· General Trends

WEIGHT CARRYING IN HANDICAP CHASES - 57 of last 86 'normal' handicap chases at Festival have been won by horses carrying 11st or less including jockeys allowances. But only 1 out of 5 in each of the last four years, 4 out of 5 '13, 3 out of 5 in '12, '11 and '10, 4 out of 5 in ‘08 and '09, all five in ‘07). 'Normal' means not cross country which is now a conditions race. In the last 6 years this weight carrying stat has been 'skewed'. In 19 of the last 24 won by horses carrying over 11st, the bottom weights have been no lower than 10.7. So beware of compressed handicaps. (Now usually in the 2m 4f Novice handicap and Kim Muir each year)

Irish trained handicap chasers (not the Cross Country). In 2017 22 came (19% of the total runners in the five h'caps). Tully East, Road To Respect and Rock The World all won, places achieved by Noble Endeavour, Powersbomb, The Last Goodbye (5th) and Dandridge. Two Irish were BFs Diamond King and Squouateur. In 2016 17 ventured across the Irish Sea (15 % of total runners). Achieved two wins with Empire of Dirt and Cause Of Causes and four places (30% strike rate) In 2015 a larger than usual raiding party of 21 tried over the five h'caps (19% of runners). Again returned with 6 of the 20 places available (30%), no winners but placed at 28s, 25s twice and 20s. 2014, 9 came (8% of total fields), two winners Spring Heeled and Savello, two seconds and a fourth. In 2013 10 attended (9%), 3 from 20 possible places (15%) achieved including Alderwood 3/1 winner of Grand Annual. 2012 15 triers(14%), 4 placed (20%). Glam Gerry best at 33/1. In 2011 10 runners (9.5%), 3 placed (15%) Askthemaster and Deal Done placed at 50/1 and 20/1 respectively would probably have paid your way had you backed all 10. Previous Irish handicap chase winners were Finger On The Pulse (Nov H'Cap) and Tiger Cry (Grand Annual) in 2008. Nearly call this a trend.

Handicap hurdles - last time placed horses, beaten favourites and course winners - Diego Du Charmil 13/2 2016 Fred Winter joined Whisper in 2014 and Ted Veale 2013 to become the only winners since Silver Jaro (County Hurdle '08) of the last 86 handicap hurdles to have been a beaten favourite last time out. Diego had been a BF in France. 12 last year tried, none successful. L'Ami Serge came close, but then he always does. 13 tried in total in 2016. 11 BFs last time in the 2015 handicap hurdles, no winners.

13 of those 79 winners (16%)were placed 2nd or 3rd last time out. This one taking a big hit in recent years with 3 of the 5 breaking it in 2016 from 39 qualifiers or 32% of runners. 25 qualifiers in 2015, Killultagh Vic won, 39 qualified in 2014 Whisper won, 40 out of 127 (32%) qualified in 2013, both Holywell and Ted Veale won. A total maximum of 122 runners can compete in the 5 h'cap hurdles. Possibly it has more difficult to 'lay' one out as trainers want to guarantee getting in for a run?

Last year none of the h'cap hurdles were won by the 22 course winners who competed. In 2016 it was none from 11, in 2015 it was none from 20(16% of runners). In 2014 Whisper, Fingal Bay and Lac Fontana all won handicap hurdles having already been previous course winners of (novice) hurdles. 26% of numbers qualified in 2014. That makes 7 winners from the last 94 handicap hurdles had a capital C beside their name. The previous ones were Buena Vista '11, Spirit River '10, Andytown '09 and Master Tern '00. The latter four (and Lac) were winning their second course handicap hurdle in the space of 12 months. In 2013, 27 or (21%) were previous course winners, none won, 3 gained one of the 20 places available. In 2012, 26 of the h'cap hurdle runners (20%) were previous course winners, only Edguardo Sol gained a place. In 2011 18 tried, apart from Buena Vista winning, First Point also placed in Conditionals. 2010, 15 tried, Arcalis, Dee Ee Williams and Radium also placed. (Spirit River, Andytown and Whisper all trained by N Henderson).

47 of the last 91 handicap hurdles have been won by a horse that was winner last time out (from about 20% of the runners) Only one out of the 5 in the last two Festivals (Presenting Percy, slaughtered by the handicapper, he was). 3 from 5 in each of 2015 and 2014. 33 last time out winners tried last year, 26 qualifiers in 2016, 25 in 2015, 31 in 2014.

CONDITIONS HURDLE LAST TIME NOW IN A HANDICAP HURDLE? - Since 2008 none of the Fred Winter winners had their last race in a handicap. Very few of the runners in that will actually have competed in one. Of the 36 other handicap hurdles run over the last 9 years, 13 winners had their last race in a non handicap hurdle. Nine of the 13 were Irish trained (e.g. Diamond King in a rated hurdle, Killultagh Vic and Don Poli in a Graded Novices), Aux Ptit Soins came straight from a French 4yr old hurdle, Kayf Aramis won a Warwick Novice, Andytown last of 4 in a Novice Chase and only Pause For Clause (U in a G2) came from an English Non handicap Hurdle. (Beware eye catching English trained coming to a Festival h'cap from an Eng Novice Hurdle or big runs in the Relkeel/National Spirit at Fontwell?) Last year the four all aged handicap hurdles were won by Irish trained. All bar Presenting Percy ran in Graded Race last time out. (And they will continue to do so, making it as hard for the English Handicapper as possible).

CARRYING A PENALTY - Only one handicap chase winner since 2000 ran in the 14 days before (Holmwood Legend in the Mildmay 2011 and therefore the only one who could be winning under a penalty. Call The Cops carried 5lb penalty to win Pertemps H'cap Hurdle in 2015

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