SOFT GROUND - Timeform says only two of the last 47 Festival Days were run on ground softer than good to soft

AGE IN CHAMPIONSHIP RACES - Real class will always bury stats. 155 horses have contested the four championship races this century when aged 10 or older.  153 were beaten. Only winners Sprinter Sacre 5/1 aged 10 2016, Moscow Flyer 6/4 fav 2005 aged 11, Queen Mother Champion Chase.  2015 9 tried, Hurricane Fly and Somersby placed.  No other old guard placed in 2016. This year's triers may include My Tent Or Yours, Cue Card, Sire De Grugy, Special Tiara, Clondaw Warrior, Simply Ned, Monksland, Zarkandar,  Empire Of Dirt, Road To Riches, Smad Place, Taquin Du Seuil, Road To Riches.  To move it to all G1 festival races, 5 from the last 185 triers have won, the other three being Marthas Son (10 yrs '97 QM) Our Vic (10 yrs '08 Ryanair) and Albertas Run (10yrs '11 Ryanair).  All these three were also under 10/1. 

RUNS THAT SEASON - Between 2011 and 2016, only Captain Chris, Taquin De Seuil, Sire De Grugy and Blaklion have won a Festival G1 after having run 5 times in Britain that season.

Horses who achieved the letter R, F, U, P, or B last time out - The 2016 Festival killed one of the longest running Festival stats.  Ballyalton and Black Hercules both won chases on the back of a fall, resigning St Pirran, Grand Annual 2004, to the history books. Adios, old friend. The 2015 Festival was a good year for horse P or U last time.  4 winners, Rivage D'Or (PU) 16s, Uxizandre (U)16s, The Package (PU) 9s, Wicklow Brave (PU) 25s,  Including 2016 that only makes a total of 24 winners since 1991 (about 564 races) who had one of the letters beside their name from their last run.  7 fell, 5 unseated and 12 pulled up.   Most other recent 'letter' winners were 2014 Ballyngour P 12s, 2013 Carrickboy P 50s, 2011 Albertas Run  P 6s, '10 Pause and Clause U 14s, '08 High Chimes P 14s, '07 Voy Por Estedes U 5s, '06 Whyso Mayo U 20s and '06 You're Special P 33s. 

Last year there were 49 other 'letter' runners, Long House Hall (U) second in the Coral Cup, Djakadam (F) 2nd in the GC and Savello (P) 4th in Grand Annual.  In 2015 there were 33 other 'letter' horses, Broadway Buffalo (F) and Polly Peachum (P) both finished second.  In 2014, 37 other 'letters' ran, all unplaced. In 2013 apart from Carrickboy, Our Mick U placed in JLT Handicap.  29 non paying others. In 2012 Darlan (F) was second in the Supreme Novices, Glam Gerry (U) and Exmoor Ranger (F) both placed in handicap chases at 33s.  26 others did not pay any other type of return.  Balthazar King had an O against his name as 'carried out' last time. Going to forgive that as its not his fault and unlikely to be as traumatised as by a BD.  Ballyalton, Black Hercules and Darlan the only ones of the above to gain a return in a Festival novice event the race after the 'letter'.  

People do scorn (No!) but Colin Tizzard February 16th taking about Alvary, "I don't think he's a three-miler and we'll probably run him over two or two and a half. He might be one for the Ryanair but it wouldn't be ideal going there with a 'P' and 'F' from his last two runs." Knows his stats does our Colin.

Apart from Wicklow Brave and then Pause for Clause U in the Conditional Jockeys 2010, Illnamar U in '92 was the last horse to have won a Festival hurdle with a letter as its last form entry. (Tote paid 92/1, the outsider of the Pipe six runners, won by 8l. A famous tumbleweed reception from the stands). No previous race fallers (F) have won a hurdle at the Festival since at least 1990. 66 odd have tried since 1996

CURRENT TOP UK National Hunt SIRES (money won) Season 2016 to 13th February 2017 1. Kings Theatre, 2. Presenting, 3. Kayf Tara 4. Oscar, 4. Fleminsfirth. Kings Theatre moved from 3rd to 1st in 2014 and now leads the rest this season by £200k. His offspring have won £1.8m. Only change this season is that Oscar replaces Beneficial who is just off the leader board in 6th followed by Milan and Westerner. £150k in prize money would cover 3rd to 8th. 38% of Shantou offspring to run this season so far have won a race. Kings Theatre responsible for Cue Card, The New One, Shaneshill. Presenting the sire of Yorkhill. Imperial Commander has been Flemensfirth's sole Festival winner at a distance over 2m 5f although Tidal Bay did become a real stayer after winning the Arkle. Only responsible for Rock On The Moor (2nd) last year. All Beneficial's six Festival winners have won at 2m 4f or further. None last year. Milan's festival duck was broken in 2013 and doubled with Mall Dini in 2016. Ivanovich Gorbatov was Montjeu's third Festival winner. Hill? What hill?

WHICH SIRE IS HOT at the Festival? - Kayf Tara took the plaudits with Thistlecrack, Ballyandy, Blaklion. Robin Des Champs had Un Temps Pour Tout and Vautour, Shirocco the sire of Annie Power and Minella Rocco.Westerner is the sire of Empire of Dirt and Solar Impulse. High Chaparral has Altior, Walk in the Park Douvan. The late Kings Theatre was the only sire in 2015 to have 2 winners and that was lucky since the second was Glens Melody after Annie Power's fall. Leading sire in 2015 was the late Karinga Bay solely because he sired Coneygree. Top money earner at the 2014 Festival was Oscar with Lord Windermere, O'Faolains Boy, Apache Jack. Eight of Oscar's 13 Festival winners won over at least 3 miles. No sire in 2014 had more than two winners. Beneficial had three Festival winners in 2013, Oscar, Kings Theatre and Bob Back two each. Best Festival performer at the moment is Kings Theatre, sire of 14 Festival winners in the last 8 years. Presenting has 13 winners from 150 runners. Accordion has sired 9 Festival winners since Dato Star in 1995. No winners last three years. Bob Back 8 winners from 70 runners, none last two years. In the last six Festivals the numbers of different winning sires covering the now 28 races were 23, 26, 22, 23 and 23. The 24 Champion Bumper winners have all had different sires (named on that page). Recently a Racing Post article asked five top breeders for their favourite new sires. Overwhelming support for Getaway and Ask.

And finally, my original stat from 1985.  'Back something that was 1st or 2nd  last time out'. In 2016 18 from 28 races.  In 2015 only 16 from 27 races.  In 2014 it was 18 from 27.  2013 20 from 27.  2012, 18 from 27.  In some races won't be a big help.

My work here is now done.


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