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Trainers

FESTIVAL RECORDS

TOP FESTIVAL TRAINERS - 2016 to 2020 - Mullins 31, Elliott 27, Henderson 15, Nicholls 9, de Bromhead 6, Skelton 4.

W Mullins continues on his impressive way, the Gold Cup Day four timer leaving him one down over his 5 year rolling average. This figure has changed little over the past three years. G Elliott continues to gallop on moving from 10 to 27 in the past three rolling year periods. Up 6 last year. N Henderson has fought back back from 10 to 15 over the last two years. P Nicholls down two, H de Bromhead up two, changing places with D Skelton. D Pipe, Jessica, Tizzards now out of the top six list.

W Mullins remains about 11% winners per runners and has won over £900k in prize money at each of the last five Festivals, (last year his highest for a while at £1.2m). He has increased his numbers of runners per festival by 47 over the past three years up to 283 last year over the last five years. Averages 14 runners every Festival Day. Over the last four yr period on a blind £1 SP stake he has gone from +£25 to - £32 to +£1 to -£5 on the five year rolling average. 11 of those 31 Festival winners were chasers. But not one handicap chaser.

From 2016 to 2020, G Elliott is +£78 for a £1 stake on all runners, up from £58 last year. Those 27 winners have come from 166 runners (16%). 12 of the 27 were chasers. Still accelerating, he has by far the best Festival strike rate of the top trainers . N Henderson on a five year 9% rate. His 15 winners have taken 175 runners and he's -£65 for a £1 stake. P Nicholls stormed back with quality G1 wins in the QM, RSA and Ryanair in the past two Festivals. Over the last 5 seasons his 9 winners have come from 125 runners (7%). But interestingly, he's only -£5 for a £1 stake over that time. Patrick G Kelly with his only seven Festival runners has won three races with Presenting Percy and Mall Dini. Seems to have come to a halt.

W Mullins since 2003 is 30 winners from 61 Festival runners of those SP 3/1 and under. Min 2/1 2nd fav his only winner from EIGHT last year. Yes, Asterion Forlonge, Benie Des Dieux, Carefully Selected, Alloha, Appreciate It, Faugheen and Billaway all favourites priced 3/1 and under and EVERY ONE OF THEM BEAT. In 2019 all three of his qualifiers failed, Benie Des Dieux, Laurina, and Ballyward, all on the first day. Looking back, after early success with Klassical Dream and Duc de Genievres in the Supreme and the Arkle, they must have thought they were in for a real bonanza on the first day. Two from four won in 2018, Getabird and Un De Sceaux disappointing. In 2017 it was three from seven, the fantastic G1/G2 Thursday four timer but remember Melon, Limini, Douvan and Djakadam. Only 18 from his total of 72 winners have been over fences but 13 of those 18 have come in the last six years. Has also trained Al Boum Photo and 5 different Gold Cup runner ups so would be fair to say he knows what he is doing with the bigger obstacles. Wouldn't say he was that selective. Ran 56 over the four days last year, 56 in 2019 64 in 2018 , 45 in 2017, 61 in 2016 and 56 in 2015.

Do please be advised. I'm not sure that Mr Mullins cares that much for stats. 'Back to back GCs?' You don't win the County with a first time handicapper (Thumbs Up '93, the last one). 'Once raced mare to win Triumph?' Nonsense. 'Supreme winners only run a maximum of 4 or 5 times over hurdles' (Klassical Dream) 'Albert Bartlett winners have no chance in a Stayers' (Penhill). Cyborgo '96 last horse to win a Stayers without a prep run' (Penhill). 'All the bumper winners had different sires.' Not now, thanx to Relegate. 'None of his 24 runners have finished in the first two in a Coral Cup.' (Bleu Berry, Wicklow Brave) Horses that have won graded hurdles have poor records in Coral Cups' (Bleu Berry),'You have no chance of winning a G1 Festival hurdle off the back off a fall' (Nichols Canyon). 'Willie has an awful record in the Albert Bartlett' (Penhill), 'Horses never carry over 11st 8 lb to win a County' (Arctic Fire), You just don't win a G1 Festival Chase of the back of a fall (Black Hercules). Don Poli winning an RSA with only two previous runs over fences? But surely RSA winners need to have run in the calendar year (Don Poli). Sired by Montjeu and getting up hills? You can't be serious. Champion Hurdle winners need a run in the calendar year? Supreme winners need to be out no more than 45 days beforehand and shouldn't lead the whole way? Etc, etc.

Keeps doing this to me every year. Has also won nine of the h'cap hurdles in the past eleven years. Do remember him being interviewed on course one day about the Montjeu stat. He politely enquired, 'what stat?' THIS HAPPENS IN SOME RACE EVERY YEAR. My Willie Mullins stat- 'If the stats say the Willie Mullins runner can't win, then seriously consider the Willie Mullins runner.'

So, what stats shall we set Willie to stab at in 2021? Let's give him a couple. Three Gold Cups with the same horse. What about a QM? A handicap chase or any Festival handicap over 2m 5f? Should be enough to keep him going.

Gordon Elliott - 24 winners is the last four Festivals, is also beginning to rewrite his own stats. What, a Triumph Hurdle winner could win a four miler (and two Nationals)? Catch yourself on. French bred five year old takes the Pertemps? Get a grip. Same horse wins back to back Pertemps? Novice rated 147 takes Grand Annual? Can't happen. 7lb claimer on a novice takes Kim Muir? No, no no. Don Cossack remains Gordon's only open G1 Festival winner. Mind you, If Paddy Brennan hadn't tried to pass them all at the third last, no, don't start me....

9 of David Pipe's 14 Festival winners have worn blinkers. He has won 3 G1 chases, the G1 bumper and 10 handicaps. Six runners in 2020, Night Edition 2nd Boodles, the best. Only three runners in 2019 (Eamon An Cnoic 4th) nine in 2018 and eight in 2017 including Un Temps Pour Tout winner of Ultima in successive years. Knows how difficult it has become.

8 of Jonjo O'Neill's 9 handicap winners have been in races over 3m+. None recent, nor likely, according to him. Dan Skelton has yet to train a Festival winner over fences.

All time Trainers Festival Wins leaderboard - W Mullins 72, N Henderson 68, P Nicholls 46, F Walwyn 40, M Pipe 34, G Elliott 32, F Winter 28, F Rimell 27, JJ ONeill 26, T Dreaper 26, V O'Brien 23, B Turnell 23. (Nicky has been leading trainer 9 times but not since 2012. Willie has won the title in 7 of the last 10. After 24 winners in the last four Festivals, G Elliott breezes up the board. M Pipe next in his sights.

In 9 of the last 11 Festivals, N Henderson has had at least 2 G1 winners. Shishkin, Epatante and Champ last year, Altior and Pentland Hills 2019, Altior and Buveur D'Air 2018, three the year before. Whisper, Coral Cup, was his only winner in 2014, Call the Cops and Peace and Co (Triumph) 2015.

Trainers Cold List - P Hobbs was in tears on RUK after Defi Du Seuil in the 2017 Triumph broke the 55 losing run. She didn't mean it but Lydia's interview was practically an intrusion on the man. (Just an example to show how important this is to these people). Defi once again broke his two year run in 2019 and is his sole Festival winner since Fingal Bay benefited from Darryl Jacob's misjudgement of the finishing line in the 2014 Pertemps. He's a nice man, is Mr Hobbs. In January 2000 he took my call as I, a nobody punter, wept down the phone when Dr Leunt died after the Cotswold Chase in exactly the same circumstances as Many Clouds. (Sorry, I keep this story because I like to remind myself of the Doctor). The 2020 Festival wasn't kind to P Hobbs. Some didn't run well, Defi beat at 2/5 in the QM, Pileon nutted on the line in the Martin Pipe. Little consolation that he won nearly £44k in prize money. Watch this emotional interview with Kim Bailey, after Imperial Aura won the novice h'cap last year. https://www.racingtv.com/videos/watch/ondemand/85863. Kim's first actual course success since 2015. Does anybody not think these trainers want 5 days?

CURRENT COLD FESTIVAL LIST - A King 79, C Longsdon 63, V Williams 70, N Twiston-Davies 72, D McCain 41, T Vaughan 41. It doesn't take long to build up a Festival losing run. Ask Colin Tizzard now on 40, Jonjo 43, Tom George 31, Fergal O'Brien 29 (in the past 5 yrs). For some of these trainers, now even getting one good enough to compete can be an achievement. Even ask Willie. In 2019 between Duc de Genievres winning the Arkle and Eglantine Du Seuil the Mares Novice, he built up a losing run of 33 in two days! Tom George has a lot to thank Summerville Boy for, Rebecca, Lisnagar Oscar. Henry De Bromhead came off this list in 2017 with Special Tiara (RIP) in the QM. Henry will never forget and hasn't looked back since. On the 17th October 2017 Master Dancer won a Cl3 H'cap hurdle at Cheltenham trained by T Vaughan. 140 odd runners before he had any winner at Cheltenham. And every trainer present came up to shake his hand. Great TV. He tweeted 'It. Just. Happened.'

All Course Meeting Cold list. Leaders now, S Mullins 17yrs, (71 runners) E Williams 3yrs (50), Daly 5yrs (47), Longsdon 3yrs (47), H Fry 3yrs (41), L Russell 8yrs (41), R Leech 4ys (43) Mann 10yrs (31) McPherson 0-32, Hobson 0-30. It seems harsh with the technical disqualification of Any Currency but Messrs O'Brien, Keighley, Longsdon, Webber and Richards have yet to saddle a Festival winner. A King nothing since AP's final Festival winner, Uxizandre in 2015. 9 of his 15 Festival winners have been in G1s. But 0 from 17.5 with Festival Favourites. Blacko backed down to 5/1jt fav in the 2020 Fred Winter. No idea why.

Fergal O'Brien in a 2020 RTV interview said that having a Cheltenham winner 'does not define you as a trainer.' Really? Click on to http://www.jamiesnowdenracing.co.uk Name me Jamie's sole Festival winner? And the year? No? It's at the bottom of the page but good luck to him, he's entitled to plug it as much as he likes. Steady on there, Fergal.

CHAMPION TRAINER Paul Nicholls - Stormed back to Festival G1 prominence in the last two years with Politologue, Topofthegame and Frodon. And with a dual KG winner. You could hardly say that with a QM 1-2 he has continued to duck and dive with the Irish Invasion. Quite Interesting last year that John Hales asked for Harry Skelton to ride the QM winner and not STD. Even gave the riding instructions i the parade ring to go out and make it when Harry said they didn't go fast enough for him in the Coral Cup. Ballsy of PN to put the horse away after the Tingle Creek. He ran 18 in total in 2020, the well publicised 'day off in the pub' no runners Tuesday finishing with 11 on Friday. Frodon, Solo and Clan des Obeaux didn't fire, Greanteen 5/1 novice 4th in Grand Annual, his only other placing. Has had a career 150 odd runners in the h'cap chases. Three last year, seven in 2019, best Brelan D'As Grand Annual third. Five h'cap chase winners in total, Le Prezien 15/2 2018, Solar Impulse 28s 2016, Andreas '07 and St Pirran '04. All four in the Grand Annual along with Chapoturgeon in '09 Jewson. Eight ran 2018. Ibis De Rheu in 5th Close Bros next best. Three of his last four Festival Chase winners close on the back of a Festival success. Le Prezien followed Pacha du Polder in 2018, Solar Impulse followed Ibis De Rheu in 2016 and Aux Petit Soins immediately preceded Dodging Bullets' 2015 Queen Mother. (Momentum?) Dodging broke a losing run of 81 in all types of Festival, being PN's his first Festival chase winner since Kauto Star's 2009 Gold Cup. Last year broke his five year run of winning a Festival Chase each year. Eight of his last 13 successes were achieved in handicaps. Yet to win Ultima and knows. Was all over Give Me a Copper in the 2019 Ultima beaten when fell. I would suggest look out for Roman De Semain, Brelan D'As, Give Me A Copper, Le Prezien, Magic Saint, Greanteen.

Apart from Big Buck's, he has only been successful with one out of 21 favourites in the past 11 Festivals (Sanctuaire, 2010 Fred Winter). Magic Saint, Le Prezien, the ill fated Stilletto 2016 and both Saphir De Rheu and Silviniaco Conti beaten favs in 2015. He has said, 'the festival isn't the be-all and end-all...its not all about Cheltenham...more enjoyable not having so many high profile horses going there.' Sure it is. Watching the TV coverage of him in the parade ring riding Frodon home in the 2019 Ryanair might suggest different. Love that passion). In the last 7 festivals PN has had 13 winners, Politologue, Dodging Bullets, Frodon, Topofthegame, 7 handicappers (5 of which were hurdlers) and Pacha twice.As said, none were favourite. With no real big owner firepower any longer that is an excellent performance. I have seen it suggested that Dodging Bullets won a handicap disguised as a Queen Mother Champion Chase but that's unfair. With none of the handicap winners being a favourite the average price for these winners has been about 14/1. Politologue still 20/1 for 2021. A huge price for previous year's deserved winner.

Present View 2014 Novice Handicap Chase - Jamie Snowden

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