How Did The Stats Do In 2023?
Day by day. What worked, followed by what didn't. (For me, a lovely trip to Prestbury Park on the Tues/Wed. Nicely in front until GC day when I became over confident and gave it all, all back. aagh! Hey ho. To 2024. Stay safe).
Tuesday - YES
Supreme - Even if you are trained by WPM, finishing a BF 4th last time out doesn't help you win this. Did finish second, mind you. Previous year's bumper winner has only obliged once since Montelado '93. No headgear wearer since Flown '92. No second season novice. (Il Etait Temps). Unbeaten over hurdles, at least two wins including a G2 and a high rating helps. Marine Nationale was 147. Vega the only one in the 150s. The record of Royal Bond winners since 2002 hasn't been that bad.
Both El Fabiolo and Jonbon were very solid. Dysart Dynamo only two chases but not unbeaten. Saint Roi too old. Top two both won at least G2.
Corach Rambler makes it nine from the last 10 to be either a novice or ran in the Coral 'Hennessey' at Newbury in November. Another fav might have been due. Right age, a second season chaser, a safe jumper and knew his way around here. Only a 6lb higher rating than last year, Un Temps Pour Tout had been 7lbs. Both won first time as novices. Irish runner goes close but once again, no cigar.
Constitution Hill and State Man had both solid stats profiles. To be pernickity, you might say both were a little inexperienced. The straight f/cast paid £1.70. Some crowd around that parade ring for the next 40 minutes.
Honeysuckle was top rated (6lbs in hand) and the multi Grade 1 winner. Sure, wasn't it obvious. Eugene had backed Love Envoi but even he cheered Rachael home. Madness, isn't it. No headgear (Brandy Love).
Jazzy Matty had been 4th in that Naas four yr old hurdle. Irish trained, right ratings band. Also filled one of my fav trends. 'Back any horse whose trainer/jockey has already had a winner that day.' Maybe a man who had just ridden a Supreme winner? Also filled the letter A stat. People laugh, but.. Sundail 18/1 in 4th came from the Roche stable that won this last year.
Gaillard Du Mesnil was from the right connections, had the joint most number of chases with Fakiera (8) Had already won a Leop 3m Grade 1. Top rated by 8lbs. Grade 1 Festival place. Can't find a negative. Both Chemical Energy and Mahler Mission only four chases. And Mister Coffey was Nicky trained. Hasn't been a positive in this.
Tuesday - NO
At Knockanohill p2p Sunday 12th, Declan Phelan, the commentator, threw scorn at Dan for me suggesting that Marine Nationale had a fair chance. 'Tell Gault the horse hasn't been seen since the Royal Bond and claiming jockeys who can't claim, never win this.' At least Declan knew his stats.
El Fabiolo became only the third in 19 after Un De Sceaux and Voy Por Ustedes to win after never raced here before. Yes, the WPM 'no respecter of stats' stat.
Back to back Ultima winners no longer a rarity. That's two in five years. Ah, Scot Lane '83, fare ye well. Winner hadn't run this calendar year. (108 days). Oscar Elite was another with solid stats but he got left behind in the first mile.
Honeysuckle. Sure the big bad tempered mare had no chance. Present at Donaghmore, the first date of his four week world tour, I give you Johnny Dineen. Didn't win last time, too old, on downgrade, 'lay til the cows come home...' (Johnny's been some fun this year).
Jazzy Matty first headgear winner in nine. Was a (joint) BF last time out at Naas. Hate that.
Wednesday - YES
Ballymore - Every year I ask, the Challow, do they not know? Hermes Allen heavily backed into favourite, 6th. At Donaghmore Preview night DJ asks David Casey to rank his three. He replied 1. Impair Et Passe, 2. Gaelic Warrior, 3. Champ Keily Trifecta paid £74. No, of course not. IET also filled the Matt Tombs stat that Graded winners over 2 miles have a far stronger Ballymore record than Graded winners over 2 miles 4 furlongs. Rated 148. No negatives. Gaelic Warrior came from a handicap last time, not a recognised route.
Brown Advisory - The Real Whacker was an old RSA type winner. A fine jumping grinder going from the front. Only 6 Ch /Hdle runs, but that was enough, Sir Gerhard and Gerri Colombe only 5 Ch/Hrdle runs each, extra run out might have helped. The Whacker two course chase wins including the Dipper. G Elliott yet to win. Gerri had never been here before. Thyme Hill too old and the Feltham winner never takes this.
Langer Dan had definitely not won here before, but was Festival placed, the right age and had a G3 win over the trip. Dan Skelton's spring horse. An Epic Song was a nice fit, falling down only on no previous course run.
Energumene became the seventh back to back QM winner and short priced jolly on second win. At 10/13, by far the best wins to runs record in the field. 5lbs in hand. Edwardstone and Editeur de Gite equally strong on trends but couldn't live with him.
Delta Work, strong on trends, ratings, connections. Even bought Keith Donoghue in for the ride. Back to back wins. Galvin and Franco De Port both ran well, never previously raced over the course.
Lovely man gave money and a justgiving message, saying that 'Gstats led him directly to Maskada.' Well thank you. Right age, Irish to be placed, right rating, only 10 chases, no conditional, month since being seen. Might not have been on his own, mind you. Espon Du Houx 6th and Sizing Pottsie (PU) weren't bad fits.
Every Irish Preview Night was rooting for A Dream To Share. Clear stats and the BHA Top Rated in the field off 135. Good ride. Beats Fact To File, the second top rated off 129.
Wednesday - NO
The Real Whacker was only rated 136 over hurdles and had made his chase debut over 3 miles. Not a usual thing. Langer Dan had 16 hurdle runs, far too many, wasn't Irish or Nicky trained and hadn't won this season. Energumene BF last time, first to oblige since Finians Rainbow in 2012. Maskada had already won a h'cap this season and had never raced before at the Festival.
Thursday - YES
Turners - Mighty Potter's only problem was was he was too successful. Weirdly winning the Drinmore/PJ Moriarty/top rated had never been the way to go in this race. Even with GE's strong record. A hard one to take on but bookies get to drive big cars for a reason. Appreciate It was too old. Stage Star was strong on the stats though hard to back after the performance of the stable's Hermes Allen in Wednesday's Ballymore. Grade 1 hurdle winners decent record in this.
Pertemps - Good Time Bobby had the required tongue tie and ran in the Leopardstown Qualifier. Only himself and the disappointing Maxxum came here from that. Also 9th in last year's Albert Bartlett. hadn't won a qualifier. No headgear as he hadn't been Festival placed. 11 of the 23 field wore headgear. None of the first eight home.
Ryanair - Tony Keenan only pundit I heard questioning the Shishkin 28 day turnaround. Certainly ran like a horse who need further. Envoi Allen 'prominent', right age, rating, ran in at least two previous Festivals, winning twice, Grade 1 winner, Irish trained, FRE bred, didn't run at Ascot. Well tipped up by the wonderful Jibber Jabber.
Stayers - Another short (32) day turnaround for Blazing Khal might be questioned. No Boyne Hurdle double since '95. And there has never been a Galmoy double (Teahupoo). Sire de Berlais's age can be excused as he was a double Festival winner. Grade 1 winner over the trip.
Plate - Seddon, Irish trained, 12 chase runs, 'led', course win this season (like the previous four) had previously contested a Ballymore, wasn't BF last time, wasn't fav therefore didn't wear any headgear.
Mares Novice - You Wear It Well had solid Grade 1 form, the right age, 'led', 1-2-3 last time, not Nicky trained nor JP owned. And you have to say, not ridden by A P Heskin. What a shocker on Magical Zoe. If there was one ride for one stable in one race that deserved better...
Kim Muir - Preview Circuit had it that Derek O'Connor was to ride Angels Dawn, but the Doc was obviously claimed for the very slow Musical Slave. The winner was a novice, best RPR was in its previous two runs. BF last time, mind you when falling. Not PN or WPM. PA King not a claimer. Placed horses ridden by B'On, Patrick and JJ Codd. Stumptown another short enough Irish trained fav to fail in this.
Thursday - No
Stage Star's sole stats miss was that he was yet to win a Graded chase. Good Time Bobby was a touch old at eight years and with 14 previous hurdle runs, well over the usual nine. Young McKenna (fine ride) also claimed 5lbs. First conditional to win since 2011. Unplaced KG runners hadn't won the Ryanair since Dynaste in 2014. Envoi Allen's only real negative. Headgear wearer hadn't won the Stayers since 1992, no Hattons Grace runner to double up this century. Sire de Berlais only 4th in the Boyne Hurdle last time. First to win having been beat in it before since Iris's Gift 2004. Can see why he was 33s. Seddon was too old at 10 yrs, hadn't run this year. You Wear It Well the first BR Bred to take Mares Novice.
Friday - Yes
Gstats page says fillies priced under 14/1 do quite well in the Triumph, in fact they finished 1-2-3. From three. Trifecta £46. No, don't be silly. Twice raced amateur ridden geldings who haven't been seen for over 55 days not as good (Blood Destiny). Lossiemouth Grade 1 placed last time, FRE bred. Not many negatives apart from BF last time.
County - Faivoir - Dan Skelton good record in the race. But not with novices. (Pembroke). Right rating, jockey had also won it before, hadn't been placed before in previous Festival. No headgear.
Albert Bartlett - Stay Away Fay - Graded winner last time, right age, placed over 3m, not FRE bred, not the fav, not graded bumper form
GC - Galopin Des Champs very, very solid. The rest, Cotswold Chase double not done since Looks Like Trouble, BMG nearly emulated Long Run 2011. Conflated with 14 chase runs, may have plateaued. Noble Yeats not high enough rated and no Grade 1 win. No headgear wearers in the 1-2-3.
Hunters - Yes, Premier Drive. 66s. I'll give it a go. Bradley doesn't clain the full 7 lbs. The horse was the right age and had won last time. Jamie Codd still yet to win
The Mares Ch only on its third renewal so we will finish with Iroko. GB trained, had only ran in two handicaps, winning both. Tipped up gloriously by Tony Keenan ATR. Right age, won last time. Had been placed in a Grade 2.
Friday - No
Faivour - Course winner, third season hurdler. Stay Away Fay, only two hurdle runs, and GB trainers, especially PN, do not win the Albert Bartlett. Galopin Des Champs only minor blemish is actually WPM running him in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. He was a novice, I know. Eugene backed him at 25s for that. Hard to believe, now. Premier Drive was only rated 122 and had won over 3m 5f. That has rarely been an advantage, but certainly was here. Only competed in two hunter chases. I believe all the rage in the lovely town of Shaftesbury, Dorset. Chapeau. In the Martin Pipe, the big four usual harvesters, WPM, GE, PN and Joseph nowhere to be seen. It was a 1-2-4 for GB trainers from small numbers. The Gigginstown run in this race at an end. Cool Survivor 5/1 jt fav nowhere.
Tom Segal tipped one a winner all week. A Dream To Share 11/2 antepost. Thats it. Paul Kealy had Seddon alone, Tony Calvin obliged with Faivior, K Blake Nil.
Hope its been fun. To 2024. Stay safe.
2023 Quiz Answers
1. Three Stripe Life, Tiger Roll, Fil Dor
2. Disqualified on the day for interference
3. Shishkin QM
4. 2nd in the Gold Cup on Minella Indo
5. Champion Hurdle
6. Kieran Burke - Hunt Ball
7. Kapgarde (A Plus Tard), 2. No Risk At All (Allaho, Epatante) 3. Sulamani (Honeysuckle).
8. Walsh, Geraghty, McCoy
9. Martin Pipe Hurdle
10. T O'Brien, J Burke
11. Pink Legend 33s, Funambule Sivola 40s, Didero Vallis 66s
12. R Johnson on Flying Tiger from N Fehily on Divin Bere - 2017 Boodles
13. Sir Gerhard (anagram)
14. Mr PW Mullins on countback - his two thirds to Rachael's one
15. Martello Tower, Tully East, Pedrobob. Mr Connell bought the ill fated Our Conor after his 2013 Triumph romp.
16. One. Corach Rambler U at Ascot