AGE - 6 yr olds didn’t used to win this before ’05 Missed That, ’06 Hairy Molly (only 2 that year). Fayronagh (RIP), Moon Racer and Silver Concorde in 2014. Three 6 yr old winners in the last five. First since Dunquib '09. 15 from the last 22 have been five year olds with the first three home in 2011 and the first four home 2013. In 2014 it was 2nd to 7th behind Silver Concorde were all five year olds. In 2016 first seven home were all five year olds. In 2017 places 2nd to 6th went to two four years and three five year olds. Last year Relegate a Tornado Flyer in 3rd were five year olds.
Dato Star ’95 last 4 year old winner before Cue Card demolished the field in 2010. Both trained in England. Acey Milan 4th last year and Debuchet 2nd in 2017, New Years Eve 2nd in 2012 as 4 yr olds. Another John Ferguson four yr old, Purple Bay, 5th 2013. No 4 yr olds ran in the 2015 nor 2016.
Three favourites and three second favourites in the 14. Relegate 25/1. Fayronagh 7/1 jt third fav. Moon Racer 2015 only favourite to win since Missed That at 7/2 in 2005.
SHORT PRICED FAVOURITES - Liberman only one from 10 favourites to be sent off 11/4 or less and win, 7 of the other shorties finished runner-up. ('14 Shanehill 7/2f, '13 Regal Encore 7/1jf 2nd, '12 New Years Eve 9/2 '11 Ericht 5/1 fav and 6th. '10 Shot From The Hip backed from 6s to 3s in the twenty minutes before the off. Unplaced.) Moon Racer backed from 9s to 9/2 throughout the day. In 2016 bookies went 8s the field in the morning finished Augusta Kate 7/2 fav, Ballyandy 5s, New To This Town 6s, 10s bar. 2017. Skelton's Cause Toujours backed down to 9/2 fav. Hard to understand why. Last year Acey Milan started 9/2 fav. Punters obviously didn't see Aiden Coleman falling off him on the way to the start. In each of the last three years, the SP Overround was at least 128%. Advisable to take an early price.
All 21 runners this century who had been beaten favourite last time out failed to win this. Three tried between the last two years. No triers 2016.
Big prices, Relegate 25s, Silver Concorde 16s, Briar Hill 25s Champagne Fever 16s, Cheltenian 14s, Cue Card 40s all winners in the last nine years.
FORM All bar Monsignor and Liberman of the 26 winners were successful on most recent start. Won't be that much of a help.
Only 13 of the 26 were unbeaten. 10 from the last 16 had ran at least 3 times in bumpers. 6 hadnt. Ballyandy ran in 4 previous bumpers. Fayonagh and Relegate unbeaten in their previous two runs.
14 from last 16 not seen out for at least 32 days. Relegate 38 days. Moon Racer 144 days since winning course bumper at October meeting. Fayronagh, Ballyandy and Moon Racer top BHA rating when allowances taken into consideration. Not last year. Handicapper had Relegate a stone inferior to Acey Milan despite having won a G2 last time.
6 of last 16 not seen since Christmas. Silver Concorde won at Leopardstown on 28th December.
6 of the last 23 won a Leopardstown Xmas Bumper. 17 didn't. Ballybow best qualifier last year, 5th. Bacardys best in 2017, 3rd here. Exit Poll, Neptune, Ash Hill, Benrubin. Not of those four are trained by Willie Mullins.
Gigginstown are not keen on what can be a rough race Eddie O'Leary, Racing Post 19th Feb 2016 'I wouldn't imagine we'll send one this year.' Felix Desjy only runner last year, 6th. None came in 2017, one unplaced in 2016. Neither P Nichols nor N Henderson tend to target this race.
15 from last 17 had won a bumper worth at least £4k to the winner (Not Cue Card or Cheltenian but £4k bumpers not common in England nowadays. All Irish bumpers usually worth £4k Moon Racer 50s first time out won big Fairyhouse bumper prize of £34k by 7 lengths. Small trainer said he was only three quarters fit). Ballyandy had won two £11 bumpers. Fayronagh won a 23k euro to the winner Listed Mares Bumper at Fairyhouse by 20 lengths. Relegate won G2 Leopardstown 44k euro first prize.
Fayronagh joined the W Mullins trained Missed That as having been outside the first 4 on any previous run. Both had been well out with the washing on their first run. Bar Fayonagh none of the previous 11 outside 1st or 2nd in any bumper run. Last 15 all won last time out.
MARES - Relegate, Fayonagh, Total Enjoyment (7/1 2nd fav) 2004, Mucklemeg (7/2f) 1994 have won this for Irish trainers. Augusta Kate all the rage getting 7lb, only 7th. Since the arrival of the big Aintree and Punchestown Mares Bumpers I can only find 5 other mares unplaced at big prices in the last 8 runnings of this. Colreevy 7th last year at 50s, Irish Roe well beaten in 2017. When Total Enjoyment and Mucklemeg won, mares also finished second. Only one other mare ran in either of those two races and she fell.
22 of the 26 successful previously in fields of 13 or more (including the last four but not the three before that. Silver Concorde had finished 2nd of 22 in a Galway Bumper at odds on).
TRAINERS - W Mullins. 9 winners from the last 22 races. Relegate his first since Briar Hill in 2013 but two seconds in that gap. 4 winners were his only runner, 5 when he went with more than one. The 4 wins with single runners came from his first five successes. Can't see him doing that anymore. He has had 69 runners in last 21 races. His best performance last year, 5 runners finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th. Hard to beat that (picture above). Two runners in 2017 best Next Destination in 4th, Carter McKay unpl. Seven came in 2016 giving him 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th.
Seven of his nine winners were 5 yr olds. All bar Relegate of his 5yr old winners had won their sole outing prior to arriving at Cheltenham.
A better return than 2015 when six tried and his best finisher was Belshill in 10th (yes, 10th). Best backed 2015 was Bordoni 7s and pulled up. Three ran in 2014 finishing 2nd, 4th and 6th. Three in 2013 with Briar Hill priced up as the outsider. Wins at 25s. Two runners 2012 - Pique Sous finished third. Cousin Vinny (3 runners) and Joe Cullen (4). Five of his winners had only one previous run. With Briar Hill at 25s, Willie must be in front for level stakes. Both Champagne Fever and Briar Hill came from the Point to Point route. As I said last year Willie probably sometimes just tries to get them here and then whatever happens, happens. When he brings more than one, he may not know which one is the one?
Of his total 73 runners in this event, only one four yr old, Shady Willow unpl 2006 33s. Had previously strolled home in a 4 yr olds bumper at Punchestown. Blue Sari. 22nd Feb, Sporting Life site. Willie says, '4 yr olds have old won three bumpers, I believe.' Knows his stats.
Only 7 English trained winners from 26 (from about two thirds of the total runners - 17 from 24 last year, 15 in both the previous two years. However, they have only won two from the last seven. Before Ballyandy and Moon Racer, Cheltenian 2011 and Cue Card 2010 first since Liberman '03. Ballyandy, Al Ferof and Ericht won same Newbury bumper (Betfair Hurdle day) as Monsignor finished 4th in his year. Cancelled due to Equine flu in 2019. Acey Milan only 4th here after strolling around Newbury (Aidan Coleman did fall off the horse on the way to the start, which can't have helped). Barters Hill won that bumper in 2015 and then won at Aintree. A great trier. English trained filled first four places in 2015. English trained have finished 2nd five times out of the seven when English trained won.
Naas £8k to winner bumper 21st Feb has produced Pizarro, Hairy Molly and Rite of Passage. Battleford 2nd in 2016 came from Punchestown Bumper early February. Check
Paul Webber – has trained two 4 yr olds to be placed Press Gang ’06, De Soto ‘05. Some time ago.
Edward O’Grady only 5 runners in last 23 runnings, 2 winners and a third. '10 Shot From The Hip. Seems a long time since Pizarro kept the race. It was 2002.
21 from the 26 winners were Irish bred. Ballyandy by Kayf Tara and GB. First four finishers last year all bred in Ireland.
FRE BRED - Three last year, best Felix Desjy in 6th. Five French Breds ran in 2017 including the four year old Debuchet in 2nd Bacardys 3rd 2016, Cheltenian and Al Ferof (2nd) first success for the 43 French Breds. 3 ran in 2016 all unplaced. Bordoni only (FR) bred in 2015 pulled up. No French breds ran 2014, three tried in 2013, Le Vent D'Antan 7/1jt fav best in 7th.
Amateur or conditionals have had no claim in this race for the last seven. No success until '07 when Pauline Ryan went very close on Sophocles and then '08 Patrick Mullins beat Nina Carberry with all the professionals in their wake. '09 Being an amateur didn't seem to cause much of a problem to Mr B T O'Connell on Dunguib. Mind you, you might have fancied your own chances at steering that. 2010 Joe Tizzard took off on Cue Card from Ruby and B Geraghty. 2011 R Johnson from Aiden Coleman. 2012 Mr PW Mullins. 2013 Ruby on the far side was 'practising his apologies' to the Wylies before Briar Hill deigned to get involved. 2014 Mr Robbie McNamara rode his first Festival winner with a fine ride on Silver Concorde to be followed up the next day on Spring Heeled in the Kim Muir. 2015 T Scudamore for D Pipe. 2016 was a good day for the Twiston Davies family. Mr JJ Codd hampered at the start and then flew up the hill on Fayonagh. Went round them all. Fantastic. With an even better wet sail Ms K Walsh having also decided to give them a start. Eugene, on couch, was being very uncomplimentary to her before Relegate went whoosh. Amateurs definitely hold their own in this.
BLINKERS, CHEEKPIECES etc - Only six tried in 16 years, none won. Felix last year, alone, in 6th. One in 2017, may still be looking for it, none in 2016, two qualifiers 2015, best Modus 2nd in first time hood having finished eighth in 2014. No qualifiers in 2014.
Fleminsfirth breaks the big breeding stat. With Relegate he became the first horse to sire two winners of this. The other different sires have been (in order) Montelimar, Where to Dance, Strong Gale, Accordion, Welsh Term, Florida Son, Glacial Storm, Mister Lord, River Falls, Broken Hearted, Teenoso, Flemensfirth, Overbury, Shernazar, Fasliyief, Bob Back, Presenting, Kings Theatre, Astarabad, Stowaway, Shantou, Dansili, Saffron Walden, Kayf Tara and last year, Kalanisi. Does show how quickly sires can go in and out of fashion.. (Sorry to see it go).
Racing Post breeding article in January 2017 asked 5 Irish breeders which sires they liked at present. Overwhelming support for Getaway and Ask.
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. Oh yes, and if you're called Rory Delargy, you can't win the quiz too often. Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol. A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.