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And the rest ...

AGE IN CHAMPIONSHIP RACES. RUNS THAT SEASON BEFORE Grade 1 attempt. R,F,U,P or B last time out? WHICH SIRES? 1st or 2nd last time out?

AGE IN CHAMPIONSHIP RACES - Real class will usually bury stats. Constitution Hill/Bula? This century 194 horses have contested the four championship races this century when aged 10 or older. 190 were beaten. Only winners have been Sire De Berlais 11 yrs in last year's Stayers, Special Tiara 10yrs @11/1 2017 (benefitting from Douvan's injury and a good ride from Noel Fehily), Sprinter Sacre 5/1 aged 10 in 2016, Moscow Flyer 6/4 fav 2005 aged 11, the last three all Queen Mother Champion Chase winners. The latter pair were regaining their title. Last year five in total of our elders had a go, Dashel Drasher at 10, a fine second to Sire De Berlais. In 2022 eight fought valiantly, best performance Paisley Park 3rd as a 10 yr old in the Stayers at 17/2. Shortest priced loser was Al Boum Photo 6/1 6th in his fourth GC. In 2021 six elders tried, best was Native River 4th in GC at age 11. 2020 five tried, the best Tobefair 6th in Stayers. 2019 seven came, a magnificent 3rd by Faugheen in the Stayers when aged 11yrs. This year's triers may include, Not So Sleepy (again), Sharjah, Paisley Park, Dashel Drasher, Sire Du Berlais, Champ, Monkfish, Corach Rambler, Shishkin, Editeur De Gite. To move it to all Festival G1 races, Five from the last 197 triers have won, the other two successes being Our Vic (10 yrs '08 Ryanair) and Albertas Run (10yrs '11 Ryanair). Both were also under 10/1.

Faugheen at 12 yrs, 3rd in 2020 Marsh at 3/1 fav. Sharjah, Envoi Allen, Janidil  

RUNS THAT SEASON - Last year eight ran in Grade 1s having had at least five runs that season. All unplaced. In 2022, 18 had a go. No winners. Bardenstown Lad in the AB best in 3rd. In 2021, 17 tested warriors had a go. None won. 2020 25 horses ran in Festival G1s having had five or more runs in GB or IRE since May. Two big winners Put The Kettle On 16/1 with six runs and Lisnagar Oscar 50/1 with five.  No winners 2019. Between 2011 and 2018, only Presenting Percy, Shattered Love, Captain Chris, Taquin De Seuil, Sire De Grugy and Blaklion beat this stat.  

DAYS SINCE RUN - There have been 47 winners in the last 11 years who raced inside 28 days of The Festival
28 of those landed Handicaps which equates to 30% (8/20 Tuesday, 2/20 Wednesday, 12/30 Thursday, 5/20 Friday) The following races have not had a winner run within the previous 28 days - Ballymore, QM, Grand Annual, Turners, Stayers, Gold Cup. Magnificent stuff.

Horses who achieved the letter R, F, U, P, or B last time out - 

Willie Mullins - 23/02/22 - “State Man fell at Leopardstown and then won over two miles at Limerick. He’s a horse that’s improving and I haven’t put much thought into which race he’ll go. I imagine there’s no problem with him staying so the chances are he could go to the Ballymore. We could look at the County Hurdle though with a fall on your CV I’d be dubious." Who said he is no respecter of stats?

20 LLTs (Letter Last Time) ran lastyear, one winner, Angels Dawn Unseated when going well in the Punchestown Grand National Trial. Three others placed,Saint Roi (U), Risk Belle (F), Shantou Flyer (U). 24 ran in 2022, one winner Corach Rambler (U) in the Reynoldstown at Ascot. Mighty Stowaway (F) 3rd at 33s in the Hunters. In 2021, 34 LLTs ran, one winner, Mrs Milner (F) 12s in the Pertemps, Fine second at 33s by Cloudy Glen (U) in the Kim Muir.  41 ran in 2020. Three big winners, the biggest ever. It Came To Pass 66/1 (P), Ravenhill 12/1 (F), Champ 4/1 (F). And boy, was there some discussion about Champ having previously demolished the second last in the Dipper. Honourable mentions for Theinval 50/1 5th (P) and Mill Green 6th 80/1 (P) Martin Pipe Hurdle. 34 LLTs went to post in 2019. One winner, William Henry (P) at 28s, placers Top Wood (P), Faugheen (F), Tingtangle, (F), 36 in 2018. One winner Rathvinden (U) 4 miler at 9/2 Anibale Fly (F) and Ballyalton (F) placed. Willie Mullins again did for me in 2017 with Nichols Canyon in the Stayers Hurdle being the first winner of a Festival hurdle since at least 1990 having (F) fallen last time out. 70 odd had previously tried. And only Mrs Milner since. (Willie knows). In 2016 Willie also helped to kill the 'you don't win a Festival chase off the back of a fall' stat with Black Hercules (JLT) following on from Ballyalton (2016 Close Bros Chase). First since St Pirran, Grand Annual 2004.

That now makes only a total of 33 winners since 1991 (about 800 races) that had one of the letters beside their name from their last run. 11 had fallen, 8 unseated and 14 pulled up. Winners include 2014 Ballynagour P 12s, 2013 Carrickboy P 50s, 20111 Albertas Run P 6s, '10 Pause and Clause U 14s, '08 High Chimes P 14s, '07 Voy Por Estedes U 5s, '06 Whyso Mayo U 20s, and '06 You're Special P 33s. Check for Gaelic Warrior, Corbetts Cross, Meetingofthewaters, Boothill, Conflated,Classic Getaway, Stage Star.

Robert Hall on his final day at RTE Racing DRF Sunday 2020 said about Aspire Tower 'you don't want to be going to Cheltenham on the back of a fall.' Shrewd to the end.

Mrs Milner F, William Henry P, Nicholls Canyon F, Wicklow Brave P and then Pause for Clause U in the Conditional Jockeys 2010, Illnamar U in '92 Coral Cup are the last horses to have won a Festival hurdle with a letter as last form entry.


CURRENT TOP GB and Ire NH SIRES (money won) - Season 2023 to 19th February 2024

Standings up to 15th February 2024. A subject about which I know less than nothing.

1. Walk In The Park 2. Fame And Glory 3. Getaway 4. Yeats  5. Westerner 6. Kayf Tara.

Walk In The Park from 5th to 1st, next three stay as they were, Shirocco drops from 4th to 12th, Mahler from 6th to 8th. Walk in The Park is about £200k ahead of Fame And Glory who in turn is £400k ahead of the rest. Big gap. Top two best percentage of winners to runners - 37%. Walk In The Park Responsible for Jonbon, Facile Vega, Limerick Lace and Nick Rockett amongst others. Fame and Glory for Stage Star, Filey Bay, Foxy Jacks. Galopin Des Champs by Timos, Constitution Hill by Blue Bresil,

WHICH SIRE IS HOT at the Festival? -  Shantou had two winners last year, Impervious and Stay Away Fay. Also Magical Zoe 2nd. (the less said, the better). In 2022 Jeremy had two winners, Corach Rambler and Sir Gerhard. As did Fame and Glory with Commander Of Fleet and The Nice Guy. Timos and Kapgarde won the most money last two years being both responsible for GC winners. Stowaway, Yeats and Jeremy took the plaudits in 2021. They sired four winners each, something which I don't remember happening before,  Stowaway responsible for Monkfish, Put The Kettle On, The Shunter, Telmesomethinggirl. Yeats - Heaven Help Us, Chantry House, Flooring Porter and Mount Ida. Both Stowaway and Yeats had three others placed. Jeremy - Appreciate It, Black Tears, Sir Gerhard and Belfast Banter,  Happygolucky in 2nd. 

Doubles plus for sires becoming all the rage recently In 2020 achieved by Poligote (Politilogue and Sire du Berlais), Stowaway (Monkfish and Put The Kettle On), Kalanisi (Imperial Aura and The Conditional) and Nathaniel (Burning Victory and Concertista). Did the staying on performance of the latter two mares not remind you of their father powering home in a soft ground King George? Said he, knowing nothing..  No Risk At All responsible for Epatante and Alloha which is an interesting mix. 

Bucks Boum, Voix Du Nord and Oscar topped the sire scales in the 2019 Festival with two winners each. They finished in that order due to prizemoney earned. Fleminsfirth, Milan (Hazel Hill) and Kings Theatre (William Henry) one winner each.

No horse sired more than one winner in the 2018 Festival making Indian River the 2018 leader as he sired Native River

In 2017 Authorised took the plaudits being the only sire of two Festival winners, Tiger Roll and Nichols Canyon. However Midnight Legend with Sizing John and a few placers was the top money earning sire with £340k. 

Ruby Walsh regularly makes the point that we tend to make too much of the sire of the winner and should concentrate more on the breeding on the dam's side as that's where the stamina tends to come from.  Wouldn't dare to disagree. Jane Mangan is always fascinating to listen to on the topic of breeding. 

Since 2012 the leading sires list by winners reads - Kings Theatre 12, Stowaway 11, Oscar, Robin Des Champs (Quevega) both 10. Jeremy 8, Milan, Kayf Tara, both 7. By cash won it's 1 Oscar, 2. Kings Theatre, 3. Milan. 

And finally, my original stat from our first time there in 1985. 'Back something that was 1st or 2nd last time out, Bryan.' Poor enough return in 2023 only 16, big year in 2022, 22 of the 28 winners fulfilled this stat, 19 out of 28 2022, 20 out of the 28 2020, In 2019, another 22 from 28, In 2019 and 2022 all seven winners on Gold Cup day filled it. Only Faivoir spoilt it last year. In some races this is unlikely to be a big distinguisher! In 1985 there was no bumper or Mares Novice to enhance the stats!

My work here is now done.

Please enjoy.