• Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

    The last seven winners had already won to Listed level minimum.

    The last 10 had won a hurdle in distance from 2m 2f to 2m 6f.

    Only 5 winners ever were previous course winners, 4 of those 5 from N Henderson

    Eight of the last ten won by Irish trained or N Henderson

    Dame De Compagnie 2020 and Xenophon 2003 only clear favs ever to win

    Only 5 winners this century had more than 9 previous hurdle runs

    One winner older than 8 since 2007

    No horse has won two of these.

    11 of the last 14 had previously run at Cheltenham

    13 of the last 15 no more than 4 previous runs that season

    14 of last 15 BHA Rated at least 138

    Four of the last five wore headgear

    Only 3 of the last 15 returned shorter than 12/1

    Since 2018, three horses placed in the DRF Mares H'cap then placed here

    Summary

    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt 5f. 5 yr olds not recent. Will be aged 6 or 7 unless G Elliott or a Henderson trained previous course winner. Will have already won to at least Listed level. Nothing placed above a 10 yr old unless previous Festival winner. Irish trained beginning to take over. Will have won somewhere a race between 2m 1f and 2m 6f. If not successful over a minimum of 2m 4f will be aged 7 or under and have been placed in graded company. Will have won at least Class 3. Unlikley to have won more than one handicap. Check Dublin Racing Festival form, especially the Mares H'cap. Will not be more than seven pounds out of the handicap (including jockeys allowances). Either no more than 10 runs over hurdles or returned 12/1 and under. Can be any price. Respect JP McManus owned, French bred. Has run here before, likely with merit. Not BF last time unless trained by N Henderson. Has won sometime this season or was placed in a previous festival. Check those that won last time out. But not first run of the season.

  • Honours Board

    Year ||| Form ||| Winner ||| Age ||| Weight ||| OR ||| SP ||| Trainer ||| Jockey ||| Last Race (No of days)

    2023 ||| 378 ||| Langer Dan ||| 7 ||| 11-4 ||| 141 ||| 9/1 ||| D Skelton ||| H Skelton ||| 8th Chelt G2 2m 5f (73)

    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)

  • Evidence

    QUALIFICATION CHANGES - 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 three out with the washing, two of which were prided 7/1 and 12/1. 2022 Saint Felicien alone 9/2f PU didn't like the ground said G Elliott who also trained the 50/1 winner. 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 six years.

     

    In 2017 four ran, best was Who Dares Wins 33s finished third. 2016 4th and 5th from four runners both placed 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.

     

    180 horses aged 8 yrs or older have run in the last 22 or circa one third of total runners. 10 from 26 last year. Only Scaramanga 50s in 4th made the first seven home. In 2022 it was eight from 23 including Commander Of Fleet, the 50/1 winner. 10 from 26 2021, 9 from 25 2020, 11 from 25 2019. 25 of those 180 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 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 16 of the last 21 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 (13 others have tried over the last 13 races including three well down the field in 2020). Fiveforthree (W Mullins) the only 11 yr old placed in last 19 races.

     

    WEIGHT - Used to not to back anything over 11st. Not now with the usual compressed handicap. 11st 4 won last year, bottom weight 10-11, 2022 11st 5 bt 11st 7 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.

     

    Since the Coral Cup changed to 26 runners in 2015, a mark of 132 would have only got a run in one renewal (2021, Covid year).

     

    To summarise 8 of the last 11 winners carried at least 11st. But it's hard to make any sort of rule.

     

    RATINGS - Langer Dan 141, 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.

     

    Last 11 BHA rated 138 to 152. Would have covered 19 of the 26 strong field last year. Not the bottom seven.

     

    14 of the last 15 rated at least 138. Seven of the last 11 at least 143. But not three of the last four. Remember bottom weight 2022 was 137, 2020 was 138. Winners rated in the 150s have been trained by N Henderson/G Elliott. In the last seven runnings, six 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. Two last year, unplaced, Ashdale Bob 3rd 2022, Thomas Darby only qualifier in 2020 off 155, finished 14th.

     

    PREVIOUS RUNS THAT SEASON - Langer Dan three, 2022 and 2021 stat 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'. 

     

    TOTAL HURDLE RUNS - Langer Dan 16, Commander Of Fleet 13, Heaven Help Us 7, Dame de Compagnie 7, William Henry 8, Bleu Berry only six, Supasundae 8. 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 had more than nine previous hurdle runs each. Only five winners this century had run in more than 9 hurdle races, Son Of Flicka, the one before Commander Of Fleet.

     

    Since 2002 only Langer Dan, William Henry, Bleu Berry and Son Of Flicka had not won that season. William Henry hadn't won for over two years. Langer Dan won the G3 Aintree h'cap, Bleu Berry won a G2 novice at Fairyhouse in the previous season.

     

    Langer Dan, 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. Supasudae 2017 had won an Ascot Listed bumper. Last year half the field had won to at least Listed level but this level of form needed is increasing.

     

    12 of the last 19 were second season hurdlers (exceptions Langer, Commander, Dame de Compagnie, William H, Diamond King, Son of Flicka and Burntoakboy). No novice has won this since Whats Up Boys in 2000. And difficult to do now, with the 4 race qualification rule.

     

    FORM - 21 from last 24 had won in UK or IRE between 2m 2f and 2m 6f over hurdles (Not Carlito Brigante nor Aux Ptit Soins, Spirit River had done so in France).
     

    20 from the last 25 had won previously no more than one handicap. Langer Dan had already taken two big G3s. Heaven Help Us came straight from the £52k Mares H'cap at the DRF.
     

    Only 8 winners this century had previously run at the Festival. This was Langer Dan's fourth Festival. His previous figures being 62B. The poor Skeltons thought they were to walk the Martin Pipe in 2021, until they ran into something called Galopin Des Champs. 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. 11 of the past 13 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 22 winners were French breds from about 30% of total runners. 9 from 26 last year resulting in 2nd and 3rd. 11 from 23 2022, Fastorslow in 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 12 finished 1st or 2nd last time. However, 11 of the last 21 winners won last time out from well under 20% of runners, including two of the last four. Six last year, all unplaced. Only Unexpected Party in 2022 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 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 26 achieved a top six finish last time (Not Langer dan 8th, William Henry PU, Bleu 17th, not Son Of Flicka 13th, Spirit River 17th).

     

    FESTIVAL HANDICAP HURDLE 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. 2022 it was three from 5. Last year only Iroko of the five won last time out.

     

    Irish handicap marks can always be gauged on the level of complaining coming from Kevin Blake's fine 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. It all looked a bit silly in 2017 when Presenting Percy ran away with the Pertemps after the abuse levelled at the English handicapper for daring to put him up half a stone.

     

    Whisper '14 joined Top Cees '98 the only ever winners of this to be beaten favourite last time. Only Bold Endeavour qualified last year, 5th. Two in 2022, 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. Four 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. A fine libel case, I remember, involving Derek Thompson. Look it up.

     

    Betfair Hurdle has featured 3 winners and 3 runners-up. But not recently. Icare Allen 12/1 last at Newbury, 17th here. Nothing came 2022. 2021 Guard Your Dreams was 6th at Newbury, 7th here. Nothing in the three years before that. 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 30 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).

     

    25 from last 26 had won at Class 3 or higher. Giving that to Aux Ptit Soins. Supasundae the Ascot Listed Bumper.

     

    16 from last 19 not seen for at least 32 days. Langer Dan jogged round The Relkeel on New Year's day. Commander Of Fleet only 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 Help Us 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 remains 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. Langer 9s, 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. Last year Tom landed on Captain Conby 15/2 6th). 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 spoiled 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. Four last year, best Camprond (RIP) in 3rd. Why, Aiden, didn't you throw him at the last, cried my pocket Three in 2022, best in 7th. Heaven Help Us won the Oct Maiden Hurdle. Dame De Compagnie had won twice here. Four others ran in 2021. 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 ran in the previous five, only William Henry, The Taq and Long House Hall placed).

     

    DUBLIN RACING FESTIVAL - Last year An Epic Song 13th behind Gaelic Warrior at Leopardstown, a gallant 2nd here at 16s 2022 Fastorslow also 2nd here 18s after finishing 12th at the DRF. 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 eight with four different trainers. Getting more numbers in now 15 from 26 last year, resulting in a 2-4. 14 from 23 in 2022. 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 30 renewals. 7 of the last 10 Irish trained winners (and seven of their last nine 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 six has had a winner, a second, two fourths and a fifth at 20s, 28s, 28s 40s (Maze Runner) and 50s (Scaramanga) respectively. Bleu Berry broke his duck in 2008. IMHO they're all triers. What would be the point otherwise? He is 1-47 in the last 13 but things seem to be improving?

     

    G ELLIOTT - 29 runners in the past 11, five last year including top weight Fil Dor, seven in 2022 when he had four of the top six in the handicap. Three winners, five placed. Nothing better than 9th last year, Commander Of Fleet the outsider of the Cullentra party in 2022. 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 since Olympian '93. And that was some front running. Langer Dan thrown in, picked them off. 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, 3 thirds and four fourths. He does tend to run a few, though. (Campround 3rd and 4th in the last two. Wasr was all the rage in both years '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).

     

    I digress, I have a Festival JP Smaller Trainer theory. If you trained a horse for Mr McManus and you weren't a Willie or a Nicky or a Paul, I'd say you'd be keen for the horse to win. You are unlikely to be entrusted with one of his big guns but nevertheless, I believe he's a prompt payer and you'd like some more of them. Obviously you'd like them to win anytime, even Thurles on a Thursday. But would it not be most sweet if your handicapper won at one of the bigger Festivals, when the great man himself was present to shake your hand? He only has so many days in Ireland due to tax reasons. See Liz Doyle Punchestown Gold Cup day, Eoin Griffin at Leopardstown Xmas, even Joseph O'Brien, Hattons Grace Day. Fit to run for their lives?  Suggest you go back at look at the history of JP horses in that Xmas 2 miler won by My Last Tango.

     

    10 of the last 15 were in the top 8 in the weights. 5 weren't. Langer No 14. Commander No 3. Heaven Help Us No 15.

     

    CITIPOST NOVICE HURDLE - To be looked out for. Both William Henry and Whisper in the Dai Walters colours won The 2m 4f Citipost Novice Hurdle run at Cheltenham in April. Whisper won it the season before his Coral Cup win, William Henry two years before his. The Citipost Novice hurdle has some role of honour. Won by Might Bite, Garde La Victoire, Restless Harry amongst others. Medinas was beaten in it. Captain Sunshine won it the year before coming second in the 2013 Pertemps. In 2019 the Citipost was won by Dashel Drasher. The Friday Man readily.

     

    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 130 triers over the last 20, Sky's The Limit in a first-time visor (had been blinkered in France). 51 ran over the last six years, first time cheekpieces for An Epic Song 2nd and Bold Endeavour 5th. Next best William Henry's 4th in first-time cheekpieces. Before that in 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 six years and in 2013 the Pipes have 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 11 8 and 11 12 respectively. Not many recent runners.

    N Henderson's four make him top trainer in this, 4 wins in the last 14, Bold Endeavour 5th last year. 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 four years. P Hobbs trained Whats Up Boys in 2000 to be the only successful novice in this. Camprond 3rd and 4th. Don't know whether to call Aux Ptit Soins a novice? He broke P Nicholls's duck in this race. Has had 10 runners in this over the past eight years, five of which finished in the first seven. Not REd Risk last year. And with Skybet, you'd get paid.

     

    JOCKEYS - Five conditional jockeys have won this in its 30-year history. Jack Foley (3) fourth last year. Shane Fitzgerald (5) from Jack Foley (3) in 3rd 2022. The daisy Richie Condon (7) won it in 2021. 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. 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. Betfair, Paddy Power and Skybet went 7 places last year.

     

    NEXT RACE>