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TOP FESTIVAL TRAINERS - 2013 to 2017 - Mullins 30, Henderson 12, Elliott 12, Nicholls 9, Pipe 7, O'Neill 5

Willie Mullins continues to stride on from Nicky Henderson. Willie increases his lead from 8 to 18 winners in the last two Festivals over the 5 yr spread. He is about 13% winners per runners and has won over £1m in prize money at each of the last three Festivals. Willie has run 232 horses over the past five Festivals and he is £25 in profit for a £1 stake on those. That's pretty good. Nicky on 7%. He is minus £104 for the same period. G Elliott bounces up to second over P Nicholls and is now looking Nicky in the eye. G Elliott is now +£60 for a £1 stake all runners over the past five years and shows no sign of stopping. Jonjo has struck only once in the past three Festivals (Minella Rocco). Trainer with current best percentage winners/runners is now P Kelly with his only two Festival runners winning the last two Pertemps Finals. Adieu J Culloty with Spring Heeled and Lord Windermere.

W Mullins since 2003 is 27 winners from 46 Festival runners of those SP 3/1 and under. Three from seven last year, the fantastic G1 Thursday but remember Melon, Limini, Douvan and Djakadam. Six from eight in 2016 (Min, ouch, still stings and Un De Sceaux beat). Only twelve from his total of 54 winners have been over fences but seven of those twelve have come in the last three years. Has also trained 5 different Gold Cup runner ups so he seems to know what he is doing with the bigger obstacles. Hasn't really followed PN's view on 'being more selective'. Ran 45 over the four days last year. Mind you, that is down from 61 in 2016 and 56 in 2015.  Be advised. I'm not sure that Mr Mullins cares that much for stats. 'You have no chance of winning a G1 Festival hurdle off the back off a fall' (Nichols Canyon RIP). 'Willie has an awful record in the Albert Barlett' (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. 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? He can't do this to me. Might be writing his own stats book. Has also won seven of the h'cap hurdles in the past eight years. We'll give three stats for him to target in 2018. Willie doesn't train winners of Festival h'caps above 2m 5f and no winner of the stayers has ever come from the Albert Bartlett and rarely without a prep run (Penhill). He has a poor record in the Triumph (last winner Scolardy '02). Should be enough to keep him going.

Although no longer a trainer I still think it's a great thing that Colm Murphy's 13 placed horses came from a total of 20 Festival runners. Three placed from three runners in 2012.

9 of David Pipe's 14 Festival winners have worn blinkers. He has won 3 G1 chases, the G1 bumper and 10 handicaps. Only ran eight in last year Festival including Un Temps Pour Tout and 11 in total 2016. Knows how difficult it has become.

8 of Jonjo O'Neill's 9 handicap winners have been in races over 3m+.

Trainers Cold List - P Hobbs was in tears on RUK after Defi Du Seuil in the Triumph broke the 55 losing run. She didn't mean it but Lydia's interview was nearly an intrusion on the man. (This is important to these people). Mr Hobbs had 8 course winners between the 2015 and 2016 Festivals but was winnerless at the Festival since Fingal Bay benefitted from Darryl Jacob's photo misjudgement in the 2014 Pertemps. Since 2011 Mr Hobbs had only won with Fingal and Balthazar's Gift (twice in the X Country). He's a nice man. In January 2000 he took my call as I, a nobody punter, practically wept down the phone after Dr Leunt died in exactly the same circumstances as Many Clouds. Current Cold Festival list, C Longsdon 58 (no luck with Pendra, ran out of puff), T George 51 (young Heskin might have been a bit busier on Singlefarmpayment), V Williams 52, A King 46, D McCain 39, T Vaughan 40. N Williams off this list thanks to Flying Tiger. It doesn't take long to build up a Festival losing run. Jonjo 28, Tizzard 25,Twiston Davies, 24. Even ask Willie before Yorkhill in the JLT last year. Henry De Bromhead came off this list last year with Special Tiara. On the 17th October 2017 Master Dancer won a Cl3 H'cap hurdle at Cheltenham for T Vaughan. 140 odd runners. And every trainer present came up to shake his hand. Great TV. He tweeted 'It.Just.Happened.' (This place is important...) Both Brian Ellison 11yrs (Definitly Red) and Nicky Richards 8yrs (Guitar Pete) have also come off the course Cold list. Leaders now, Dartnall 9 yrs (40 runners), Lavelle 4 yrs (40). It seems harsh with the technical disqualification of Any Currency but Messrs Keighley, Webber, Richards Simply Ned, Guitar Pete or Mann have yet to saddle a Festival winner. A King came off the cold list with AP's final Festival winner, Uxizandre, in 2015 but its now 46 runnners since. Now out of the current top ten. 9 of his 15 Festival winners have been in G1s. But 0 from 17 with Festival Favourites. (Yanworth last year).


All time Trainers Wins leaderboard - N Henderson 58, W Mullins 54, P Nicholls 41, F Walwyn 40, M Pipe 34, F Winter 28, F Rimell 27, JJ ONeill 26, T Dreaper 26, V O'Brien 23, B Turnell 23. (Nicky leading trainer 9 times but Willie has won 5 of the last 7). After 6 winners last year, G Elliott now on 14.

In 6 of the last 8 Festivals, N Henderson has had at least 2 G1 winners. Three last year. Whisper was his only winner in 2014, Call the Cops and Peace and Co (G1) 2015.

CHAMPION TRAINER Paul Nicholls has had a career 135 odd runners in the h'cap chases. Four winners, Solar Impulse 28s 2016, Andreas '07 and St Pirran '04. All three in the Grand Annual along with Chapoturgeon in '09 Jewson. Two of his last three Festival Chase winners have come immediately on the back of a handicap hurdle success. Ibis De Rheu last year and Aux Petit Soins/Dodging Bullets 2015 Queen Mother. Dodging broke a losing run of 81 in all types of Festival chases. (Momentum!). First stable Festival chase winner since Kauto Star's 2009 Gold Cup. After 13 others tried in 2015 chases, Southfield Threatre placed in RSA the sole other return. 7 of them (including Dodging) started 7/1 or under. In 2014, 14 tried, seven of them were 10/1 or under, nothing placed. 2013, 11 tried, again nothing paid a return. Last year Mr Nichols won a chase at the Festival for the third successive year with Pacha Du Polder 16s in the Foxhunters. Also decent runs by Bouvreuil 10s, Wonderful Charm 7/2, Le Prezien 7/2fav, all three short enough in price and Arpege D'Alene. Definitely redressing the balance somewhat. But I submit that the stable continues to be overbet in this area.

Apart from Big Bucks, he has only been successful with one out of 20 favourites in the past 8 Festivals (Sanctuaire, 2010 Fred Winter). Le Prezien, the ill fated Stilletto 2016 and both Saphir De Rheu and Silviniaco Conti beaten favs in 2015 (Feb 25th Racing Post 2016 he 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.). In the last 4 festivals Mr Nicholls has had 9 winners, Dodging Bullets, 7 handicappers (6 of which were hurdlers) and a Foxhunters With no big owner firepower any longer that is still a very good performance. I have seen it suggested that Dodging Bullets won a handicap disguised as a Queen Mother Champion Chase but that's not fair. With none of the handicap winners being a favourite the average price for these winners has been nearly 16/1. No longer seems to have the Graded firepower but definitely worth thinking about his plots. Politilogue only runner in any of the four 2018 Championship Races? Racing Post Feb 26th 2018, talking about the trainers championship 'I'm not going to waste bullets at Cheltenham. I do what I do every year, duck and dive and win what I can with all of them'. Foxhunters only last year, will he now have six runners in the Kim Muir? Cruel. Still ran 50 over the last two Festivals.

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