• National Hunt Chase

    The 164st Year of National Hunt Steeplechase Challenge Cup

     

    Only two winners this century younger than 7 yrs.

    13 of the last 14 had contested a Graded Chase

    11 of the last 14 were sent chasing by 31st Oct.

    10 of the last 12 at least four runs over fences

    Since becoming Grade 2 in 2017, Stattler the only winner with less than 5 chase runs.

    Ravenhill the only winner in 33 to have fallen last time out.

    25 from last 27 placed 1st or 2nd in a chase over at least 3 miles
    Last 11 winners already BHA rated at least 142

    12 of the last 24 had already run in a handicap, 5 won, 7 placed.

    This century no beaten favourite last time out has won.

    N Henderson and P Nicholls yet to win

    W Mullins/G Elliott responsible for six of the last seven

    Mssrs Codd, Mullins and O'Connor have ridden nine of the last 12 amateur winners.

    Summary

    First raced in 1860, this has been run more times at the Cheltenham Festival than any other event. The Grand Annual is older but went missing for much of the late 19th Century. NH Chase first run here in 1911.

     

    In 2014 became Listed, then in 2017 a Grade 2. 2020 Changes - Race Distance down to 3m 6f, only 23 fences not 25. Horses must be rated at least 120 and have finished in the first four in a three-mile chase. Jockeys must have had 20 rides and at least 5 winners. Mr Derek O'Connor said that the changes were 'pretty fair.' His opinion good enough for me although I still miss the 'slow old boats.'

     

    Winner and placed to be aged 6 to 10 years. If tried, should have been 1st or 2nd in a chase over at least 3 miles. Ran in a chase by 31st October or has won a p2p or WPM. Should have won a chase this season or is a second season novice. Will have been first or second in either of its last two runs and/or have solid Festival form. At least 5th last time completion. Will have run at least four times over fences, or have won a Graded chase. Don't be fearful if your novice has run in 10+ chases. Will have finished 1st or 2nd in nothing shorter than a 2m 4f hurdle and/or have high-class hurdle form. If given a hurdle RPR, it is above 119. If previously tried in a handicap chase company, has been placed. If ran here, has been placed here. Doesn't have to have raced here before. Winner rated 142+. Likely to have contested at least a G2 Chase or a Grade A handicap chase. Irish trained, well... Respect G Elliott and W Mullins. Irish winner's last win was not a Beginners Chase. D Pipe can be placed in this race, Nicholls and Henderson stables have had their difficulties. Nicholls runners tend to be too short in price. Could be any price and ridden by top Irish amateur. Favourite was due. Headgear possible. Not beaten favourite last time. Check Newbury and Warwick Nov Chase form. More than likely that the winner of one of the next Coral Cup, Irish, Scottish or Welsh Nationals is in the field but doesn't win this. Check Ten Up form from Navan and The Reynoldstown. Watch for a mare with Listed winning chase form in Open company. Did I mention G Elliott?

  • Honours Board

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

    2023 ||| 213 ||| Gaillard Du Mesnil ||| 7 ||| 155 ||| 10/11F ||| W Mullins (IRE) ||| Mr PW Mullins ||| 10 ||| 3rd G1 Leop 2m 5f (37)

    2022 ||| 311 ||| Stattler ||| 7 ||| 153 ||| 2/1 ||| W Mullins (IRE) ||| Mr PW Mullins ||| 6 ||| 1st G3 Navan Nov 3m 1f (44)

    2021 ||| 1111 ||| Galvin ||| 7 ||| 152 ||| 7/2 ||| IR Ferguson (IRE) ||| J Kennedy ||| 12 ||| 1st Cl2 Chelt Nov 3m (144)

    2020 ||| 312152F ||| Ravenhill ||| 10 ||| 142 ||| 12/1||| G Elliott (IRE) ||| Mr JJ Codd ||| 14 ||| FELL Navan Troytown 3m (107)

    2019 ||| 12324 ||| Le Breuil ||| 7 ||| 145 ||| 14/1 ||| B Pauling ||| Mr JJ Codd ||| 18 ||| 4th G2 Haydock Nov 2m 4f (52)

    2018 ||| 112BU ||| Rathvinden ||| 10 ||| 150 ||| 9/2 ||| W Mullins IRE) ||| Mr PW Mullins ||| 16 ||| UR Leop G1 Flogas 2m 5f (37)

    2017 ||| U222133 ||| Tiger Roll ||| 7 ||| 152 ||| 16/1 ||| G Elliott (IRE) ||| Miss L O'Neill ||| 18 ||| 3rd Wexford Lstd 2m 7f (134)

    2016 ||| 3P62 ||| Minella Rocco ||| 6 ||| 143 ||| 8/1 ||| JJ O'Neill ||| Mr D O'Connor ||| 20 ||| 2nd Ascot Reynoldstown 3m (24)

    2015 ||| 75 ||| Cause Of Causes ||| 7 ||| 146 ||| 8/1 ||| G Elliott (IRE) ||| Mr JJ Codd ||| 17 ||| 5th G2 Galmoy Hdle 3m (47)

    2014 ||| 61U21 ||| Midnight Prayer ||| 9 ||| 139 ||| 8/1 ||| A King ||| Mr J Newman ||| 15 ||| 1st Wrawick Nov 3m 2f (31)

  • Evidence

    Will never again be a platform for slow old romantic boats at decent prices. Ah, Northern Bay in 1985, our first year there. ...'one Boraceva, there's only one Boraceva..'89, Mr Marcus Armytage jogging round on Christmas Gorse '94. JT coaxing Rith Dubh home '02, 'The Weld' in 2006. Simple, happy times. (With all the changes suggested by David Jennings. Kevin Blake et al, I would love the race conditions of this returned to what it was. Would push the top novices back in trip, make for bigger fields all round imho).

     

    Over the past 12 years has evolved to a safety-conscious 3 mile 6 furlong decent standard G2 long distance novice chase. Over £75k to the winner in 2019 (Galvin only got £53k in 2021 but back up to £60k plus for Stattler and Gaillard Du Mesnil).

     

    AGE - Minella Rocco 2016 and Tricky Trickster 2009 only 6 yr olds to win since Boraceva in ’89. Minella Rocco bt Native River, another six year old. Only four winners this century aged older than eight. Rith Dubh, Rathvinden and Ravenhill at 10 yr olds, Midnight Prayer, a 9 yr old in 2014. 83 six yr olds have tried since '89 including two last year, Tenzing a istamt 4th, Bellatrixsa weakening when falling. Lord Royal in 2021, 7th at 10/1.

     

    Other eight in the field last year all seven and eight yr olds All six runners in 2022 were seven or eight.

     

    10 yrs and over - Ravenhill and Rathvinden were 10 yrs, Ladbroke Trophy winner Sizing Tennessee was third also as a 10 yr old, Rith Dubh ‘02 and Flimsy Truth in ’97 were winners as 10 yr olds. In the last 17 renewals, 21 horses of this age group have run, only other placed Tofino Bay in 2013. He had won a G2 Nov Chase at Navan. One no hoper pulled up 2021 No ten year olds ran in 2019, '17 or '16. In 2015 Perfect Gentleman under PW Mullins was the only qualifier and 4th.

     

    Since the 2010 changes when it became a level weights contest, Next Destination (2nd), Snow Leopardess (4th), Ravenhill, Clondaw Cian, Rathvinden, Sizing Tennessee, Perfect Gentleman, Midnight Prayer, Tofino Bay and Beshabar (2nd in 2011) only ones aged older than 8 yrs old to be in the top 6 finishers. That's 10 from 72 possibles but includes three of the last 10 winners. Beshabar previously won G3 Nov Hurdle. Twelve other qualifiers over the past eight years failed to finish the race.

     

    When he got off the 10 yr old Rathvinden after winning in 2018, Patrick Mullins said 'we were hopeful with him, he fitted the profile.' Certainly had me reaching immediately for my notes. More on the horse's chase experience later. Do love the way that trainers, jockeys and the media at Cheltenham will use the phrase 'fits the profile'. Yet few will rarely use the words 'trends' or 'stats.'

     

    PROFILE - Ravenhill, Rathvinden, Cause of Causes, Chicago Grey, Butler’s Cabin '07 and Loving Around ’96 only winners in last 32 not placed in first 4 on previous run. Ravenhill fell in the Troytown, distracted by a faller just in front of him. Rathvinden was being tapped for toe in the 2m 5f Flofas chase before unseating, had been second in a Drinmore. Cause Of Causes last of 5 in the Galmoy Hurdle but down the field in a Drinmore before that. Chicago Grey previous run 5l 5th in a 3m Nov Ch G1 at Leopardstown Christmas. Butler’s Cabin unplaced last time in a Cheltenham G3 H'cap Chase but had won Class 3 chase at Cheltenham that season.

     

    33 of past 38, 1st or 2nd in either of past two runs (not Rathvinden U then a BD, not Tiger Roll, 3rd in his previous two outings, Cause of Causes, Butler’s Cabin or Another Rum '05). 15 from last 18 finished in the top 5 last time out.

     

    NO OF PREVIOUS CHASE RUNS - Despite WPM smashing this stat with Stattler (2), by and large this number has increased as this became more of a Graded event. No of previous chases going back 14 years. last year's winner first, 8-2-8-6-5-10-10-4-10-4-3-5-9-11. 29 horses having 9 chases or more have run in the past 14 yrs, 5 winners, P&L +22pts. Nice. Fakiera PU last year, Run Wild Fred 2nd, Braeside PU 2022. 2021 Galvin joint top with eight runs. Three in 2020, best Lord Du Mesnil in second. Only Atlanta Blaze qualified in 2019, 20/1, third when fell 2 out. Three ran in 2018, finished 1st and 3rd. 2016 Minella Rocco only 4 chases, but came from being placed in a G2, 2013 Back In Focus only 3 runs, straight from winning a Leopardstown G1. With only six runners in 2022, experience over the 23 fences may not have been as important. Wasn't that great a race. None of the six runners have since won.

     

    24 from the last 26 had finished first or second in a chase over at least 3 miles. (not Le Brueil, only 3rd in a G2. Not Butler’s Cabin but he had never run over 3 miles). Gaillard, 3rd in an Irish National, Stattler won a Navan G3, Galvin course 3 mile nov ch winner, Ravenhill, 2nd in the 106k Kerry National, Rathvinden had jogged round a beginners chase at Wexford before returning to shorter trips. Tiger Roll won the 44k Munster National, Minella Rocco 2nd in a G2 Reynoldstown G2. Midnight Prayer won a Warwick Novice. Back In Focus came from winning a G1. Cause Of Causes previously 2nd in both a Paddy Power Chase and a Kim Muir. Was kept as a novice for this after finishing 10th in Irish National.

     

    Reynoldstown - Since 2014 six runners have come from Ascot. None the last two years. 2021 Remastered won at Ascot, started 11/2 here, faded, 5th. No others have come since 2018, preferring the Broadway/Brown Advisory Ch instead. Minella Rocco 2nd at Newbury, won here. Ms Parfois, 2nd at Ascot, 2nd here.

     

    Ravenhill became the first F last time out to win this in 32 yrs. Brought Down for me in the Troytown.

     

    32 from last 37 all out at least 4 times that season. Not Gaillard, Stattler and Cause of Causes from the winners since 2010. Stattler only one in last 19 not to have run at least 3 times over fences. Gaillard Du Mesnil a high performing second season chaser. Wouldn't have been out of place in the Gold Cup imho. Ravenhill's first chase was on the 30th May and had finished 5th behind Borice in the Galway Plate. Rathvinden's win was his 11th chase. Brought to chasing after 1004 days away. Some trainer is WPM. Tiger Roll's win was also his 11th chase. On the go over fences since Ballinrobe on 31st May. In Belfast Preview Night Gordon Elliott said he wouldn't win as Jamie Codd had jumped ship for something else. But in came Lisa O'Neill, the daisy. He head butted three ditches and won in a jog. Chicago Grey had 9 previous chases, Poker de Sivola had actually competed in 12 chases, winning only on his previous run). All of the last 12 apart from Stattler (G3 winner) and Back In Focus (G1 winner and only three chases) had run at least 4 times over fences.

     

    12 of the last 24 had already run in handicap chase company, 5 winning, 7 placed. Gaillard in an Irish National. Galvin had been second to Imperial Aura in the 2m 4f nov h'cap. 12 hadn't run in h'caps including neither Stattler, Le Breuil nor any of Rathvinden's 11 runs. Ravenhill, Tiger Roll, Cause Of Causes all very, very solid handicap form.

     

    TRIP - Only three winners this century had already run in a race in excess of 3m 2f. Gaillard Du Mesnil, Cause of Causes both ran in the previous Irish National.

     

    All bar Stattler, Le Breuil and Minella Rocco of the last 14 had run in a chase by 31st October. Galvin had run in eight by that stage, Le Breuil ran in 5 chases before Cheltenham starting on the 4th November. Minella Rocco had won a p2p in March '14. His first chase was on the 20th November. Gallard Du Mesnil and Rathvinden's first chase was actually in December, 15 months before their win here. Seven of last 13 had spent at least two seasons over hurdles (I'm including Ravenhill's hurdles run in May). Rathvinden off for those 1004 days after finishing 3rd to Faugheen in a Ballymore. (That's why he was a novice chaser at the age of ten).

     

    11 from last 17 had competed before in at least one Cheltenham chase. Gaillard 3rd in a Brown Advisory. Galvin in two, a win and a second. All of those bar Tiger Roll and Minella Rocco placed at least once. Tiger Roll finished 3rd of six in the course novice chase that Galvin subsequently won but he had achieved two previous course wins including a Triumph hurdle. Minella Rocco had two previous attempts at course chases. Didn't take to it on either occasion. Maybe soft ground? Rathvinden, 3rd in Ballymore. Le Breuil had been twice second in on-course chases. Ravenhill, Midnight Prayer, Back In Focus and Old Benny had never been here before. Stattler 4th in the Albert Bartlett when 7/2 fav.

     

    Since 2002, 9 winners had previously won a hurdle race over 3 miles. 3 others had been second (Tricky Trickster and Poker de Sivola had both been 2nd 'staying on' in such a race. Rith Duth had been 2nd in a 3m maiden hurdle to Paris Pike). Exceptions include Gaillard winner 2m 6f G1 at the DRF, Stattler 3rd that DRF G1, Midnight Prayer, winner of and 'staying on' in a 2m 6f hurdle, Chicago Grey 2nd in 2m 6f hurdle. Ravenhill is actually the only winner in the last nine to have won a 3-mile hurdle. Galvin had never run in one but was a staying on 6th of 16 in City Island's Ballymore. Hurdle off a 140 rating.

     

    Minella Rocco had won an Irish p2p and Cause Of Causes was classy enough to finish 2nd in a Galway Hurdle and win the £84k Ladbroke at Ascot. Beaten 13l in Galmoy Hurdle. Tiger Roll had two attempts at 3-mile hurdles, unpl in a Stayers. 14 from last 16 had a hurdles mark of at least 119 (as if that helps). Gaillard 150, Stattler 142, Ravenhill 131, Le Breuil best hurdle rating was 145, one run in a 3m hurdle PU, Rathvinden had never run in a 3m hurdle. His hurdle rating would have been 150+. Tiger Roll had an Irish hurdle rating of 150, Minella Rocco had only two hurdle runs, winning both. Cause Of Causes got to 152, Midnight Prayer's English h'cap rating was only 123.

     

    6 of last 25 had yet to win over fences. But none of the last seven. Minella Rocco and Cause Of Causes yet to score. Previous six to them had all won a chase. Rathvinden had won two G3 novices at Galway and Tipperary. Le Breuil a 2m 4f novice chase at Huntingdon. Ravenhill a 16k Limerick handicap. Galvin's four chase wins had won him £30k. Gaillard Du Mesnil had already won £145k over fences and £145k over hurdles.

     

    Only Cause Of Causes, Minella Rocco and Teaforthree of the last eleven had yet to win a chase worth more than £6k to the winner. Going back from Galvin, chase winnings already gained by these novices before this race were £145k, £21k, £60k, £80k, £28k, £55k, £68k, £8k, £30, £15k, £70k. As I said above, no more romantic slow old boats. Hard to believe that Ravenhill had already won £80k.

     

    RATINGS - Flattening. Going back the last 12 winners were 155, 153, 152, 142, 145, 150, 152, 143, 146, 139, 146 and 151 respectively. Galliard DU Mesnil top rated by 8lbs, Run Wild Fred top rated 2022 off 158, Next Destination top rated 2021 off 153. The COVID professionals year. Jack outrode Harry IMHO. Lord Du Mesnil, 2nd and top-rated in 2020 off 153. Carefully Selected second top-rated off 152. Ravenhill only joint 4th top-rated.  2019 Le Breuil well down the list behind top-rated OK Corral at 153. 2018 Rathvinden was joint top rated with Mossback. 2017 Tiger Roll was second top-rated behind the patiently ridden and unfortunate Edwulf on 159.  2016 Minella Rocco at 143 was the lowest rated of the first seven home. Cause Of Causes joint third top rated. Shotgun Paddy top rated was second here off 151. Previous run was to win Warwick Classic Chase. In 2013 Tofino Bay 2nd was rated 149 and Rival D'Estruval who fell 2 out was 143. Top Rated has finished 111205P1P2221 (Gaillard the last named) over the past 12 years.

     

    Horses rated 150+ are seven from 17 in the past 13 years. The last three winners. A 1-2 from only two qualifiers in 2022 and 2021. Only Midnight Prayer of the last 13 rated below 142.

     

    13 of the last 14 had either contested at least a Grade 3 chase or a Grade A h'cap earlier that season.

     

    FUTURE GLORIES? - Gaillard's next run was to be 3rd to Corach Rambler in the Grand National. Mahler Mission 2nd in Newbury's Coral Cup. From 2022 Stattler a gallant 2nd to Galopin Des Champs in an Irish Gold Cup, Vanillier 3rd in the National. Galvin second to Frodon at Down Royal, then wins Savills, Snow Leopardess a Bechers, Remastered's been close in a couple, including the 2022 Ladbroke Chase. I think the 2020 soft ground bottomed a few but Lord du Mesnil and Smoking Gun have since won big handicaps. Ok Corral, Mulcahy's Hill, Discorama and Warthog did not do any harm for 2019 vintage. Other subsequent winners too. Second in 2018 Ms Parfois, next time 2nd in an Aintree G1, Third in 2018 was Sizing Tennesse (Ladbroke Chase winner 2018 at 12s), 4th home Impulsive Star (Warrick Classic 8s). Jury Duty (American Grand National), Shades of Midnight Reigning Supreme all since won decent races. 2017, Tiger Roll, Edwulf, Missed Approach and Beware The Bear have all since won decent pots. (If you call back to back Grand Nationals, 'decent') Top rated 2016 was Vicente (153). Next run won Scottish National. And then won it again in 2017. Noble Endeavour (Paddypower Chase) going well when falling two out. Top rated in 2015 was Thunder And Roses (148). Next run won Irish National. 2014 Shutthefrontdoor 6th before doing the same. 2013 Godsmejudge 3rd here, then won Scottish National. 2011, Beshabar, 2nd here, yes, wins Scottish National.
     

    WARWICK - 3m 2f Cl3 Nov Ch in February won by Midnight Prayer in 2014. Also Relaxation in 2000 and Old Benny 2008 ran well in Warwick Novices. Grey Dawning from Apple Away and Broadway Boy
     

    6 of the last 8 British trained winners ran in a Newbury Chase - Le Breuil 3rd of seven over 3m behind Santini. Also Ms Parfois won at Newbury, 2nd here. Native River 2nd here 2016 (beat Un Temps Pour Tout at Newbury). Check out the John Francome Novices Chase. Hermes Allen

     

    WINNING JOCKEYS. - The best amateurs win this ('23, '22 PW Mullins, '20, '19 Jamie Codd, '18 PiW Mullins, '17 the fantastic Lisa O'Neill, '16 Derek O'Connor, '15 JJ Codd, '14 Joshua Newman '13 PW Mullins, '12 JT McNamara, '11 D O'Connor, '10 Katie Walsh, '09 S Waley Cohen). However, the field will be full of the best amateurs. The Doc should have been at least 2nd in 2017 on Edwulf, was 3rd on The Job Is Right 2015, 2nd on Shotgun Paddy in '15, 4th on Any Currency 7/1 in '10, 2nd on Drumconvis 22/1 in '09. Super ride from him on on Minella Rocco who traded at 32s in running. Was giving him a reminder with a circuit to go. In 2021 COVID prevented the amateurs riding. A daft ruling imho.

     

    With winning the last year Patrick Mullins becomes the only jockey to win this 4 times since at least 1946. Jamie Codd on three. Oft repeated, Jamie and Derek are worth at least half a stone. Jamie the top ever Festival amateur with 10 wins. Has never won the Foxhunters. The Doc is on four Festival winners including two here. Patrick rode three winners at the 2022 Festival. Stattler, Facile Vega and a stormer on Billaway. Now on eight Festival winners.

     

    GORDON ELLIOTT - Ravenhill, Tiger Roll, Cause of Causes and Chicago Grey all trained by the MAN, four winners in the last 13. (And Galvin although the name on the ticket was Ian Ferguson). Chemical Energy and Run Wild Fred both 2nd in last two years, Escaria Ten 11/4 fav in third 2021. Also had Noble Endeavour in 2016 travelling nicely when fell two out. Jury Duty (ground) Mossback fell 2018, Gun Digger PU 2019. Gordon technically has four winners from only 12 runners.

     

    MARES - Get 7 lbs. Bellatrixsa alone last year, F. None in 2022, Snow Leopardess 4th 2021 at 16s. None ran in 2020, Atlanta Ablaze ran rightly in 2019. Ms Parfois 2nd 2018, four others have tried in last 13 since this became graded. The Leopardess had been 2nd in a Rowland Meyrick and won a £25k Haydock Chase. Ms Parfois had won two listed Mares chases, only one of which was for Mares alone. 2nd of 4th last time out in a Reynoldstown. No other mares placed and none have come here with the level of form of those two.

     

    Jonjo O’Neill – Five winners this century and six in all. Minella Rocco only one since Butler’s Cabin 2007 was the stable's winning second string. JP McManus has owned 6 winners and also had 5 placed (and Edwulf). Two blinkered winners trained by Jonjo. No JP runners last four years, OK Corral 4/1 PU 2019 and no runners in five of the previous seven years. Also owned Shutthefrontdoor 4/1 6th in 2014.

     

    Pipe stable has never won this. Martin had been second four times, David second '08 and again in 2015 with Broadway Buffalo 12/1. In the last twelve Remastered 5th at 11/2 2021, in 2019 Warthog 100/1 (PU but then won the G3 Caspian Caviar) Buddy Bolero 4th, Sona Sasta 6th, Over The Creek 2nd 7/1, Control Man 3rd 11/1, Not Left Yet, Sixo and Basilea Star, Gentle Ranger all falling when in contention. Champers on Ice 7s and What A Moment both PU in 2017. No runner 2018, 2020 or last two years. A King 2 winners in '08 and '14 and Godsmejudge 3rd in 2013.

     

    Paul Nicholls (his column) 'has been trying to win this since Rampoldi was pulled up in '94. Find that strange as Segal says he 'has is the best trainer of staying chasers.' He is 0 from 19 in this race. (Most recent runner was 2021 Next Destination rerouted here to run away from Monkfish as Royal Paguille made a dismal GC show). No runner previous three years, Arpege D'Alene a good 4th in 2017, Vicente 5th, Vivaldi Collonges PU 2015, Hawkes Point PU 2013, Harry The Viking 2nd in 2012). Three placed from 19 (12 of them started in first 6 in betting). 

     

    Willie Mullins has won this four times as a trainer and twice as a jockey. Shed a nice tear in 2013 when Patrick got Back In Focus home in front. (Along with Gaillard Du Mesnil, Stattler, Rathvinden, Haymount 3rd at 33s 2017, Measureofmydreams 3rd, Perfect Gentleman 4th, Suntiep 3rd, unlucky in 2012, Allez Garde brought down stablemate Soll). 2019 the ill-fated Ballyward backed down to 9/4 fav, fell at the 17th. Carefully Selected turned over in 2020 at 10/1. Lord Royal 10s, disappointing in 7th 2021. Ramillies, Classic Getaway, Kilcruit, Mahler Mission. Patrick has ridden all Willie's winners.

     

    Willie tends to use the Grade 3 Naas 3 mile novice at the end of January for a prep for this. The Naas race has recently featured Stattler, Ballyward, Carefully Selected, Pont Alexandre. Other stables' notables to have run in this race include Eklat de Rire, Jury Duty and Tofino Bay. None came from last year.

     

    N Henderson has yet to win this. Five runners in past 12. Didn't check his stats for OK Corral, only two previous chase runs, best ever finisher Beware The Bear 7th 2017. City Chief didn't try his luck last year against the owner's first string but Mister Coffey did. A credible 3rd then a fine run under the Doc in the Grand National. And guess what? He's eligible to return this year!

     

    Irish trained - 11 winners from last 27 but more relevant, six of the last seven. 1-2 last year 1-2-3 2022 1-3 2021, 1-4 in 2020, Discorama 2nd 2019 for Paul Nolan, Rathvinden won 2018. 2017 1st and 3rd (and Edwulf), 3rd 2016, 1st, 3rd and 4th in 2015, only 3rd 2014, winner and 2nd in 2013, 3rd and 4th in 2012, G Elliott winner Chicago Grey in 2011, also 4th and 5th from 5 runners. Irish trained 6 of 10 runners last year, 4 of the six strong field 2022, 4 runners from 12 2021, 4 from 14 2020, 5 from 20 2019. 4 from 16 runners 2018, 6 from 18 2017. It actually pays to back them all, blind.

     

    None of the Irish trained winners last win was in a beginner's chase.
     

    Ten Up Chase Navan In February 2015 it was won by Measureofmydreams who then finished 3rd here. Black Hercules fell when about to win the Ten Up then won the JLT. Noble Endeavour finished 5l 2nd at Navan, then fell 2 out in 4 miler when not completely out of it. The race has produced Another Rum to win this in 2005. He only finished 4th at Navan. Very Wood fav unplaced here 2015 after winning Ten Up. 2016 winner Acapella Bourgeois finished a mile behind Might Bite in the RSA but the second home some 32 lengths behind, Road To Respect hacked round in the Mildmay and has done pretty ok since. 2018, Mossback fatally injured at the 18th fence. Chris's Dream last year not entered but won a Troytown. Any Second Now, 3rd at Navan then won the Kim Muir. Decent race the day I went to Navan, last year, Captain CJ from Ellwood. First two home not entered 2021 though Forza Milan, oddly, ran 4th to Ravenhill at Cheltenham before 3rd in the Ten Up. Last year's Ten Up winner Farouk D'Alene was about to pounce on LHomme Presse in the Brown Advisory before falling two out. Mahler Mission 2nd in the Ten Up, went home from 4 out here, Patrick 'always confident of catching him.'

     

    Used to be the best race in festival for blinkered/cheekpieces/visors/hoods etc runners. 5 winners from 106 qualifiers over last 20 renewals. Three tried last year, all stuffed. Run Wild Fred 2nd 2022 in cheekpieces, two no-hopers 2021, five ran 2020, best Lord Du Mesnil 2nd. In 2018 ten ran, best Clondaw Cian a plugged on 4th at 125/1, Impulsive Star best of five in 4th 2018, 2017 Tiger Roll won in his usual blinkers, Missed Approach 2nd wore first-time cheekpieces. Native River 2nd 2016 from 10 qualifiers, 1-2-3 in 2015 (none first-time wearers).

     

    PRICE - As stated here last year, the favourite was due. First clear fav to win in 10 renewals. Only two and a half favourites in the 20 years to 2010 then Chicago Grey, Teaforthree and Back In Focus came together. Like buses. Native Emperor ‘04 first (joint) favourite winner since ’92. Only two of the previous nine favourites finished in the first four. 2015 Very Wood 7/2f, 10th. 2017 A Genie In A Bottle 4/1 fav, 5th. 2016 Minella Rocco was the overnight 5/1 fav, opened 10s on course, went for a walk in running when Derek seemed to have trouble getting him to go out on the final lap. But Derek knew. Late money for Escaria Ten 2021 made him 11/4 fav, in 2022 there wasn't much to pick between the top two in the market.

     

    11 BFs last time over the past six, four of the 10 runners last year. Mahler Mission the best to perform, Run Wild Fred was a BF, other finishers Snow Leopardess 4th 2021, Jerrysback 3rd 2019 and Sizing Tennessee in 3rd 2018. In 2017 four ran, best Arpege D'Alene in 4th. 2016 one BF last time, PU. 2015 Broadway Buffalo finished 2nd. 2020, took a long time to find Smoking Gun.

     

    This century no BF last time out has won this race.

     

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