 of the last 21 won by those aged 10 years and above

    Only two winners since 1984 did not finish in the first four in last completed start

    Since 2004, no winner had won over fences that season other than in an unrated novice or beginners chase

    19 from the last 21 top three finish in at least one of their two starts

    17 from last 18 no more than 12 previous runs over fences

    Only one conditional jockey winner in the last 33



    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt half a furlong. Winner will be aged 7, 8 or 9 years except if older will have been already been placed in a Festival chase or if younger is from the first 4 in the market. Will be rated between 138 and 147. Unlikely to be carrying 11st+ Will be a novice or will have previous competed in a Festival Chase or the jockey has already had at least two winners this week. If a novice not rated above 140. May be one of the lowest rated novices. Finished in first four in latest completed chase start. Should have finished in the first three in one of last two starts. Does not run under a penalty. Has not more than 12 previous runs over fences. Won’t have run more than 5 times since August. Irish trained punch above their numbers. Consider place betting for those rated 145 and above. If English trained is a course winner, Henderson trained or placed in this before. Not ridden by a conditional jockey. JP McManus very much involved. Will have won over the trip.


    Winner usually battle hardened (like us all, at this stage, though I sense one or two of us might be getting pulled up at the bottom of the hill).


  • Evidence

    AGE Only 3 of the last 21 won by those aged 10 and above. Last year 5 ran best Savello (previous winner) in fourth. All 9 unplaced going back to 2013 Oiseau De Nuit 2nd (previous winner). In both '12 and '11, 2 tried, Askthemaster did finish 2nd (had only 12 previous chase runs). '09 best was Tramantano 4th at 33s (previously placed in a Greatwood Hurdle). In '08 Tiger Cry won at age 10, ’97 Uncle Ernie at 12 and in ’93 Space Fair at 10. Tiger Cry had been previously placed in this and and the latter two had each achieved places in an Arkle. 63 from last 72 win and placed aged under 10. Solar Impulse first 6 yr old since Oh Crick '09 and Edredon Bleu '98 (the latter under a gloriously mad front running AP ride).


    2016 Red Spinner also as a 6 yr old finished 5th. 2015 2 ran. Blood Cotil 4/1 jtfav and PU. 2014 3 ran. Ned Buntline a novice was 2nd and 6/1 jt fav. 2013 three aged under 7, all unplaced. 2012 - One five yr old ran, Kumbeswar, finished 3rd at 16s. Four six yr olds, best finisher Astracad in 7th. Palarshan '03 at 8/1 only 5 yr old winner since 1954.


    Alderwood was a 9 yr old and previous Festival winner. Next Sensation, Savello and Bellvano were all 8. 2010 Six 7 yr olds ran, finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th. Andreas a 7 yr old winner '07. Take your pick.


    IRISH TRAINED - Savello, Alderwood, Tiger Cry and Fota Island ‘05 made six Irish trained winners in the last 15. Last year, 5 ran, Dandridge 8s 2nd and Rock The World 9/2 fav and 3rd 2015 6 ran, best Ned Buntline, AP's final festival ride 4/1 jt fav and 4th. 2014 4 ran - Irish 1-2. Alderwood was the only Irish entry in his 2013 year. Five unplaced in 2012. 2011 Askthemaster only Irish entry 2nd at 50/1. ’07 Ground Ball and ’06 Tiger Cry both placed. That's 6 winners and 9 placed from 51 runners in 17 years (about 12% of total runners). Besides 2010 (nobody came), in the last 17 the Irish trained 'race within a race' has been won by the most fancied one on 9 occasions. Arthur Moore has had 2 winners in last 14 and Dandridge last year.


    M/D. Pipe have never won this. 12 runners in past 109. Best has been Leo's Lucky Star 3rd 2011, Consigliere 3rd '10, Madison Du Berlais 3rd in ‘06. P Nicholls produced Solar Impulse to win this last year, first winner since Andreas 2007 (see Momentum Theory on General Trends page and first time blinkers). N Henderson has a decent recent record, Kid Cassidy 2nd in 2013 from 6 (and shortest in price), 1-2 in 2012 from 6 runners. Bellvano was the fifth fancied of the 6. N Henderson has had three beaten favourites in the past 8 years. Both his winners since the name change were priced 20/1. Lough Kent unpld 2016 at 12s.

    7 of the last 10 English trained were course winners. But not the last three (What a misleading stat!).



    JP McManus - Owned winners 2005, 2012, 2013. Also seconds in 2013, 2014, 2015. Five others placed since 2003.

    Bold Henry, Eastlake, and The Saint James all unpld last year.


    FORM Apart from Savello (9th in £50k F'house Ch) and Pigeon Island (5th of 5 at Warwick G2 Novice) every other winner since 1984 has finished in the first 4 on their latest completed chase start.

    21 of last 31 not outside first four on any completed run that season. Used to be a good stat. Not now. Two of the exceptions finished in the first 3 in their three previous runs.


    Since 2004 no winner had won over fences other than a beginners or ungraded novices chase.

    19 from the last 21 top three in at least one of its last two starts (Not Next Sensation nor Pigeon Island)


    17 out of last 21 no more than 4 times since August (exceptions Oiseau de Nuit, Oh Crick and Fota Island with 5, The Pige had 7 goes).


    Novices. 7 novice winners in past 19 races (4 unplaced 2015, 2nd and 3rd 2014 the joint favourites, 2012 winner, '10 1st and 2nd, '09 1st and 3rd, ’08 My Petra fav and 2nd, '07 Ursis 4th). 10 of the other winners who were not novices had previously competed in a previous Festival chase (exceptions to all Savello and Edredon Bleu 7/2 fav and withn both of those winners, the jockeys were on fire that week).


    RATINGS - 10 successful novices since 1984 and Rock The World (146) 3rd when fav last year. All novice winners bar Alderwood (140) and Bellvano (138) rated between 129 and 135. Pigeon Island 129, Oh Crick 130. The latter two were the lowest rated novices in the race. Alderwood and Bellvano were the second lowest of 7 novices each year. 2014 lowest rated runner was 136, 2013 was 133, 2012 it was 136. 2015 Festive Affair lowest rated runner at 130 however next lowest was Dresden off 135. 2016 needed to be 137 to get in.

    Seven novices ran last year, Rock The World joint top rated of those.


    Those rated between 130 and 134 responsible for the winner and the second in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. Only 1st in 2010 and 2009. None of the first 4 in the last six years were in this band (Oiseau 145 before taking off jockeys 7lb claim). Only other two winners not in this band were '07 Andreas on 143 and Pigeon 129, both novices. Last seven winners rated betwen 138 and 147



    Rated over 145 - Last year placed ratings included a 146 and a 150. In 2015, it was Eastlake 2nd at 145, Croco Bay 3rd at 149. Savello 147, Tanks For That 149, Oiseau 145 and 149, the three placed horses in 2010 off 154, 145 and 150 and Andreas, placed '08, only horses rated 145 plus to be placed in last 16. That's 12 from 72 plaings. Savello first winner over 145 since My Young Man won off 153 in 1992. Higher ratings becoming more involved.


    PRICE - 22 from last 32 found in first five in the betting. 13 from last 20 not above 12/1. Exceptions, Solar Impulse 40s to 28s on course, Next Sensation, Savello, Bellvano, Uncle Ernie, Greenhope, Pigeon, Oiseau at 40/1. Not an earth shattering stat. In 2014 Savello was also backed, 33s to 16s in 15 minutes. (Davy Russell trebles? Or the last leg of Mr Michael O'Leary's 50p ew Lucky 15?) 2 favourites have won in past 14. Only one winner from the last seven came from the front six in the betting.

    2 beaten favourites last time have won since 1999 from 27 qualifiers. £1 on all of them would leave you £6 behind.


    Last 22 winners were not running under a penalty.


    22 out of last 26 carried no more than 10st 13lbs. Solar Impulse 11st. Oiseau 10st 13st after jockeys 7 lb allowance. Next Sensation 11st 2 lbs, Savello 11st 5 lbs first winner since '98 Edredon Bleu to carry over 11st. To mirror raise in ratings to qualify, lowest weight carried last year was 10st 11lbs before jockeys allowances

    All bar four (the four of which includes the last three winners) since 1990 out in the last 45 days. Solar Impulse 92 days. Next Sensation not out for 104 days for the purpose of a breathing op.


    Next Sensation (4th to Savello), Uncle Ernie and Tiger Cry only winners to improve on a placed effort in the previous Festival. Alderwood won the County and Oiseau PU in this 2010 but was a previous course winner. Solar Impulse 7th in the Fred Winter in 2014.


    17 of last 18 winners no more than 12 previous runs over fences and all were distance winners. (Oiseau 20 previous runs - Alderwood only four, Solar Impulse 10)

    14 of last 20 had won over 2m 2f +. Three others were all course winners. Alderwood was both. None of the last three were either. (Savello earned the title of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival Stats Demolisher)

    8 of the last 15 were previous course winners (including 8 of the last eleven). 6 others had raced before on the course, five at a previous festival. (Exception is, yes, you've guessed it)


    11 of last 13 had run at a previous Festival, only Alderwood won (County Hurdle). 4 of the last 11 ran in this last year, best paling achieved was fourth.


    In the past 11, previous years winners to turn up Solar Impulse have finished 0045B0

    The past 14 winners ran in total 53 times that season. Only finished out of the frame on 13 completed runs. 3 each to the last two winners. That stat's not working


    Top Twenty 1958 and '59 only horse ever to win two of these. Solar Impulse



    BLINKERS ETC - Solar in first time blinkers joins Savello (hood) and Pigeon Island (blinkers) only such winners in last 19. Only three tried last year, Savello as well. 6 tried in 2015, best Ned Buntline in 4th, 6 others tried in Savello's winning year including Ned Buntline in a first time hood ('09, Moon Over Miami, a close 2nd, 2012 Kumbeswhar first time blinkered, 3rd, 4 unpl 2013).



    CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS - Mr Steven Clements (7) is the only conditional winner I can find to win this in the past 33 years. 2010 Oiseau de Nuit 40s. 2016 step forward Bridget Andrews (5) fourth on Savello, the only conditional riding (8 spread over the previous two years unplaced), 2013 Jeremiah McGrath (3) second on Kid Cassidy, Brendan Powell (3) third on Oiseau. 5 others unplaced. Jeremiah got the ride as P Carberry suffered an unfortunate injury. Whilst he did well to finish second, I would have been surprised if P Carberry would have, three out, taken it up the on the Kid.)


    BET365 only ones to give 5 places. 

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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.