Will never again be a platform for romantic slow old boats. Ah, 'there's only one Boreceva', Marcus Armytage on Christmas Gorse. Simple, happy times.
Over the past 8 years has evolved to a 4 mile high standard G2 long distance novice chase. Nearly £75k to the winner in 2018.
AGE - Minella Rocco and Tricky Trickster 2009 only 6 yr olds to win since Boraceva in ’89. Minella Rocco bt Native River who was another six year old. 12 from last 16 aged 7 or 8 , Midnight Prayer, a 9 yr old before Rith Dubh 10yrs in '02 - THAT fantastic ride from JT McNamara.. To contrast 2017, Haymount (8yrs) was the only one of the ten finishers aged older than seven. OK Corral and Impulsive Star are both 9 yr olds.
10 yrs and over -. Rathvinden was 10 yrs, Ladbroke Trophy winner Sizing Tennessee was third as a 10 yr old, Rith Dubh ‘02 and Flimsy Truth in ’97 were winners as 10 yr olds. In the last 12 renewals, 17 horses of this age group have run, only Tofino Bay also placed in 2013. He had won a G2 Nov Chase at Navan. No other aged 10 or above placed in the past 19. No ten year olds ran in 2017 or 2016. In 2015 Perfect Gentleman was the only qualifier and 4th. Martello Tower PU actually the only nine year old in 2017 field.
And since the 2010 changes, Rathvinden, Sizing Tennessee, 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 6 from 32 possibles. Beshabar previously won G3 Nov Hurdle. Nine other qualifiers over the past five years failed to finish the race.
So when he got off the 10 yr old Rathvinden after winning last year, why did Patrick Mullins say 'we were hopeful with him, he fitted the profile.' ? Certainly had me reaching immediately for my notes. More later on that.
PROFILE - Rathvinden, Cause of Causes, Chicago Grey, Butler’s Cabin '07 and Loving Around ’96 only winners in last 28 not placed in first 4 on previous run. Rathvinden was being tapped for toe in the 2m 5f Flofas chase before unseating, had been second in a Drinmore. 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 3m Nov Ch G1 at Leopardstown Christmas. 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 33, 1st or 2nd in either of past two runs (not Rathvinden U then a BD, not Tiger Roll, 3rd in his previous two outings, Cause of Causes, Butler’s Cabin or Another Rum '05). 11 from last 13 finished in the top 5 last time out.
20 from last 21 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). Rathvinden had jogged round a begiiners chase at Wexford before returning to shorter trips. Tiger Roll won the 44k Munster National, Minella Rocco 2nd in a G2 Reynoldstown 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 finishing 10th in Irish National.
31 from last 34 all out at least 4 times that season. Apart from Cause of Causes all other winners since 2010. Last 17 had all run at least 3 times over fences. (Rathvinden's win was his 11th chase. Brought to chasing after 1004 days away. That trainer's useful. Tiger Roll's win was his also his 11th chase. On the go over fences since Ballinrobe on 31st May. In Belfast Preview Night Gordon Elliott said he wouldn't win as Jamie Codd had jumped ship for something else. Go Lisa O'Neill. Chicago Grey 9 previous chases, Poker de Sivola had actually competed in 12 chases, winning only on his previous run). All of the last eight apart from Back In Focus (G1 winner and only three chases) had run at least 5 times over fences. Mr Mullins knows when they need experience and when they don't.
9 of the last 20 had run in handicap chase company, 5 winning, 4 placed. 11 hadn't run in h'caps including none of Rathvinden's 11 runs.
All bar Minella Rocco of the last nine had been in a chase by 31st October. Minella Rocco had won a p2p in March '14. His first chase was on the 20th November. Rathvinden's first chase was actually in December '16, 15 months before his win. 6 of last 9 had spent at least two seasons over hurdles. As I said, Rathvinden off for 1004 days after finishing 3rd to Faugheen in a Ballymore. (Sometimes, Bryan, it would pay to recall their form).
8 from last 12 had competed in at least one Cheltenham chase before. All of those bar Tiger Roll and Minella Rocco placed at least once. Tiger Roll finished 3rd of six in a course novice chase but had achieved two previous course wins including a Triumph hurdle. Rocco had two previous attempts at course chases. Didn't take to it on either occasion. Maybe soft ground? Rathvinden, 3rd in Ballymore. Midnight Prayer, Back In Focus and Old Benny had never been here before.
From the last 15 (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 four winners had not won a 3 mile hurdle. 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. Tiger Roll had two attempts at 3 mile hurdles, a Stayers and 10 from last 12 had a hurdles mark of at least 119 (if that helps) Minella Rocco had only two hurdle runs, winning both. Rathvinden had never run in a 3m hurdle. His hurdle rating would have been 150+. Tiger Roll had an Irish hurdle rating of 150, Cause Of Causes got to 152, Midnight Prayer's English h'cap rating was only 123.
6 of last 21 had yet to win over fences. That includes Minella Rocco and Cause Of Causes. Previous six had all won a chase. Rathvinden had won two G3 novices at Galway and Tipperary.
Only Teaforthree of the last seven had yet to win a chase worth more than £6k to the winner. Going back from Rathvinden, chase winnings already gained by these novices before this race were £55k, £68k, £8k, £30, £15k, £70k. As I say, no more romantic slow old boats.
Ratings. Risen over the past few years. Going back the last seven winners were at 150, 150, 152, 143, 146, 150, 146 and 151 respectively. Last year Rathvinden was joint top rated with Mossback. Tiger Roll was second top rated behind the patiently ridden and unfortunate Edwulf on 159. (Seems so simple now. Tiger Roll SP 16/1?) 2016 Minella Rocco at 143 was the lowest rated of the first seven home. Cause Of Causes joint third top rated. Shotgun Paddy top rated was second here off 151. Previous run was to win Warwick Classic Chase. It was a pity he couldn't jump fences 'cos he was a trier. In 2013 Tofino Bay 2nd was rated 149 and Rival D'Estruval who fell 2 out was 143. Seven of the last eight winners had either contested at least a G2 chase or a Grade A h'cap earlier that season. Top Rated has finished 111205P1 (Rathvinden last named) over past 8 years.
FUTURE GLORIES - Second last year Ms Parfois, next time 2nd in an Aintree G1, Third last year was Sizing Tennesse (Ladbroke Chase winner 2018, 12s, daisy), 4th home Impulsive Star (Warrick Classic 8s) . Jury Duty (American Grand National), Keeper Hill, Shades of Midnight Reigning Supreme have all since won decent races. 2017, Tiger Roll, Edwulf, Missed Approach Beware The Bear have all since won decent pots. Top rated 2016 was Vicente (153). Next run won Scottish National. And then won it again in 2017. 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.
WARWICK - 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. Check
5 of the last 7 British trained winners ran in a Newbury Chase - Also Ms Parfois won at Newbury, 2nd here. Native River 2nd 2016 (beat Un Temps Pour Tout).
WINNING JOCKEYS. - The best amateurs win this ('18 PW Mulins, '17 step up the fantastic Lisa O'Neill, '16 Derek O'Connor, '15 JJ Codd, '14 Joshua Newman '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 should have been at least 2nd in 2017 on Edwulf, 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 32s in running. Was giving him a reminder with a circuit to go. Mr O'Connor should be 2 wins and 5 places from 13 rides. Last year No Comment didn't stay.
STABLES - Tiger Roll, Cause of Causes and Chicago Grey all trained by G Elliott, three winners in the last eight runnings. Also had Noble Endeavour in 2016 travelling nicely when fell two out. Jury Duty (ground) Mossback fell 2018. Willlie has now two winners in six.
Jonjo O’Neill – Five winners in last 17 and six in all. (Butler’s Cabin was the stable second string). JP has owned 6 winners and also had 5 placed (and Edwulf). Ok Corral 2 blinkered winners trained by Jonjo. (No runners in five of the last seven years. Used to be The Man? Also trained Shutthefrontdoor).
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. Champers on Ice 7s and What A Moment both PU in 2017. No runner last year. 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'. He is 0 from 18 in this race. (No runner last year, Arpege D'Alene a good 4th in 2017, 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. (Also Haymount 3rd at 33s 2017, Measureofmydreams 3rd, Perfect Gentleman 4th, Suntiep 3rd, unlucky in 2012, Allez Garde brought down stablemate Soll). N Henderson has yet to this. Reigning Supreme didn't last year, Beware The Bear 7th 2017. Ok Corral
Irish trained - 8 winners from last 22 but possibly more relevant, five from the last eight. Rathvinden, 2017 1st and 3rd last year (and Edwulf), 3rd 2016, 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 16 runners last year, 6 from 18 2017 4 from 20 last year, 5 from 17 2015, 4 from 15 2014, only 3 from 16 in 2013. Beginning to dominate. Matt Tombs in The Betting Guide would explain how it pays to back them all.
Michael Hourigan trained Deejaydee in 1999 to win and The Job Is Right 3rd 2016.
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 Navan, then fell 2 out in 4 miler 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. 2016 winner Acapella Bourgeois finished a mile behind Might Bite in the RSA but the second home some 32 lengths behind, Road To Respect hacked round in the Mildmay and has done pretty ok since. 2018, Mossback fatally injured at the 18th fence. Check
Used to be the best race in festival for blinkered/cheekpieces/visors/hoods etc runners. 5 winners from 83 qualifiers over last 16 renewals. Impulsive Star best of five in 4th last year, Tiger Roll won his usual blinkers, Missed Approach wore first time cheekpieces. 8 tried, two other first timers. Native River 2nd 2016 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 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, A Genie In A Bottle 4/1 fav, 5th. 2016 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 knew. No favourite now in last five. OK Corral
Four BF last time last year, best Arpege D'Alene in 4th. 2016 one BF last time, PU. 2015 Broadway Buffalo finished 2nd. This century no beaten favourite last time out has won this race.
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. 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.