EQUINE FLU, AGE IN CHAMPIONSHIP RACES. RUNS THAT SEASON BEFORE G1 attempt. R,F,U,P or B last time out? WHICH SIRES? 1st or 2nd last time out?

Equine Flu - The following won at the 2018 Festival having had their previous run within 28 days, Presenting Percy, Coo Star Sivola, Pacha Du Polder, Blow By Blow, Delta Work

AGE IN CHAMPIONSHIP RACES - Real class will usually bury stats. 166 horses have contested the four championship races this century when aged 10 or older. 163 were beaten. Only winners Special Tiara 10yrs @11/1 benefitting from Douvan's injury and a good ride), Sprinter Sacre 5/1 aged 10 2016, Moscow Flyer 6/4 fav 2005 aged 11, Queen Mother Champion Chase winners. 2015 9 tried, Hurricane Fly and Somersby placed. In 2018 of the four that tried, Gods Own gained an admirable place in the QM at 40s. 2017 My Tent Or Yours placed in CH. This year's triers may include Faugheen, Un De Sceaux Simply Ned, Gods Own, Outlander, Pallasator, Killultagh Vic, Might Bite, Thistlecrack, Rathvinden To move it to all G1 festival races, 5 from the last 189 triers have won, the other two being Our Vic (10 yrs '08 Ryanair) and Albertas Run (10yrs '11 Ryanair). Both were also under 10/1. Un De Sceaux and Cue Card unsuccessful in 2018
 

RUNS THAT SEASON - Between 2011 and 2018, only Presenting Percy, Shattered Love, Captain Chris, Taquin De Seuil, Sire De Grugy and Blaklion have won a Festival G1 after having run 5 times in UK or Ireland since August. Chief Justice 6 runs Le Breuil, Now McGinty, Aramon 5 runs

Horses who achieved the letter R, F, U, P, or B last time out - Willie Mullins once again does for my stats with Nicholls Canyon 2017 Stayers Hurdle being the first winner of a Festival hurdle since at least 1990 having (F) fallen last time out. 70 odd had tried. In 2016 Willie also helped to kill the 'you don't win a Festival chase off the back of a fall' stat with Black Hercules (JLT) following on from Ballyalton (Close Bros Chase). First since St Pirran, Grand Annual 2004.

36 LLTs (Letter Last Time) went to post in 2018. One winner Rathvinden (U) 4 miler at 9/2 (is there a theme here? ) Anibale Fly (F) and Ballyalton (F) placed.

Apart from Nichols Canyon in 2017, there were 38 other letter runners, honourable mentions for Missed Approach U 2nd at 33s in the four miler and Minella Rocco 2nd 18/1 in GC. In 2016 there were 49 other LLTs, 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, two placed. In 2014, 37 other 'letters' ran, all unplaced. In 2013 apart from Carrickboy, one placed from 29 others 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. Rathvinden, Missed Aproach, Ballyalton, Black Hercules and Darlan the only five to gain a return in a Festival novice event the race after the 'letter'. We are ignoring Labaik on official advice. If he had refused for a third time in Ireland, he wouldn't have been here. The 2015 Festival was a good year for horse P or U last time. 4 winners, Rivage D'Or (P) 16s, Uxizandre (U)16s, The Package (P) 9s, Wicklow Brave (P) 25s

 

That now only makes a total of 26 winners since 1991 (about 620 races) who had one of the letters beside their name from their last run. 8 fell, 6 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. Bristol De Mai.

People do scorn but Colin Tizzard February 16th 2017 taking about Alvary (who?), "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 some stats does our Colin.

Apart from Nicholls Canyon, 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.

CURRENT TOP UK National Hunt SIRES (money won) - Season 2018 to 17th February 2019

1. Presenting, 2. Kings Theatre, 3. Oscar 4. Beneficial 5. Milan. 6. Fleminsfirth.

Deceased in 2011 Kings Theatre loses top place to Presenting who himself passed away in 2017. Fleminsfirth drops from second to sixth and the rest just shuffle positions. At the moment Presenting leads on £1.7 million by about 200k. You could throw a blanket to cover 2nd to 6th or precisely £250K. Kayf Tara was 2nd in 2017 but has slipped to 5th last year and 7th now. 39% of Kings Theatres to run this season have won 62/157. Has the best strike rate. Flemensfirth's sole Festival winner at a distance over 2m 5f is Imperial Commander. Invitation Only, Lost In Translation. All Beneficial's six Festival winners have won at 2m 4f or further. . Milan's festival duck was broken in 2013 and doubled with Mall Dini in 2016. Monalee, Santini. Ivanovich Gorbatov in the 2016 Triumph was Montjeu's third Festival winner. Hill? What hill?

None of Kings Theatre, Oscar, Milan, Beneficial or Fleminsfirth sired winners at the 2017 Festival. Last year Oscar was responsible for Kilbricken Storm, Fleminsfirth for Relegate.

https://www.racingpost.com/statistics/sires

WHICH SIRE IS HOT at the Festival? - No horse sired more than one winner in last year's Festival making Indian the 2018 leader as he sired the GC Winner. Oscar achieved one winner in Kilbricken Storm and 4 places, Milan had five horses placed. Fleminfirth became the first to sire two different bumper winners. He was also responsible for four other places. .

In 2017 Authorised took the plaudits being the only sire of two Festival winners, Tiger Roll and Nichols Canyon. However Midnight Legend with Sizing John and a few placers was the top money earning sire with £340k. French breeders came well to the fore with the big three prizes on Day 1. In 2016 Kayf Tara won best sire with Thistlecrack, Ballyandy and, Blaklion. Robin Des Champs had Un Temps Pour Tout and Vautour, High Chaparral has Altior,Walk in the Park Douvanand Min.

Kings Theatre was the only sire in 2015 to have 2 winners and that was lucky as 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 10 years. only two handicap places in 2018. Presenting has 14 winners from 170 runners. Both Oscar and Robins Des Champs have 13. (Robin's numbers helped slightly by Quevega). One each in 2018. Accordion has sired 9 Festival winners since Dato Star in 1995. Bob Back 8 winners from 70 runners, none last three years. In the last six Festivals the numbers of different winning sires covering the now 28 races were 28, 27, 23, 26, 22, 23. The 25 Champion Bumper sires are named on that page. This does show the variety and numbers in the breeding programme. A Racing Post article in 2018asked five top breeders for their favourite new sires. Overwhelming support for Getaway and Ask. Getabird

In 2018, 14 winners were Irish bred, 11 French and three English.

Ruby Walsh RTE Dublin Festival weekend made the point that we tend to make too much of the sire of the winner and should concentrate more on he breeding on the dam's side as that's where the stamina tends to comes from. Not enough time, and not enough knowledge on the topic. Maybe for another year. Jane Mangan on the Final Furlong Podcast is always fascinating on the breeding topic when a guest.

 

Of the 296 races over the last 11 Festivals, 88 have been won by French breds.

And finally, my original stat from 1985. 'Back something that was 1st or 2nd last time out'. 18 from 28 last year. In 2107only 16 from 28 races, a poor return. 2016 18 from 28. 2015 only 16 from 27. In 2014 it was 18 from 27. 2013 20 from 27. In some races this is unlikely to be a big distiguisher. But in 1985 there was no bumper or Mares Novice!

My work here is now done.

Enjoy

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