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?

AGE IN CHAMPIONSHIP RACES - Real class will usually bury stats. 162 horses have contested the four championship races this century when aged 10 or older. 159 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. No other old guard placed in 2016. Last year My Tent Or Yours placed in Ch Hurdle. This year's triers may include Faugheen My Tent Or Yours, Cue Card, Special Tiara, Simply Ned, Gods Own, The New One, Unowhatimeanharry, Outlander, Mala BeachTo move it to all G1 festival races, 5 from the last 187 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. Un De Sceaux

RUNS THAT SEASON - Between 2011 and 2017, 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. Frodon 6 runs Black Corton 10 runs since June

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 10s 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. 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, Including 2017 that only makes a total of 25 winners since 1991 (about 592 races) who had one of the letters beside their name from their last run. 8 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 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 '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, two placed. In 2014, 37 other 'letters' ran, all unplaced. In 2013 apart from Carrickboy, one placed from 29 othersOur 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. Missed Aproach, 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'. We are ignoring Labaik on official advice. If he had refused for a third time in Ireland, he wouldn't have been here.

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. (It is a pity Cue Card is too old. Just get him over the third last Paddy, and home in one piece)

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 2017 to 19th February 2018

1. Kings Theatre, 2. Fleminsfirth, 3. Presenting (2017 RIP) 4. Oscar, 4. Beneficial. 6. Milan. Although deceased in 2011 Kings Theatre continues in first having moved there in 2014. Leads the rest this season by £200k. His offspring have won £1.8m. In context between Fleminsfirth 2nd and Kayf Tara 8th there is only £400k. Kayf Tara was 2nd last year, now moved out of top 5. Fleminsfirth has gone from 5th to 2nd. 17 of Saddler Maker's offspring have run in GB this season. 8 of the 17 have won. Kings Theatre responsible for Cue Card, The New One. Presenting the sire of Yorkhill. Flemensfirth's sole Festival winner at a distance over 2m 5f is Imperial Commander. Waiting Patiently, Foxrock, Invitation Only, Poetic Rhythm. All Beneficial's six Festival winners have won at 2m 4f or further. Mr Whipped, Mala Beach. Milan's festival duck was broken in 2013 and doubled with Mall Dini in 2016. Double Shuffle, Monalee, Santini, Monbeg Notorious.  Ivanovich Gorbatov was Montjeu's third Festival winner. Hill? What hill?


None of Kings Theatre, Oscar, Milan, Beneficial or Fleminsfirth sired winners at the 2017 Festival. Yorkhill the only winner to be sired by the current top 6 GB sires.

WHICH SIRE IS HOT at the Festival? - Authorised took the plaudits in 2017 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 Douvan and 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 9 years. Presenting has 14 winners from 170 runners. Oscar and Robins Des Champs have a dozen each. (Robin's numbers helped slightly by Quevega). Accordion has sired 9 Festival winners since Dato Star in 1995. No winners last four 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 27, 23, 26, 22, 23 and 23. The 25 Champion Bumper winners have all had different sires (named on that page). This does show thw variety and numbers in the breeding programme. A Racing Post article asked five top breeders for their favourite new sires. Overwhelming support for Getaway and Ask. Getabird, Verdana Blue.

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, maybe for another year.

And finally, my original stat from 1985. 'Back something that was 1st or 2nd last time out'. Last year only 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. 2012, 18 from 27. In some races this is never a big distiguisher.

My work here is now done.


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