What Happened in 2020 and 2019
Only two Gstat rules, mind.
1. The beauty of each stat lies solely in the eye of the beholder.
2. All Cheltenham Stats die. It is just a matter of when.
It probably shouldn't have been on. But neither should have a lot of things.
Tuesday - Only three horses in the Supreme rated in the 150s, one wins. NH continues to produce horses that can win or be placed in this. Shiskin won last time and had won over 50% of all hurdle runs. Put The Kettle On was the only G2 Course chase winner in the field. A six yr old, had won 4 of its 5 chases and wasn't the favourite. Aidan Coleman came off the cold list in 2019. Like Beware The Bear in 2019, The Conditional had its best RPR of at least 143 when been placed in this season's Newbury's Ladbroke Chase, was a course chase winner and wasn't trained in Ireland. A seven yr old, on the up, wearing cheekpieces. (So why didn't you tip him, you clown). Epatante, ah Epatante. A six year old and the only unbeaten horse this season in the field. The only G1 winner last time out. Beats the only other horse in the field rated above 160. (NH felt he had to tell us about a cough or two. Would it not have been better just to keep quiet about little things like that?) Benie Des Dieux was too old at 9 and Rachel's quite good. Imperial Aura came from that January Timeform 2m 4f novice handicap chase at Cheltenham. Wasn't older than seven, had only won one chase. Not trained by Gordon or Willie. Maiden over fences finished second, headgear wearer finished third. (Simple). The experienced chaser Ravenhill with six previous chase runs going back to the 31st May, was trained by Gordon Elliott and had some boy called Codd in the saddle, his third win in the last six.
Wednesday - Envoi Allen had won the 2019 Bumper, was unbeaten over hurdles including G1s, top rated at 154, and Irish trained. (What do you mean, he was in trouble coming round the corner?) Challow winner didn't turn up. Knew. Champ was rated 153 over hurdles, previously Festival placed, three chase runs and wasn't unbeaten. In the Coral Cup, the clear favourite was well due and Barry Geraghty had just won the RSA. Dame De Compagnie had only won one handicap, had only run in seven hurdles and it was Nicky Henderson's fourth winner of this in 11 years. All four were previous course winners. Politologue, ah yes, Politologue. Second in the QM in 2019, gave Paul Nicholls his sixth win in the race. Not ridden by STD. G1 winner and only two previous runs this season. Easysland was from the top two in the market, previous C&D this season. No more than five X Country runs and JP owned. Not trained by WM, PN or NH. In the Boodles, Aramax had the letter A in its name, became Gordon's third win in eight. JP four timer on the day. Alan King remained on cold list with heavily punted 16s to 5s Blacko. I know Delargy has power, but.. Mick Pastor in the first time hood never stood a chance (Thank you, Andrew Mount). A Willie 1-2 in the bumper. Winner had been out within the 40 days.
Thursday - Samcro was a shortish priced Irish Trained, and a G1 Festival Hurdle winner over the trip. (Still convinced that Melon got back up). The 12 yr old Faugheen didn't win. Pertemps winner hadn't won a qualifier, was trained by Gordon Elliott and owned by JP. Had only ever won one handicap. This one! Davy Russell finished second on another Elliott horse. Min had strong previous Festival form, twice second to Altior, was a G1 chase winner over the trip and French bred. 'Always prominent.' Lisnagar Oscar, ah yes, Lisnagar Oscar. Right age and only one of two runners in the field to come from last year's Albert Bartlett. Like the previous two Stayers winners. Obviously therefore hadn't been beaten in this before. Placed in the Cleeve. (See, easy enough). Simply The Betts was a novice with few chase runs. Had won on Trials day. No headgear. The crescendo of a successful week for the Whittington stable (unlike PH, AK, NTD, CT, DS). Willie 1-2-4-5 in the Mares Novice Hurdle. (Lovely tipping, Tony Keenan, you daisy). Darryl In Green was Due. Milan Native the right age, the fourth Irish trained in seven, and not the most fancied one. Under 12/1 but hadn't won all season. Best RPR achieved in one of previous two runs. Strongly tipped by trainer on preview nights.
Friday - Goshen would have won a furlong. Flat rated over 80. Both he and Burning Victory were unbeaten over hurdles, were French Bred, and had raced over at least 1m 4f on the Flat. There was no Nicky H runner. Mares priced under 14s do have a decent record. Saint Roi was a Willie Mullins novice who had never run here before. Best RPR last time out. Clear favourite was well due. When Monkfish went in, Gault's Momentum Theory was in overdrive (pity I didn't pay any effing attention until the GC). The Albert Bartlett winner was a 6yr old who had already won over 2m 7f. Didn't run in Cheltenham or Aintree bumper. Al Boum Photo covered all my stats bar the big one. It Came To Pass, ah, It Came To Pass. The right age, came from the p2p background, had run well in this race before. Seventh Irish trained in the last ten, not ridden by either Jamie Codd or Patrick Mullins. Had previously won 3 hunter chases and wasn't blinkered. (Convinced? Me neither.) Us And Them was the clear stats plot horse in the Grand Annual but couldn't get to the two Irish novices. Chosen Mate was in the right ratings and age band, had ran in less than 12 chases and hadn't won a handicap this season. Not conditional ridden. Indefatigable (a wonderful mare, he aftertimed), won last time out at Listed level within the last 52 days. Third top weight in a row to win this. Rex Dingle has ridden over 50 winners including a £62k to the winner chase.
Well, that seemed easy enough.
2020 - What Didn't Work
Tuesday - You don't come from Huntingdon with only three previous runs and win a Supreme, especially having won at only Listed Level. Willie Mullins always has something placed in this. In 1980, Analogs Daughter was the last mare to win an Arkle, for goodness sake. The Kettle had only a 123 hurdle rating and too many chase runs (5). All recent winners of the Ultima were in the 140s and out within the last 45 days. Epatante, ah Epatante. A Gerry Fielden winner? Too many favourites have recently won the Ch Hurdle, Nicky didn't run her in the Contenders Hurdle and she was very inexperienced with only 5 hurdle runs and 4 wins (should still have backed her, you ejjitt). Benie Des Dieux got a bad ride. Imperial Aura didn't run in Graded class last time, was a BF last time (aagh) and had already been tried over 2m 4f but had failed to win. Ravenhill fell last time out, for goodness sake. And since 1946, no jockey had ever won three National Hunt Chases.
Wednesday - Best I can do for Envoi Allen is that his father was a miler. You don't win an RSA if you fell last time out. Dame De Compagnie was the Coral Cup Fav ffs (Xenophon '03), a bit lowly rated for recent winners (what was her rating, after all?). Didn't carry 11st and had no placed Graded form. A plot. Politologue had no win this season, hadn't run since the Tingle Creek, didn't finished 1st, 2nd, F or U last time. Easysland was only six years of age, hadn't any placed Graded form and was taking on a legend. Winning a recent Fred Winter with five previous hurdle runs? No, no, no. No placed horse wearing a hood. Pity. Ferny Hollow was a 'complete nutcase' (Jane Mangan, Racing TV). Not unbeaten since July and hadn't beaten a decent sized field.
Thursday - Immediately after the Marsh Chase, Eugene rang me from Celbridge to thank me as he had backed Samcro 'on my stats.' (I do like that. It's the ethos of my site. Two or more people can look at Gstats and all come up with completely different and justifiable opinions). Then I got told off for not putting him up. Ok, Samcro was a certainty. Apart from that he was too old at 8 years, hadn't run in the last 55 days, hadn't won a Graded Chase, was a BF last time out, not rated at least 151 and the bookies were, and still are due a result in this race. Melon did get up, didn't he?
Eight year olds don't win the Pertemps off 152, even if a previous winner. Irish trained winners of this tend to be novices. Min had no course win and was a bit old at 9. Lisnagar Oscar, where will I start? Finished outside the 1-2 last time, too many shocking runs since May and wasn't G1 placed in previous Festival when given the chance. Simply The Betts put the final nail in the coffin that winners of the Mildmay have had only ever had a sighter of the New Course, Concertista was still a maiden. Rob James, despite me witnessing him ride a helluva lot of good p2p winners, was still a 7lb claimer in the Kim Muir. And they don't win this. Milan Native hadn't ever run over 3 miles and was a handicap debutant. No solid graded form.
Friday - Willie and the Triumph? Come on now, we're talking Scolardy 2002. And Burning Victory had only raced once over hurdles. Sadness prevails as Thumbs Up in 1993 is no longer the last handicap debutant to win the County Hurdle. (Do get quite emotional at these times. R Dunwoody got us out on what was then the final race. Sweet 16s. Would have hacked the '94 Arkle. BD three out). The Fish didn't have the right Graded form to win an AB. And Willie has only ever won that race once with 35 runners. And, sure, he also has a poor enough GC record. Buses coming together came to mind. You don't win back to back. Far better race this year. La-di-dah. These first four winners were also covered by the 'Willie Mullins Doesn't Give a Monkeys about Stats' Stat. (See General Trends/Trainers Page) It Came To Pass too lowly rated at 126, got stuck it a Kilfeacle p2p bog last time out. Trust me, that's a bog. Hadn't run in enough chases and you could argue to the cows came home about how good his previous run was in this four years ago. Novice wins a helter skelter Grand Annual off 147 on the back of only three chase runs? Not for me. If he was that good, he should have been in the Arkle. Non Gigginstown and well exposed 7 yr old English trained mare wins Martin Pipe? Can't see it.
You couldn't have backed any of those.
Lucky enough to have made a few quid. I hope you did too. Please stay safe.
Tues - Handicappers don't win Supremes. The Betfair Hurdle has usually a first prize of at least £30k more than the G1 so perhaps that had been the main aim for Al Dancer? G1 winning novice hurdle form is usually handy. No five winning Arkle favs in a row. Momentum kicks in early for W Mullins with Duc de. Should have been three in the first day with Benie but word was that Ruby 'all over' Prestbury Cup to finish a draw. More of that later. Willie has difficulty in handicap chases. 2018 Close Bros hero Mister Whitaker made fav for Ultima yet fails to win another Festival Race shock. Maiden over fences gets placed in Close Brothers. A Plus Tard immediately identified as 'new Arkle' and gets a 20lb hike from the handicapper. Now 160. A fine ride from Rachel but beat what, again? That's the Betvictor Chase out of the picture. You don't win a 4 miler with only two previous chase runs and being trained by N Henderson. No jockey has won that three times since 1946 but Jamie Codd continues to be worth half a stone in an amateur finish.
Wed - Challow winners. Do they not know? Seven yr old wins RSA. Favourite never sighted in Coral Cup (give it up, Bryan, I know William Henry was the 2018 jtfav but it doesn't count). Altior knows about momentum and winning races. Favourite due to win cross country, well touted and tweeted from here. Enda still has difficulty on the day. Kevin Blake will tell lies about the merits of Joseph's four year old hurdlers. Willie yet to win the bumper with a four year old. Amateurs remain well able to ride the winner.
Thurs - Winners of JLTs have run at previous Festivals. Barry, now on the board, does a semi Wichita Lineman on Sire De Berlais. Winners of qualifiers don't win the Pertemps Final. That Leopardstown Qualifier at Christmas tends to be worth watching. I love Frodon and Bryony (then perhaps you should have had the balls to tip them, you clown). G1 three mile winning form this season useful when trying to win a Stayers. There wasn't that much to chose from. You need to know when to back Aidan Coleman at the Festival. (STD, Darryl In Green, Alan King?) No headgear wearer or BF last time takes Mildmay. Willie knows a thing or two about that Mares Novice Hurdle. The Doc is a great jockey and was due a win in the Kim Muir. Jack Kennedy has his own little piece of momentum today, placed on all three of his rides at fair prices. But the real momentum story were the jockeys who just happened to be female. Frodon, Paisley Park and Siruh Du Lac had all won on Trials Day.
Fri - A tragic start to the day but NH knows how to train a horse for the Triumph. The Skeltons seem to have the County in their pocket but not with course winners. Minella Indo stretches me but he was 1st or 2nd last time in graded class and is not French bred. W Mullins also knows a thing or two about training GC horses, Al Boum's only small negative was the 2m 5f previous run at Tramore. Well played. (Paul Townend's momentum stat, 'ride one winner, immediately rides another', actually worked but his next ride was Roll Again in a Down Royal maiden hurdle the next day). No horse wins the Foxhunters three times. Returns to a decent point to pointer being successful. Croco Bay, ah now, Croco Bay. Friends on course contacted me to say they backed Croco 'on my stats'. Sorry, but beyond me. In the Martin Pipe, Irish trained first four home, Early Doors a second season hurdler.
What Didn't Work
Tues - Big things were made of the last 10 Supreme winners all running either 4 or 5 times over hurdles. Trumped by the Willie Mullins 'doesn't give a monkeys about stats' stat. Klassical, two hurdle runs in Ire, five in France. None of the last six Ultima winners had been older than eight. First four home this year all aged nine. The big beast to go this day was a 5 yr old wins Champion Hurdle. I was at Naas the day Espoir won and even now wouldn't have backed him. Segal knew antepost. The big three didn't/weren't able to show their best and Mark Walsh picked up the pieces. Good luck to him. 63 BFs last time ran at the 2019 Festival. One winner, A Plus Tard, possibly the only one to start fav this time. Le Breuil had yet to be 1st and 2nd in a chase over at least 3 miles.
Wed - City Island had no graded form and was a biggish price for the Ballymore. Segal knew. Antepost 33s. Topofthegame seems to have had most bases covered. Gary and Segal knew. Coral Cup won by a Course winner, the first h'cap hurdle to fall to one since Whisper in 2014. In fact, the first three home were all previous Course winners! Well torpedoed. Altior and Tiger Roll nice on the stats. Torpillo was the only hood wearer in the Fred Winter. Received a pointless scalded cat ride from Darryl In Green. Band Of Outlaws 5lbs higher rating than any previous winner but with hindsight probably may have won the Triumph. Envoi Allen has done well to win 4 bumpers ending in a G1. Doesn't happen that often.
Thurs - Irish trained didn't count in the JLT. Irish winner in the Pertemps wasn't a novice. Frodon hadn't previously won a G1 but who cared. Paisley Park had one too many runs since Punchestown but the opposition here wasn't that hot. And what an hour. Siruh Du Lac smashed the previous New course winners don't win the Mildmay stat. Seven £2 pound Exchange win bets on all Willie's runners was the obvious way to go in the Mares' Novice Hurdle. And Derek O'Connor had only had won one Festival race since 2011. Obviously gone at the game. Rule No 1.
Fri - We will not dwell on the Triumph. Segal and Kealy in the RP all over Ch'tibello which drifted from 8s to 12s. Rated too high, not Irish, not second season hurdler, 19 hurdle runs, eight years old. The week's stats crusher. Minella Indo hadn't run enough over hurdles but no one told Rachel as she caught Ruby on the hop coming around the corner? Al Boum Photo covered all stats apart from that Tramore prep. See the W Mullins 'doesn't give a monkeys..' Hazel Hill was eleven yrs old but not a course winner. Croco Bay, well, too old to start with, and Early Doors wasn't running in his first handicap but shares a name with one of my all time favourite TV comedy series.
I made a few quid, mainly on Tuesday and with Paisley Park antepost. Gave far too much back on the Friday including a daft idea to try and make a book on the much vaunted Prestbury Cup without covering the draw. Not the Ryder Cup, Bryan. Unlikely to end 14.5 - 13.5. As usual and overall, it was great fun.
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