• Johnny Henderson

    Grand Annual Steeple Chase

    Challenge Cup



    Last eight winners rated between 138 and 147

    Only 3 of the last 22 won by those aged 10 years and above

    Since 2004, no winner had won a chase that season since Punchestown other than a beginners or an unrated novice chase.

    19 from the last 22 top three finish in at least one of their two starts

    18 from last 19 no more than 12 previous runs over fences

    Only one conditional jockey winner in the last 34

    12 of last 14 had run at a previous Festival, none of them winning a chase

    Last four winners all carried at least 11st


    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. 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 or placed in this last year. 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. 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 but has been stung. Will have won over the trip.


    Winner usually battle hardened but may not have been seen for months


  • Evidence

    AGE - Only 3 of the last 21 won by those aged 10 and above. Last year 4 ran best Croco Bay in 5th, 2016 5 ran best Savello (previous winner) in fourth. All 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. 67 from last 76 win and placed aged under 10. 2016 Solar Impulse, first 6 yr old since Oh Crick '09 and Edredon Bleu '98 (the latter under a gloriously mad front running AP ride). Le Prezien only six yr old last year finished 8th after being backed down to 7/2 fav.


    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.


    IRISH TRAINED - Rock The World, Savello, Alderwood, Tiger Cry and Fota Island ‘05 made six Irish trained winners in the last 16. Dandridge 4th last year. 2016, 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 two years. To be honest, Dandridge would have more chance if trained by someone else, maybe G Elliott.


    Rock The World was Jessica's third winner of the week and her first since winning the GC with Sizing John. Momentum? Robbie Power has admitted he 'had no idea where he was'.


    M/D. Pipe have never won this. 12 runners in past 11. 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 in 2016, first winner since Andreas 2007 (see Momentum Theory on General Trends page and first time blinkers). Beaten fav last year. N Henderson has a decent recent record, Theinval 3rd last year at 9s only runner, 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. One of the great P Carberry rides. N Henderson has had three beaten favourites in the past 9 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. I know, misleading.



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

    3 unplaced in each of he last two years including Le Prezien, thumped to 7/2 last year. Bold Henry, Eastlake.


    FORM - Apart from Rock The World (wind op after 11th in a course chase 141 days hence), 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 32 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. Rock The World' form figures last season went 080.


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

    19 from the last 22 top three in at least one of its last two starts. Not Rock The World, Next Sensation nor Pigeon Island. Both Rock and Next placed in this the year before they won.


    18 out of last 22 no more than 4 times since August (exceptions Oiseau de Nuit, Oh Crick and Fota Island with 5, The Pigeon had 7 goes).


    Novices - 7 novice winners in past 20 races (3 ran last year including Theinval 3rd, 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). 11 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 with 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 2016. 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. 2017 135, 2016 137 needed to get in.

    Three novices last year, top rated Le Prezien. Seven novices ran in 2016, 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 eight winners rated betwen 138 and 147. Rock and Savello both 147


    Rated over 145 - 2016 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 13 from the last 76 placings but bringing it up to date, 5 from the last 12. Savello first winner over 145 since My Young Man won off 153 in 1992. Higher ratings becoming more involved.


    PRICE - 23 from last 33 found in first five in the betting. 14 from last 21 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 helpful at all. 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 that day?)


    Last three favs to win Space Trucker 7/2 '99, St Pirran 4/1 '04, Alderwood 3/2 '13. Possibly due another. Only two winners from the last eight came from the front six in the betting.


    2 beaten favourites last time have won since 1999 from 28 qualifiers. £1 on all of them would leave you £7 behind.


    Last 23 winners were not running under a penalty.


    22 out of last 27 carried no more than 10st 13lbs. But not the last four. Rock The World 11st 5lb, 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 17lbs before jockeys allowances. In 2016 it was 10st 11lb.

    Four of the last five not seen for at least 45 days. Rock The World 141. Solar Impulse 92 days. Next Sensation not out for 104 days for another breathing op. Before that 45 days max til at least 1990.


    Rock The World, 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.


    18 of last 19 winners no more than 12 previous runs over fences and all were distance winners. (Oiseau 20 previous runs - Alderwood only four, Solar Impulse 10)

    TRIP -15 of last 21 had won over 2m 2f +. Three others were all course winners. Alderwood was both. Before Rock The World none of the last three were either. (Savello earned the title of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival Stats Demolisher)


    9 of the last 16 were previous course winners (including 9 of the last twelve). 6 others had raced before on the course, five at a previous festival. (Exception is, yes, you've guessed it, Savello)


    12 of last 14 had run at a previous Festival, only Alderwood won (County Hurdle). 5 of the last 12 ran in this last year, best placing achieved was third (Rock).


    In the past 11, previous years winners to turn up (Rock The World) have finished 0045B0

    The past 15 winners ran in total 56 times that season. Only finished out of the frame on 16 completed runs. 3 each to the last three winners. That stat's not working.


    Top Twenty 1958 and '59 only horse ever to win two of these. Rock The World


    BLINKERS ETC - Solar in first time blinkers joins Savello (hood) and Pigeon Island (blinkers) only such winners in last 20. Six last year, including Theinal,3rd, in first time cheekpieces. Only three tried in 2016 including Savello 4th. 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 34 years. 2010 Oiseau de Nuit 40s. None placed last year. 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.)


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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).  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 worried 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.