Year||| Form||| Winner |||Age||| Weight |||OR||| SP |||Trainer |||Jockey||| Last Race (No of days)
2022 ||| 5F1P83 ||| Commander Of Fleet ||| 8 ||| 11-10 ||| 152 ||| 50/1 ||| G Elliott(IRE) ||| S Fitzgerald (5) ||| 3rd Navan Boyne Hurdle 2m 5f
2021||| 2175441||| Heaven Help Us ||| 7 ||| 10-9 |||138 ||| 33/1 ||| P Hennessy(IRE) ||| R Condon (7) ||| 1st £52k DRF H'cap (38)
2020|||51||| Dame de Compagnie||| 5||| 10-12 |||140||| 5/1F||| N Henderson |||B Geraghty||| 1st Chelt M H'cap Hdle (88)
2019 |||P||| William Henry |||9||| 11-10||| 151||| 28/1||| N Henderson |||N de Boinville||| PU Cl2 Winc H'cap Hdle (77)
2018 |||0||| Bleu Berry||| 7||| 11-2||| 143||| 20/1 |||W Mullins(IRE)||| M Walsh||| 17th Leop Lstd H'cap Hdle (40)
2017 |||8124||| Supasundae||| 7||| 11-4||| 148||| 16/1 |||J Harrington(IRE)||| R Power |||4th G2 Navan Boyne Hdle (24)
2016||| 421||| Diamond King||| 8||| 11-3||| 149||| 12/1 |||G Elliott(IRE)||| D Russell |||1st Pnchstwn 11k Rated Hdle (67)
2015||| 31 |||Aux Ptits Soins||| 5||| 10-7 |||139||| 9/1 |||P Nicholls||| Sam Twiston-Davies||| 1st 19k Auteuil Hdle (178)
2014||| 3312 |||Whisper||| 6||| 11-6 |||153||| 14/1||| N Henderson||| Nico de Boinville |||2nd Ffos Llas Welsh Champion Hdle (39)
2013||| 2241 |||Medinas||| 6 |||11-10||| 148||| 33/1 |||A King||| W Hutchinson |||1st Ffos Llas Champion Hdle (39)
QUALIFICATION - BHA - From Oct 1st '22 a novice horse shall only be qualified to run in a Class 1 or Class 2 Handicap Hurdle Race if it has run a minimum of four times in Hurdle races in Great Britain, Ireland or France. (State Man and Saint Roi had only three before their respective County hurdle wins). For the Boodles and the h'cap chases it remains three runs.
AGE - 5 YR OLDS - Last year Saint Felicien alone 9/2f PU didn't like the ground said G Elliott who also trained the winner. God help us. 2021 four ran, best Guard Your Dreams in 7th. 2020 five ran best Alfa Mix in 7th. 2019, 6 ran, best Apples Shakira in 6th, four others pulled up. 2018 only Mischievous Max in 9th. Not a wonderful performance for the past five years. In 2017 four ran, best was Who Dares Wins 33s finished third. 2016 4th and 5th from 4 runners both under 12s. 2015 1st and 3rd from 5 runners (fav and 2nd fav). In 2014 5 ran achieving 3rd, 4th and 5th (the fav). 2013 and 2012 no five year old finished in top 6. 10 ran between the two years including the fav on both occasions. Going back to 2011 it was 7 from 22. They finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th. '10 - 1st, 3rd and 5th from the six of the age group in the 28 strong field. '09 finished 3rd and 4th from seven of that age. The improvement in performance stat for 5 yr olds went way back to 2006 when the E. O'Grady trained Sky’s The Limit led home a 1-2-4-5 for 5yr olds.
170 horses aged 8 yrs or over have run in the last 21 or circa one third of total runners. Eight from 23 last year including Commander Of Fleet, the 50/1 winner. 10 from 26 2021, 9 from 25 2020, 11 from 25 2019. 24 of those 170 have been placed in the first four, 14% of total places. Five winners. Janika 5th at 33s first one home in 2021, 2020 Cracking Smart an eight year old in 4th at 33s (after a poor enough ride, left at the start, said pocket). In 2019 the first four home were three English trained eight yr olds and Wicklow Brave (RIP) at 10 yrs. Poor Patrick just couldn't hang on to him for a split second more before making his run. Great winning ride by Nico. 2018 best William Henry 4th at 8/1 jt fav getting a sighter for 2019. 5 elder statespeople ran that year. 2017 Taquin De Seuil and Monksland finished 2nd and 4th respectively as 10 yr olds. 7 from 26 in 2016 achieved a 1-2-3 for eight year olds. Only 3 ran in 2015 best Bears Affair in 6th. 9 from 28 in 2014 when Get Me Out Of Here was nutted on the line as a 10 yr old. Qualifiers placed 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th in 2012. You definitely can't dismiss them.
Therefore 15 from the last 20 winners aged between 5 and 7 yrs (except Commander Of Fleet, William Henry, Diamond King, Son Of Flicka and Burntoakboy)
Taquin De Seuil joins Get Me Out Of Here to be only British trained 10 yr olds or older ever to be placed (twelve others have tried over the last twelve races including three well down the field in 2020). Fiveforthree for W Mullins only 11 yr old placed in last 18 races.
WEIGHT Used to not to back anything over 11st. Not now with the usual compressed handicap. 11st 5 bt 11st 7 last year after allowances bottom weight was 10st 9. Full h'cap 2021, bottom weight 10st 1lb, none of the first four home carried more than 11st. In 2020, 15 of the 25 carried over 11st, bottom weight 10st 10lbs. 2nd and 4th over 11st. 14 of the 25 runners in 2019, bottom weight only 10st 6lbs. First three home 2019 carried 11st 10lb, 11st 12 and 11st 7 respectively. 2017 bottom weight 10st 8lbs Bleu Berry carried 11st 2 lbs to win, Topofthegame 11st 9lbs in 3rd, 4th was William Henry with 11st 10lb. 2017 bottom weight was 10st 6 lb. First four home all carried at least 11st 2lb.
To summarise 8 of the last 13 winners carried at least 11st. But it's hard to make any sort of rule.
RATINGS - Commander Of Fleet 152, Heaven Help Us 138, (what a ride, Richie Condon), Dame De Compagnie 140, William Henry 151, Bleu Berry 143. Whisper at 153 beat Medinas's 12 month old rating record of 148 (Monkerhostin '04 147). Supasundae 148 Diamond King 149. Before Diamond King, all winners rated between 128 and 147. (Son of Flicka 135, Carlito Brigante 142, Spirit River 141). Aux Ptit Soins rated 139 and probably kept difficult by connections for the handicapper as he had only ever run three times in France.
13 from the last 14 rated at least 138. Seven of the last ten at least 143. But not two of the last three. Remember bottom weight 2022 was 137, 2020 was 138. Winners rated in the 150s trained by N Henderson/G Elliott. In the last six runnings, 7 horses rated in the 150s got a place in the top six, with Commander Of Fleet and William Henry winning. Prices for the seven were 50s 14s, 33s, 28s, 28s, 9s and 16s. Ashdale Bob 3rd last year, Thomas Darby only qualifier in 2020 off 155, finished 14th.
PREVIOUS RUNS THAT SEASON - All stats destroyed. This was Commander Of Fleet's 7th run since the 21st Oct. It was Heaven Help Us's 8th run since 14th September. Talk us through those then, Bryan. Plots, what plots? None of the previous 12 out more than four times that season. Dame De Compagnie twice, William Henry and Bleu Berry just the once, Supasundae 4 runs, Diamond King 3, Aux Ptits Soins two in France but zero in the UK. Mind, I don't count Punchestown Festival as being 'this season'.
16 of the last 20 no more than 10 runs over hurdles. The Commander had 13, Heaven Help Us had 7, Dame de Compagnie 7, William Henry 8, Bleu Berry only six, Supasundae had 8 previous hurdle runs. Son of Flicka (returned 16s) had 22 previous hurdle runs and the other two exceptions were from the top four in the betting. None of N Henderson's four Coral Cup winners more than nine previous hurdle runs each. Only four winners this century had run in more than 9 hurdle races, Son Of Flicka, the one before Commander Of Fleet.
Since 2002 only William Henry, Bleu Berry and Son Of Flicka had not won that season. William Henry hadn't won for over two years. Bleu Berry won a G2 novice at Fairyhouse in the previous season.
Commander Of Fleet, Heaven Help Us and Bleu Berry the only winners since 2004 to have previously won a Graded race. The Commander previous Grade 1 Novice Hurdle winner at the DRF. Dame de Compagnie and William Henry had previously won at Listed level. Son Of Flicka finished second to Sir Des Champs in previous years Martin Pipe.
12 from last 18 were second season hurdlers (exceptions Commander, Dame de Compagnie, William H, Diamond King, Son of Flicka and Burntoakboy). No novice has won this since Whats Up Boys in 2000. You would wonder why WPM hasn't done it yet, like the County.
FORM - 20 from last 23 had won in UK or IRE between 2m 2f and 2m 6f over hurdles (Not Carlito nor Aux Ptit Soins, Spirit River had done so in France).
20 from the last 24 had won previously no more than one handicap. Heaven Help Us came straight from the £52k Mares H'cap at the DRF.
Only 7 winners this century had previously run at the Festival. Commander Of Fleet was 2nd to Minella Indo when 4/1 fav for the Albert Bartlett. Heaven Help Us 7th of 12 finishers at 100/1 in Shishkin's Supreme. William Henry 4th in this 2018, Supasundae also finished 7th to Altior in that really good 2016 Supreme. 10 of the past 12 had ran on the course previously, eight of which were placed. Not Bleu Berry, nor Aux Ptit Soins. Heaven Help Us at 33s won the 2m maiden hurdle in the October Meeting 18 months previous.
No horse has won two of these.
10 of the last 21 winners were French breds from about 30% of total runners. 11 from 23 last year, Fastorslow 3rd the best. 8 from 26 in 2021. Janika the best finisher in 5th. 11 from 25 in both of the previous two. 2020 1st and 4th, in 2019 none finished in the first three, 2018 nine from the 26 resulting in 1st and 3rd. In 2017 Supasundae by Galileo GB Bred, only three French bred in the race were Taquin Du Seuil 2nd and two W Mullins outsiders.
Only six from the last 11 finished 1st or 2nd last time. However, 11 of the last 20 winners won last time out from well under 20% of runners, including two of the last three. Only Unexpected Party last year PU. Only five qualifiers from 26 runners 2021 resulting in a 1-2, Five qualifiers from 25 in 2020 resulting in a 1-3-4. Six qualifiers 2019 Brio Conti best in 4th. Three qualifiers 2018, best Topofthegame in 2nd. 2017 there were 6 qualifiers, best Modus in 6th. 2016 four qualifiers produced the winner, 2015 only 5 qualifiers including 1st and 2nd. 2013 5 qualifiers produced 1st and 4th.
20 from last 25 achieved a top six finish last time (Not William Henry PU, Bleu 17th, not Son Of Flicka 13th, Spirit River 17th).
FESTIVAL HANDICAP WINNERS WHO WON LAST TIME OUT - 2015 3 from 5 (the other two were trained by W Mullins), 2016 and 2017 only one from five although three runners up won last time. 2017, 4 of the five winners were Irish trained, if you remember all that weeping at the about high handicap marks from the British handicapper. 2018 only one of the five won last time out but again four handicap hurdle winners were Irish trained, three by G Elliott. I'd worry more about that. Only one from five 2019, Band Of Outlaws. 2020 4 out of 5 handicap hurdles won by last time out winners. Sire De Berlais the exception in the Pertemps. In 2021 only Heaven Help Us passed the stat. Last year it was three from 5.
Irish handicap marks can be gauged on how much whingeing emanates from Kevin Blake's ATR blog. Always a good guide to how Irish trained handicappers are being 'robbed.' If his tone is 'it's not too bad,' they are thrown in. Again. And again.
Whisper '14 joined Top Cees '98 the only winners of this to be beaten favourite last time. Two last year, including the pulled up favourite. Three in 2021, including Tea Clipper 3rd. Three in 2020, none finished closer than 16th including the 8/1 third favourite, the novice Champagne Well. Five in 2019, best Ballyandy in 3rd and including Uradel, the favourite. Two unplaced 2018, including Max Dynamite joint-favourite. Scoir Mear only one in 2017 finished 5th. 4 tried in 2016, best Long House Hall in second.
In 1998 I remember there being such a hullabaloo because the Ramsdens didn't seem to try too hard with Top Cees in its prep run at Ayr when he was fav. I was standing at the unsaddling enclosure after the Coral Cup when Top Cees, the winner, was soundly booed in. Mrs Ramsden even ducked her head at the abuse as she led in her winner.
Betfair Hurdle has featured 3 winners and 3 runners-up. But not recently. Nothing came last year. 2021 Guard Your Dreams was 6th at Newbury, 7th here. Nothing in the three years before Blazer unpl 3/1 fav at Newbury finished 4th here in 2016. Activial was third at Newbury and then third here 2015. Of the horses who won this without winning last time, two of them ran respectable races in that year's Newbury race. They were Idole first and Spirit River 'going well when blundered 3 out, eased', 'mistake and one paced last, finished 6th'. Monkerhostin '04 only one placed at Newbury before success here. In 2017 or 2016 none of the first four from Newbury came to this race. Flying Angel, 3rd at Newbury 2016 won the Imperial Cup at Sandown before finishing second in the Martin Pipe Conditionals.
10 of the 29 winners not previously successful over a minimum of 2 miles 4 furlongs. However, all 10 (five Irish) were 7 years or under and 8 of them had been previously placed in Graded company. Heaven Help Us won G3 Mares H'cap at DRF. Supasundae 2nd to Sutton Place in a Navan G3. (Not Spirit River nor Aux Ptit Soins, both of whom has won £20k hurdles in France in the previous 12 months).
24 from last 25 had won at Class 3 or higher. Giving that to Aux Ptit Soins. Supasundae had won a Listed Bumper.
15 from last 18 not seen for at least 32 days. Commander Of Fleet 22 days from the Boyne Hurdle. Dame De Companie not seen since the International meeting, William Henry 77 days from Wincanton on Boxing Day, That fella Henderson can train. Heaven and Bleu Berry both DRF (Dublin Racing Festival) Supasundae 24 days, Diamond King 67 days, Aux Ptit Soins, a real Nicholls plot, had not ran for 6 months. Sam Twiston Davies was on a real Festival losing run at the time, said he felt 'terrified' when all stable connections told him Aux Ptit was a certainty. After that relief, 30 minutes later won the Queen Mother on Dodging Bullets. Sam is a streak jockey.
Court Shareef at 200/1 ’04 only one from more than 7 lbs out of the handicap have been placed (when taking jockeys claims into account). Those days unlikely to be seen again.
Loads of big prices. Commander Of Fleet 50s, Heaven Help Us 33s SP. Dame De Compagnie became the first clear favourite to win since Xenophon in '03. Knew it would happen if I lived long enough. 2019 William Henry at 28s from Wicklow Brave 28s. Winner paid £41 on the Tote. Bleu Berry 20s (34/1 on the Tote) Supasundae 16s (25s on tote), Whisper 14s, Medinas 33s,Son of Flicka 66s on eve of race (owner said he won a million when interviewed on RUK). Both Dame De Compagnie and Xenophon '03 were the Pricewise on the day selection. Olympian a joint favourite in '93. Diamond King 12/1 was another Pricewise Selection at 10s and drifted. He was Tom's only winner of the first two days in 2016. In 2015 Aux Ptit Soins jousted for favouritism with Activial before drifting to 9/1 close to the off.
COURSE WINNERS - Heaven Help Us spoils the N Henderson stat. She joins Nicky's four winners, Dame De Compagnie, William Henry, Whisper and Spirit River to be only winners of this ever to be previous Cheltenham course winners. Three last year, best in 7th. Heaven won the Oct Maiden Hurdle. Dame De had won twice here. Four others ran in 2021. To my credit one of Nicky's, Birchdale, was sixth. 10 others ran in 2019, including 2nd and 3rd Wicklow Brave and Ballyandy, both previous Festival winners. (26 others have run in the previous five, only William Henry, The Taq and Long House Hall placed).
DUBLIN RACING FESTIVAL - 2021 Heaven Help Us won the Mares H'Cap. 3rd that day was Tellmesomethingirl, winner of the Mares Nov Hdle. Mrs Milner 7/1, fell at the 5th, wins Pertemps. 2020 Black Tears won the Mares H'cap, then finished 2nd to Dame de Compagnie. Thosedaysaregone in 3rd had won the £76k DRF Ladbroke H'cap. In 2019 It didn't work. Uradel in 7th best performing DRF combatant. 2018 Bleu Berry only 17th in the 2m DRF h'cap but Barra, 16s in 3rd, had finished 2nd in the DRF Mares H'cap.
Irish trained - Have won five of the last seven with four different trainers. Getting more numbers in now 14 from 23 last year. The problem is that the English handicapper has to put them up more for parity. Ergo more at the top of the handicap. A 1-2-3 for Ireland. Seven from 26 in 2021 and a 1-4, 2020 13 from 25 resulting in a 2-3-4. 13 in 2019 Willie's Wicklow Brave the hero. 2018 Eight runners, five for Willie, two for Gordon achieved 1st and 3rd. 2017 12 ran. 1st, 4th, 5th. 2016 5 runners, 1st and 4th. 2015 8 ran 2nd at 25/1, 4th at 14s. 2014 again 8 runners, 3rd and 4th. 2013, a third place from five. 2012 - A 4th place from 4 triers, 2011 - 1st from 3.
Makes a total of 10 winners and loads of places in the 297 renewals. 7 of the last 10 Irish trained winners (and six of their last eight placed horses) not seen out since DRF. 2019 Wicklow Brave's last run was to be second to Espoir D'Allen at Naas 27th January. Which you attended Bryan, and watched, and ignored.
W MULLINS - In the last five has had a winner, a second, a fourth and a fifth at 20s, 28s, 28s and 40s (Maze Runner last year) respectively. Bleu Berry broke his duck in 2008. He is 1-44 in the last 12 but things seem to be improving?
G ELLIOTT - 24 runners in the past decade, including seven last year, four of the top six in the handicap. Three winners, five placed. Commander Of Fleet the outsider of the Cullentra party. Three runners in 2020 Black Tears 12/1 2nd, Cracking Smart 33/1 in 4th after a tardy start (get over it, Bryan). One runner 2021 for Mrs Foster - Grand Roi, the 6/1 favourite, unplaced
Heaven Help Us first front runner to win was Olympian '93. And that was some front running. Commander Of Fleet took his time on the ground. Dame De Compagnie 'midfield, always going well. William Henry 'from the clouds, at least 8th jumping the last, led post.' Bleu Berry 'held up', swooped with a lovely ride by last minute replacement Mark Walsh after Ruby got injured with Al Boum Photo in the RSA. Supasundae 'chased leaders', Whisper was 'always in the leading group'. Diamond King 'held up in midfield'.
J.P. McManus’s record is 3 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds and four fourths. He does tend to run a few, though. (Campround 4th last year was all the rage 'til the rain came. Two in 2021, Birchdale 6th, five in 2020, the right one for money won, 8s to 5s fav, 7th the best after the Dame. Two in 2019, Apples Shakira somehow punted into 10/1 finished 6th. Two in 2018 best The Organist 25s in 5th. Five in 2017, best Scoir Mear in 5th, Blazer 4th 2016, Get Me Out Of Here 2nd 2014, 2013 Pendra 6/1 fav unpl, '12 Get Me Out Of Here 6/1 jt fav finished 2nd carrying 11st 12lb, Silverhand 4th at 25s)
10 of the last 14 were in the top 8 in the weights. Commander No 3. Heaven Help Us No 15.
BLINKERS CHEEKPIECES ETC - Commander Of Fleet blinkers. Heaven Help Us cheekpieces. Dame De Compagnie hood, William Henry cheekpieces and Sky's The Limit are only winning headgear wearers of this. There have been 122 triers over the last 19, Sky's The Limit in a first-time visor (had been blinkered in France). 43 ran over the last five years, next best William Henry's 4th in first-time cheekpieces. Before that 2014, Whisper's year, 2nd and 3rd home wore cheekpieces.
OTHER TRAINERS - Pipe stable has had 3 wins and 3 seconds in this but little luck since the silence that welcomed Ilnamar home ’02 (92/1 on the Tote). Last five years and in 2013 the Pipes had nothing good enough to run in the Coral Cup. Changed times indeed. Dell' Arca on its own unpl in both 2015 and 2014. E O'Grady has trained two winners carrying 11st 8 and 11st 12 respectively. Not many recent runners.
N Henderson's four make him top trainer in this, 4 wins in the last 13. Before 2010, 0 from 23 with only 3 placed.
A King has had one winner and 4 placed from 20 runners, three unplaced in 2018. No runners last three years. P Hobbs trained Whats Up Boys in 2000 to be the only successful novice in this. Don't know whether to call Aux Ptit Soins a novice? He broke P Nicholls's duck in this race. Has had nine runners in this over the past seven years, five of which finished in the first seven. And with Skybet, you'd get paid.
JOCKEYS - Five conditional jockeys have won this in its 27-year history. Shane Fitzgerald (5) from Jack Foley (3) in 3rd last year. The daisy Richie Condon (7) in 2021. Three others unplaced. Nico de Boinvile (5) on Whisper was the first since Sam Jones (5) on Burntoakboy in 2007. Three ran in 2020, the Brouder brothers finishing a very respectable 3rd and 4th. Two finished well down the field in 2019. Four tried in 2018, James Bowen (3) 4th on William Henry, three in 2017, best Donagh Meyler in 4th. 2015 Peter Carberry (3) best in 5th.
Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell each won this three times. Davy the best record in this, with 12 rides, 3 wins, 4 places. Ruby never won it. 'Hated the race' he said, on that walk around the course Road To Cheltenham programme with Lydia. AP never won it either.
Any bookie who doesn't pay at least 5 places in this, is stealing from you. Paddy Power and Skybet went 7 places last year.
Wealth Warning. Any decisions made (or not) or the basis of any information in this site are the sole responsibility of the reader. There is no obligation on me to follow my own advice. I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors. Previous years ‘stats on stats’ would suggest we may identify a decent priced winner from manageable groups every three or four races. It is believed that Savello (2014 Grand Annual) took from Golden Chieftain (2013 3m hcap chase) the record for breaking the most stats in a race. Stands now at 8. Cole Harden equalised with 8 in the 2015 World Hurdle. Remember, after you have cursed/laughed at me and given up totally on trends, they will come back to bite. Always. Usually on Gold Cup Day. Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouaged by Alcohol. A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.