• Craft Irish Whiskey Plate Handicap Steeple Chase

    After a gap of 33 yrs, Irish trained have won four of the last seven

    The last seven were either novices or second-season chasers. All bar Coole Cody were making their Festival debut.

    The last six winning novices had either placed on course or never been here before

    Four of the last five SP not bigger than 5/1

    10 of the last 11 aged six to nine years

    Eight of the last nine no more than 11 previous chase runs

    This century only Mister McGoldrick won with more than 16 chase runs

    Only two of the last 13 had previously won a Graded race.

    The last seven had previously ran in a Graded nov chase or hurdle

    The last nine

    The Shunter only headgear winner since 2003

    Only one winner this century BF last time out

    Last eight all had won that season

    (Last year Coole Cody broke seven of the above stats).


    (Calling it 'The Mildmay' is usually easier. In 2015 the race distance returned to 2m and abt 5f)

    Watch for Irish trained especially if coming from Graded races. Novices second season chasers and French breds in vogue. Not carrying over 10st 13lb unless previous placed Festival form or a compressed h'cap. Rated at least 140. Not older than nine years or course winner. Older horses do get placed. If backing a 10 yr old or older look for solid placed course form. Winner will have won at least at Class 3 level and at a distance between 2m3f and 2m5f. Will either have competed in a previous festival race or will have less than 12 chase runs.
    Has run a total of between 3 and 16 times over fences or course winner. Has run between 3 and 8 times this season or Pipe trained. May have gained a place in one of this season’s on course 2m 5f Graded Handicap Chases. A 10/1+ perhaps due. Headgear unlikely unless fav. Consider D Pipe 12/1 and under and Venetia Williams. Not P Nicholls. Wasn't beaten favourite last time. Check for those with a New Course 'sighter' over the past 12 months.

  • Honours Board

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

    2022 ||| 2F187 ||| Coole Cody ||| 11 |||11-2 ||| 145 ||| 22/1 |||E Williams ||| A Wedge ||| 7th G3 Chelt H'Cap 2m 4f (47)

    2021 ||| 114131 ||| The Shunter ||| 8 |||10-12 ||| 140 ||| 9/4F ||| E Mullins(IRE) ||| J Gainsford(7)||| 1st Cl2 Hdle Kelso (40)

    2020||| 1121 |||Simply The Betts |||7||| 11-4||| 149||| 100/30F ||| H Whittington ||| G Sheehan |||1st Cl2 Chelt Nov H'cap (47)

    2019||| 111||| Siruh du Lac |||6 |||10-8||| 141||| 9/2 |||N Williams||| L Kelly(3) |||1st G3 Chelt H'cap 2m 4f (47)

    2018||| 2137||| The Storyteller |||7 |||11-4||| 147||| 5/1F |||G Elliott(IRE) |||D Russell |||7th G1 Leop Flogas Ch 2m 5f (40)

    2017 |||14322||| Road To Respect |||6||| 10-13 |||145||| 14/1 |||N Meade(IRE) |||B Cooper |||2nd G2 Navan Ten Up 3m (25)

    2016||| F2P1 |||Empire Of Dirt |||9 |||10-11||| 142||| 16/1||| C Murphy(IRE)||| B Cooper ||| 1st G3 Leop H'cap (60)

    2015||| 157||| Darna||| 9||| 10-11||| 140||| 33/1 |||K Bailey||| D Bass||| 7th G3 Chelt H'cap (70)

    2014||| P||| Ballynagour||| 8||| 10-9||| 140||| 12/1 |||D Pipe||| T Scudamore |||PU G3 Chelt H'cap 2m 4f (117)

    2013||| 4P61P||| Carrickboy||| 9 |||10-5||| 136||| 50/1||| V Williams||| L Treadwell |||PU Cl3 Winc H'cap (42)

  • Evidence

    Novices - Four winners in the last six - From the last 26 races, nine winners, three seconds, two thirds and two fourths. Of seven novices last year, Imperial Alcazar best in second at 7/2 fav. It was a 1-4-5 in 2021 with Coole Cody and Assemble coming in behind the Shunter. Nine of the 23 strong field were novices. Coole Cody was a novice chaser at 10yrs of age. Simply The Betts, winner, the flag bearer from three in 2020. Three came in 2019, Spiritofthegames 3rd, Didero Vallis 5th. The Storyteller, novice winner in 2018 from two qualifiers. A 1-2 in 2017 from seven qualifiers. 2016 a 4th from 2 runners. 2015 3rd and 5th from 4 runners. 2012 Pipe trained Notus de La Tour only novice 8/1 fell at the 3rd. 1st and 2nd 2010 from 5 qualifiers, ’04 Tikram 1st.


    All bar The Storyteller and Road To Respect of the last six winning novices had at least placed course form. Those two had never raced here before. The Shunter won a Greatwood. Ping Pong Sivola, 2nd as a novice in '09 also had winning course form. The last six novice winners were rated 140 149, 147, 145, 135 and Tikram at 133.


    21 from the last 22 winners ran between 3 and 16 times over fences. Coole Cody 14, The Shunter 5, Simply The Betts 4, Siruh Du Lac 7, The Storyteller 3, Road To Respect 5, Empire Of Dirt 11, Darna 9, Ballynagour 8 runs, Carrickboy 16 runs. Mister McGoldrick previously third in a QM had 33 previous chases before winning this.


    For recency purposes, Coole Cody, Siruh du Lac and Empire Of Dirt won when second-season chasers. All bar Cody of the last six had run over between 3 and 7 chases. All bar Cody of the last nine winners no more than 11 chases.


    WEIGHT - Coole Cody 11-2, Simply The Betts 11- 4, The Storyteller 11- 4, Mister McGoldrick '08 11-7 and Non So ’06 11-3 are the only ones since Elfast '94 to carry over 11st to victory. That's five in 27 yrs and three of the last 14. Apart from Half Free (three-time Festival winner) and dual winners Elfast and The Tsarevich, no other winner since ’77 carried more than 11st to victory.


    Last year Guy was bottom weight over 10st. Imperial Alcazar carried 11-9 in second place. In 2021 11 of the 23 carried over 11st. Top Notch in 3rd carried 11-12. Bottom weight 10-2. In 2020 it was 13 including the first six home. Bottom weight was 10st 9lbs. In 2019 Siruh Du Lac won with 10st 8lb, just seven of the field carried over the 11st, Janika fav with 11st 12lbs finished 2nd, Spritofthegames 3rd with 11st 3lb (6th 2020 under 11st 4lb). 2018 The Storyteller with 11st 4 the only one in the first six over 11st. Eight qualifiers.


    2016 Empire Of Dirt 10st 11. seven qualifiers. 2015 10 carried over 11st, Buywise best in 3rd 2014, 3 carried over 11st, Colour Squadron 2nd and Johns Spirit 4th. The Ryanair takes the best 155+ rated horses but placed horses can carry big weights. See Kevin Blake's repeatedly strong views about top weights in handicaps.


    20 from last 26 carried no more than 10st 11.


    Simply The Betts off 149 first in 19 not rated between 128 and 147. See the Honours Board. Coole Cody 145, The Shunter 140, Siruh Du Lac 141, Road To Respect 145, Empire of Dirt 142, Darna and Ballynagour both at 140 Carrickboy 136, Salut Flo 137. (29 from last 35 not rated above 142). Last nine all rated at least 140 increasing to The Storyteller 2018 off 147 and then Simply The Betts 149. Ratings band in each race going back have gone from last year 154 to 130, 157 to 140, 156 to 135. In 2018 Village Vic top rated off 155 down to Splash Of Ginge 137. 2017 it was 158 to 133 with bottom weight on 10st 1lb. 2016 157 to 135 with 10st 4lbs the bottom weight before claims. There hasn't been a winner rated 150 since The Tsarevich in 1986.


    4 of the last 27 winners out of handicap. Last one Tikram 3lb 'wrong' in '04. '09 Ping Pong Sivola 1lb 'wrong', favourite and 2nd. 2012 two out of the handicap and unplaced. Not likely to happen that much recently.


    CARRY A PENALTY? - Eight of the last 19 runners carrying a penalty have been placed. Only one in the last four yours out with the washing. Thomas Crapper only qualifier in 2017, finished 4th. 2011 Holmwood only qualifier and won, '09 sole qualifier Pop was 'going ok when fell 4 out’.


    PRICE - The Shunter 9/4F in a field of 23 (go to A Clerk's View where I will discuss the betting in 2021) Simply The Betts 100/30F and The Storyteller at 5/1F (backed from 7s on course) join Salut Flo at 9/2 to be the first favourites to win since Majadou '99 and then before that Political Pop '81. Besides those three favourites and Siruh Du Lac at 9/2 in 2018, the rest the SPs this century range between 12/1 and 66/1. Before Siruh the previous 4 winners returned at 14s, 16s, 33s (Darna, the Pricewise day of race tip at 40s), 12s and Carrickboy at 50s (This race may no longer have the current worst record for Festival favs). 16 of last 20, 12/1 or bigger. I work as a clerk. Suggest that we may have had enough shorties for a while in this 24 runner h'cap chase?


    TRIP - All bar Non So this century had been successful over trips between 2m3f and 2m5f (Non So who may have been, if he hadn’t fallen two out in one such chase).


    AGED 10 AND ABOVE - Holmwood Legend was 10 yrs old, Mister McGoldrick 11 when he won (at tote price £146/1) Young Spartacus 10yr old winner in '03. Apart from them, in the last 16 years, only eleven others have paid a place dividend. Last year, nine had a go, including Top Notch 50/1 3rd and Coole Cody 22/1 4th, both 10 yr olds. In 2020 three had a go, best finisher 8th. 2019, seven ran, all unplaced, 2018 Splash Of Ginge, 25s in 2nd, Ballyalton, 11 yrs, 25s in 4th from five qualifiers. In 2017 Thomas Crapper 7s and 4th, 2014 Tatenen 3rd at 33s, 2013 Tartak 4th, both 10 yr olds, '10 Mr McGoldrick. a 13 yrs old, 33/1 4th.


    Therefore, in the last 18 renewals there have been 16 placed aged 10 and above including the 3 winners. All bar Splash Of Ginge, Holmwood and Tatenen had previous placed course form. Top Notch had been 2nd in both a Triumph and a JLT, Coole Cody won the Paddy Power last season and the Caspian Caviar this. These 16 came from a total of 60 horses aged 10 and above. Prices of the 16 ranged from 7s to 66s. Worth considering, if they are aged 10+ and running in this, it is very likely that a few of them have been round here before.


    PREVIOUS WINS - The last winner to have won a graded conditions race over either hurdles or fences was Mister McGoldrick in 2008.


    RETURNERS can run well in this race. Two dual winners, Elfast and The Tsarevich. Mister McGoldrick, Dublin Flyer, Smartie Express, King of the Lot and Fondmort were placed on more than one occasion. Palarshan 2nd '07 finished 5th '08. In 2012 Divers finished 4th in this a year after winning the novice handicap chase on the Tuesday. Tartak finished 5th and 3rd in 2012 and 2013, the first time as top weight, 2013 he was bottom weight. Didn't happen in 2017 to 2019 But last Spiritofthegames returned to finish 6th after a third in 2019. Siruh Du Lac disappointed on its return last year. However, Mister Whitaker in 3rd and Ben Dundee 5th had both previously impressed in the Festival Nov h'cap. Look out for Farclas and Coole Cody. Top Notch a terrier RIP


    NEW COURSE CHASE FORM - The Shunter had never been on the New course, Farclas won a Triumph, Top Notch 2nd in one an a JLT. Coole Cody, destroyed by Chatam Street Lad in a Caspian Caviar. In 2020 year all bar Ben Dundee of the first six home had rock-solid Cheltenham New Course form. 1st, 3rd and 4th were New Course winners, 2nd and 6th had been placed in G3 New Course h'caps. Before that we had Siruh Du Lac (New Course winner last time) and the previous three winners who were Irish Trained and had never raced here before.


    Probably better classified as - Every winner this century bar three of the last four Irish trained and Great Endeavour (a novice with only 3 runs) had contested a race at the track. Simply The Betts and Siruh Du Lac join Young Spartacus 2003 to be the only winners this century to have previously won a New course chase. Bit ropey, that.


    20 from last 30 had competed at a previous Festival (the other 10 had less than 12 chase runs, Shunter 5, Siruh 7, Storyteller 3, Respect 5, Empire 11). Simply The Betts 10th to Summerville Boy in the 2019 Supreme. 4 had run in the County. Ballynagour 8th to Carrickboy in 2013, Carrickboy 6th in a Close Bros, Great Endeavour unpl in '09 Coral Cup. Something Wells 'disputing 4th when fell in '08 Close Bros. Mister McGoldrick placed in '06 Queen Mother. 5 of the last 17 winners were in their 3rd season chasing. Last six were either novices or second season chasers. All six had ran in a Graded novice hurdle or novice chase


    All this century had won at Class 3 level or higher. But only The Shunter, Siruh Du Lac and Empire of Dirt of the last 12 had previously won a Graded Race ( the former two G3 course handicaps, the latter the £60k Leopardstown Chase over 2m5f). The Storyteller had won a 9k euro Novice Hurdle, but only a beginners chase. Simply The Betts that Cl2 Timeform Nov course H'cap Chase in January.




    M/D.Pipe. Seven winners. Pretty good. M Pipe won four in five years between '97 and '02 with four different horses and four different jockeys. D. Pipe won three in the five years between 2010 and 2014. No runner in 2020. Placed runners include Eamon An Cnoic 10/1 4th 2019, (12th at 40s 2021), Kings Socks 7/1 in 5th 2018, Starchitect 5th 6/1 in 2017, Kings Palace 3rd at 11s 2016 and Monetaire 11/2 fav second in 2015 after a tardy start. Great Endeavour winner 2010. 2011 Consigliere 4th, Matuhi 6th. 2013 4 runners all unpl including Ballynagour 7/2 fav. That year Matuhi suffered a fatal fall at the last when in 3rd. Ballynagour won in 2014. Out of a total of 20 runners in David's 11 years. His three winners were returned 8/1, 9/2f and 12/1. According to the Racing Post race reports they all shortened in price on course in the run-up to the race. Imagine that. As did Starchitect. During the ten years, his only other 3 horses running at single-figure prices were Starchitect, Ballynagour 7/2 fav unpl and Notus de la Tour 8/1 fell at the third fence in Salut Flo's year. Always worth considering.


    OWNERS - Celebre D'Allen owned by Allan Stennett has twice wony landed courtesy of Salut Flo and Ballynagour.


    N Henderson - Four winners, but none since 2006. Nos 1 an 2 on the race card last year, Top Notch 3rd at 50s, Caribean Boy 7th. No runner 2020. In 2019 Janika, well punted 3/1 fav in 2nd. River Wylde 10s PU 2018, Pougne Bobbi 16s and unplaced, 2017 Cocktails At Dawn PU, 2016 Full Shift 4th, nothing placed in the previous six years.


    P Nicholls has never won this (and is well aware of the fact if you read his Betfair column). No runner last three years, 2018 no luck with 2 runners including 8/1 Movewiththetimes PU, 2017 Bouvreil 3rd, Art Mauresque 8th. 2016 three tried including Stilletto 11/2 jtfav fell, and Art Mauresque PU at 11s. Caid Du Berlais 11/1 unpl 2015. Poquelin PU 2013. Crack Away Jack PU in 2012 went off at 13/2. Gwanako 2nd 2008 and 5th 2010. Usually overbet imho.


    Venetia Williams - Three winners and two seconds in the last 14. Usually not the obvious one. No runner last two years but Didero Vallis 16s best of two in 5th in 2019. A beaten faller and two PUs covering the previous two years. Tango De Juilley 2nd at 33s 2016. Idole First winner at 12s, Carrickboy 50s, Something Wells was 33s. Overall is record three winners and six placed from a total of 23 runners. Pretty good.


    IRISH TRAINED - The Shunter The Storyteller, Road To Respect and Empire Of Dirt the first Irish Trained winners of this since Doubleuagain in 1982. That's four of the last six. The latter two both Gigginstown owned. E Mullins/G Elliott/N Meade/ Colm Murphy. Five came last year resulting in a 1-2-5 (exacta on fav and second fav). Six came in 2020, best Gordon's Ben Dundee 10/1 in 5th. Two 33/1 unplaced in 2019. The Last Goodbye ran as well in 2018, 10th. Only Diamond King also in 2017, PU. 3 others tried in 2016, best of the rest Ballycasey in 5th. In the previous 23, 2015 Rawnaq 3rd at 25s from 4 runners, 2012 Glam Gerry 3rd from 2 runners @33s, 2011 Beautiful Sound 3rd, only entry and fav, '10 Notable D'Estruval 3rd. Cregg House ‘03 and Its Time For A Win '02 were placed. Success still punching well above numbers, which are themselves increasing.

    JOCKEYS - 9 of the last 31 winners ridden by conditional jockeys including 2009, '10, '11. Lizzie Kelly (3) 2019 and last year Jordan Gainford (7). The only other conditional last year was Luca Morgan (7) who got Top Notch into 3rd. In 2020 Richard Patrick (3) gave Happy Diva a fine ride in second. Three others unplaced. Jamie Bargary (3) on Splash Of Ginge an enterprising second 2018. (Trainer N Twiston-Davies interviewed on Racing TV just before the off said 'no chance'). Jack Kennedy (3) only conditional placed between 2014 - 2017


    RUNS THAT SEASON - 31 of last 36 winners all between 3 and 8 previous runs that season. Including the last seven. Not Ballynagour, one run, Salut Flo, one run. Both Pipe plots.


    PRICE - The last four 4 were 5/1 or shorter. Had enough of those?


    All the last six in the first three in either of last two runs. 26 of last 38 first or second in either of last two runs (not in '07, '08, '10, '12 '14, '15 or The Storyteller). Not a helpful fact in the search for a form selection.  


    The last seven had all won that season. Only 27 of the last 36 had won in the same season. All bar 2 of the past 17 ran since 31st December. Includes the last seven.


    22 of the last 30 had not finished worse than 4th last time. (’02 Blowing Wind 5th, ’03 Young Spartacus not been out that season, Mister McG 5th, Salut Flo 12th in G3 course Handicap chase, Carrickboy and Ballynagour both PU, Darna 7th in 2m4f h'cap on Cheltenham Trials Day. The Storyteller 7th to Monalee in the Flogas). Siruh Du Lac came off the back of three successive wins up 18lbs since the start of the season. Simply The Betts up 24lbs from winning a Chepstow Nov h'cap in early November. Empire Of Dirt up 10lbs. Tom Segal when tipping Road To Respect wrote, 'the handicapper has no idea what the correct mark is for this horse.'


    Siruh Du Lac first winner since 1983 to have won one of the December or January 2m 4f Graded handicaps that season. Oldgrangewood winner in January a good fourth here, Cepage went to the Ultima. A poor decision for Venetia? Especially with her record in this? Darna, Salut Flo, Idole First, Liberthine and Sacre D’or only other winners since ’83 to have run in any of the Graded December or January 2m 4f Handicaps at Cheltenham that season. Simply The Betts strolled the Jan nov h'cap. Ballynagour only winner to have run in the Paddy Power/Betvictor since Half Free '84. Happy Diva 2nd 2020 did justice to her November win. Johns Spirit got 9lbs for winning the Paddy Power Happy Diva 6lbs, Midnight Shadow 7lbs.


    Siruh du Lac only winner in 14 winners to have even been placed in any of the big Cheltenham 2m 5f h'caps that season. Great run by Splash of Ginge in second 2018 who had won the BetVictor in 2017. (Could be put down to the soft/heavy ground rarely seen in March). The 2m 4f handicap chase at Kempton in mid-January has produced 3 of the last 16. Nothing last two years. Falco Blitz bt Champagne Court

    Nine of the last 10 hadn't been seen for at least 39 days. Not Road To Respect 25.


    BREEDING - French breds have won 8 of the last 20 and finished placed in 10. A 2-3 last year. In 2020, six ran, not one finished in the first twelve. In 2019 it was a French 1-2-5 from 11 qualifiers, in 2018 Kings Socks best in 5th from five qualifiers. Baron Alco 2nd and Bouvreuil in 4th in 2017 from 8, 2016 Tango De Julliet 2nd and Full Shift 4th from 6 runners, Monetaire 2015, none placed 2014, 10 ran in 2013, finished 2nd and 3rd. 2012 1st and 4th, 1-2-3 in '09 from 12 qualifiers).


    Four of the five winners aged less than 7 were French breds. (exception Great Endeavour). And Janika 2nd in 2019, a French Bred 6 yr old.


    BLINKERS CHEEKPIECES ETC - The Shunter in his usual hood and tongie tie. Top Notch in 3rd in first time cheekpieces, the only first timer in the field. First headgear winner in 19 from 76 triers. 2020 three tried last year, best Mister Witaker 3rd. Eight ran in 2019, best finishers were 3rd and 4th, Five in 2018, best Ballyalton in 4th. Nine in 2017, Bouvreuil 4th, ten in total previous two years, all unplaced.

    This century 40 beaten favourites last time ran. No winners. Getting close though. two unplaced in 2012, Happy Diva 2nd in 2020, including Happy Diva. In 2019 five PPDs came (Punters Previous Disappointments). Finished 2nd and 3rd. Two in 2018, Movewithetimes 8/1 PU (some overbet career, that horse).



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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.