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In 2022, 217 of the total 404 runners came from Emerald Isle trainers or 54%. I believe this to be the first time over half of the total fields had travelled. This didn't stop last year but I have yet to count it. In 2023, 438 competed at the Festival. People say we have no horses? The much vaunted Prestbury Cup was taken 18-10. WPM had 76 runners last year over the four days, 12 more than in 2022. His biggest days work tends to be GC Day, 23 last year, 20 in 2022. GE brought 60 over last year. That means that 31% of total runners from two stables. Whether that is healthy is debateable. In 2022 only five of the 23 in the Martin Pipe Hurdle were GB trained, this number went up to nine last year. Maybe green shoots of recovery? As the English handicapper has to push up the ratings of the Irish to achieve some sort of parity, it then becomes harder for GB trained to get in. I don't know the answer, stop them at the Ferries?

In 2021 probably due to COVID, Irish trainers 'only' brought over 161 runners to the Festival accounting for 37% of total fields. WPM alone had 55 runners over the 4 days. In 2020 44% of total runners (181) were Irish trained, representing 37 different trainers. G Elliott and W Mullins had 'only' the 97 between them. 

G Elliott did not train any winners at the 2021 Festival due to being banned. It is fair to say that otherwise he would probably have been awarded Top Trainer. Mrs Foster had her name to three winners and Sir Gerhard, Galvin and Quilixios were moved 'elsewhere' shortly before the Festival. I am sure Mr Elliott mulls over this from time to time. However, we must adhere to official records.

TOP FESTIVAL TRAINERS - 2017 to 2021 - Mullins 33, de Bromhead 16, Elliott 15, Henderson 13, Nicholls 5,  Cromwell 4, Skelton 4, O'Brien 3, Foster 3.

W P Mullins slightly stalls over the five year rollling average, going down one winner from 34. I'm sure he's yet to get worried. Had gone from 30 to 34 in 2022. Was on a losing run of 22 before Lossiemouth jogged home in the Triumph. G Elliott suffered due to the 2021 ban issues (lost six) but has gone from 20 to 15 this year. That's a drop. He's now on a losing run of 20 since Sire De Berlais's Stayers. Overtaken by H de Bromhead two up from 14 to 16. Henry up two places. N Henderson drops another single to 15 and the rest basically stay the same. PN is -7 over the past four years, Gavin Cromwell remains constant. In the last five years he is four winners from only 24 runners. all G1s. Stumptown in the Kim Muir as close as he got last year. Mrs Harrington's 2017 treble dropped off last year and she is now 0-27 over the last five years. Four unplaced hurdlers in 2023. Joseph O'Brien takes her place for the moment.

W Mullins remains about 10% wins per runners and has won over £900k in prize money at each of the last eight Festivals, (Last year his biggest haul £1.36m, 2022 £1.27m, 2020 had been his highest for a while at £1.2m). Has saddled at least three winners at every Cheltenham Festival since 2010. Averages 16/17 runners every Festival Day. 308 runners over the past five Festivals. Impair Et Passe last year at 5/2 was the biggest priced of his six winners so backing them all blind has become expensive. 45 of his 76 runners last year actually won wages. From Energumene taking nearly £227k home from the QM to Shanbally Kid winning £459 for finishing 8th in the Albert Bartlett. Over the five yr period -£100 for £1 level SP stakes. Didn't used to be like that. 14 of those 33 Festival winners in the five yr period were chasers. But not one handicap chaser. Yet. In 2022 won his first QM and Hunters Chase Yet to win Boodles or Cross Country. Hasn't won a Champion Hurdle since 2016 (Annie Power) State Man or a Turners since 2017 (Yorkhill). Fact Or File. Has won 16 of the 27 races restricted to mares.  But none last year and hasn't won the Mares Hurdle since 2018 (Benie Des Dieux). Mind you, you would say Ruby was unlucky in 2019. Lossiemouth.

A year's data missing from G Elliott buts them's the breaks.  He has gone from +£46 for a £1 stake on all runners last year to -£26. Down to an 8% strike rate. 15 winners from 200 runners. 29 of his 60 runners last year won wages. At the 2018 Festival he had eight winners, six for Gigginstown. Changed times?  

N Henderson remains on a five year 10% rate. His 13 winners means he is only -£14 for a £1 stake. P Nicholls didn't score in 2022 and 2021 but had stormed back with quality G1 wins in the QM, RSA and Ryanair in the previous two Festivals. Two G1 winners last year. Over the last five seasons his five winners have come from 87 runners (6%). Now -£42 for a £1 stake.

Since 2003 W Mullins is 46 winners from 80 Festival runners of those SP 3/1 and under. Five from eight won last year, let down by Sir Gerhard, Appreciate It and Allegorie De Vassy. Eight from 14 in 2022. A lot. The disappointments were Dysart Dynamo, Gaelic Warrior, Galopin Des Champs, Klassical Dream, Dinoblue, and Concertista. Three from seven won in 2021, the costly losers were Chacun Pour Soi, Kilcruit, Billaway and Elimay. In 2020 Min 2/1 2nd fav his only winner from EIGHT. Yes, Asterion Forlonge, Benie Des Dieux, Carefully Selected, Alloha, Appreciate It, Faugheen and Billaway all favourites priced 3/1 and under and all beat.  Only 29 of his total of 94 winners have been over fences but 24 of those 29 have come in the last nine years. Has also trained Al Boum Photo and 5 different Gold Cup runner ups so it would be fair to say he knows what he is doing with the bigger obstacles. Wouldn't say he was that selective. 76 runners last year, 64 in 2022, 55 in 2021.

Do please be advised. I'm not sure that Mr Mullins cares that much for Cheltenham Festival stats.  

  • Favs have a shocking record in National Hunt Chase. No win since 2013. (Galliard Du Mesnil)
  • Horse don't win a QM having never run here before (Energumene).
  • Seven yr old and winner of Leopardstown G1 Xmas Novice never take a Supreme. (Appreciate It, 8l)
  • 'Back to back Gold Cups?' Not done since Best Mate (Al Boum Photo)
  • 'Win a Champion Bumper wearing any sort of headgear? No.' (Ferny Hollow)
  • 'Wins a County Hurdle on first handicap run? Hasn't hapened since Thumbs Up in '93.' (Saint Roi and State Man) 
  • 'Supreme winners only run a maximum of 4 or 5 times over hurdles' (Klassical Dream) 
  • 'Albert Bartlett winners have no chance in a Stayers.' (Penhill). 
  • 'Cyborgo '96 last horse to win a Stayers without a prep run' (Penhill, again). 
  • 'All the bumper winners have different sires.' Not now, thanx to Relegate. 
  • 'None of his 24 runners have finished in the first two in a Coral Cup.' (then saddled Bleu Berry, Wicklow Brave) 
  • 'Horses that have won graded hurdles have poor records in Coral Cups' (Bleu Berry),
  • 'You have no chance of winning a G1 Festival hurdle off the back off a fall.' (Nichols Canyon, Stayers) 
  • 'Horses never carry over 11st 8 lb to win a County.' (Arctic Fire)
  • 'You just don't win a G1 Festival Chase of the back of a fall.' (Black Hercules). 
  • 'Win an RSA with only two previous runs over fences?'  (Florida Pearl, Don Poli)
  • 'But surely RSA winners need to have run in the calendar year?' (also Don Poli). 
  • Sired by Montjeu and getting up hills? You can't be serious.'  (Hurricane Fly).
  • 'Supreme winners need to be out no more than 45 days beforehand and shouldn't lead the whole way?' 'Win a Supreme with a 40/1 shot?' (Ebaziyan) 
  • Not only training but riding the bumper winner. (Wither or Which 1999) 

Has also won 11 of the h'cap hurdles in the past 14 years. I do remember him being interviewed on course one day about the Montjeu stat. He politely enquired, 'what stat? I've had lots of Montjeus run up hills.' 

My Willie Mullins stat - 'If there is a rock solid roadblock stat that says the Willie Mullins runner can't win, then you seriously consider the Willie Mullins runner.' 

In total he has run 23 horses at the Festival who hadn't been seen for at least 300 days - 7 winners. Mind you, five of those were Quevega in the Mares Hurdle. Appreciate It just didn't add to that total.

So, in 2024 what stats targets shall we set for Mr Mullins to attack? Let's try these. A handicap chase perchance? (Mr Incredible?) The Pertemps? X Country? No Champion Hurdle win since 2016?

Gordon Elliott - Can also rewrite stats. 11 yr olds don't win Stayers. And they certainly don't go on to win at Aintree when touching 200/1 in running. What, a Triumph Hurdle winner could win a four miler (and two Nationals), staap now. French bred five year old takes the Pertemps? Then loves the X Country? Same horse wins back to back Pertemps? Novice rated 147 takes Grand Annual? Can't happen. 7lb claimer on a novice takes Kim Muir? No, no no. Sire joined Don Cossack to be Gordon's only open G1 Festival winners. Mind you, If Paddy Brennan hadn't tried to pass them all at the third last, no, don't start me again....

9 of David Pipe's 14 Festival winners have worn blinkers. He has won 3 G1 chases, the G1 bumper and 10 handicaps. It's become difficult. Gericault Roque 2nd in 2022 Ultima.

Henry de Bromhead has trained 18 Festival winners, six of which came in the 2021 perfect storm. Only trainer ever to win the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother and Gold Cup in the same year. Three last year.

Eight of Jonjo O'Neill's nine handicap winners have been in races over 3m+. None recent, nor likely, according to him. Dan Skelton has yet to train a Festival winner over fences.

All time Trainers Festival Wins leaderboard - W Mullins 94, N Henderson 73, P Nicholls 48, F Walwyn 40, G Elliott 37, M Pipe 34, F Winter 28, F Rimell 27, JJ ONeill 26, T Dreaper 26, V O'Brien 23, B Turnell 23. Only change here is that G Elliott passes his master.

Nicky has been leading trainer nine times but not since 2012. Willie has won the title in 10 of the last 13 Festivals, 2021 on countback from Henry.  

In 11 of the last 14 Festivals, N Henderson has had at least two G1 winners. Only Constitution Hill last year. Himself and Marie's Rock 2022. Shishkin and Chantry House 2021, 2020 was Shishkin, Epatante and Champ, Altior and Pentland Hills 2019, Altior and Buveur D'Air 2018, three the year before. Whisper (Coral Cup) was his only winner in 2014, Call the Cops (Pertemps) and Peace and Co (Triumph) 2015.  Since 2014 NH has trained 20 Festival winners, all bar William Henry PU and Champ (F second last when strolling the Dipper) won last time out.

Trainers Cold List - Examples as to the importance of Cheltenham to trainers. Watch this emotional interview with Kim Bailey, after Imperial Aura won the novice h'cap in 2020. Kim's first actual course success since 2015. Or even Philip Rothwell after McAlpine won one November. I love that. Such passion.

CURRENT COLD FESTIVAL LIST - N Twiston Davies 95 (Ballyandy), The Tizzards 66 (Native River). It doesn't take long to build up a Festival losing run. Dan Skelton was on 50 before Langer Dan, Paul Nicholls on 50 before Stage Star. And then last year both of them had another, nearly immediately. Tom George 34 (Summerville Boy), Gary Moore 26 (ah Goshen), David Pipe 26. At least they have trained Festival winners and some, many. Edwardstone's fine 2022 Arkle success brought Alan King off the list. Stood at 86 since AP's final Festival winner, Uxizandre, in 2015. Another front runner, Mr King? 10 of Mr King's 16 Festival winners have been in Grade 1s. Edwardstone was also his first favourite in 18.5 to win. Venetia Williams in 2022 was also heard to say, 'Stats, what stats?' L'Homme Presse impressed with a fine Broadway success followed up by Chambard at 40s in the Kim Muir. A helluva week for her and 80 unsuccessful attempts since Carrickboy in the 2013 Plate long forgotten. Gaultstats Rule No 2. They all will pass some day. Evan Williams also delighted that Coole Cody surprised us all. Evan was 0 from 47. Those who have yet to trouble the Festival scorers include C Longsdon 72 (Pendra 1.17 under the Doc in the 2017 Kim Muir), F O'Brien 48 (he's been close), T Vaughan 43.  Neither have Mssrs Keighley nor Richards.  Harsh on the former with the post Festival disqualification of Any Currency.

It's true that even getting one good enough to compete can be an achievement. Even ask Willie. In 2019 between Duc de Genievres winning the Arkle and Eglantine Du Seuil the Mares Novice, he built up a losing run of 33 in two days! Rebecca Curtis has a lot to thank Lisnagar Oscar for. Henry De Bromhead came off this list in 2017 with Special Tiara in the QM. Hasn't looked back since. On the 17th October 2017 Master Dancer won a Cl3 H'cap hurdle at Cheltenham trained by T Vaughan. 140 odd runners before he had any winner at Cheltenham. And every trainer present came up to shake his hand. Great stuff. He tweeted 'It. Just. Happened.' 

Fergal O'Brien in a 2020 RTV interview said that having a Cheltenham winner 'does not define you as a trainer.' Really? Might help, though. Click on to and say it doesn't matter. Name me Jamie's Festival winner before You Wear It Well? And the year? Take it to the other extreme, click on this.


Apart from Big Buck's, he has only been successful with one out of 22 favourites in the past 12 Festivals (Sanctuaire, 2010 Fred Winter). Hermes Alllen 6th last year.  Had trained a Festival winner every year since 2003 but not 2021 or 2022. Fought back last year with Stage Star (Turners), Stay Away Fay (Albert Bartlett). It helps to have a hungry jockey. In the last decade Stay Away Fay and Topofthegame his only winners in the novice races. In the last ten festivals PN has had 15 winners, the above mentioned duo, Politologue, Dodging Bullets, Frodon, Topofthegame, seven handicappers (five of which were hurdlers) and Pacha du Polder twice. As said, none were favourite. His last Festival hurdle winner before Fay was Diego du Charmil in 2016. In the Boodles since 2013, he has had two winners, eight placed from 29 runners. QM 2 winners and 2 placed from 12 runners since 2014. No placed horses in the Triumph since 2014. With no real big owner firepower at the moment (Caldwell Potter?) that has been an excellent performance. It's been suggested that Dodging Bullets won a handicap disguised as a Champion Chase but that's unfair.  All 15 of his h'cap wins have been in races at 2m5f or shorter. He’s won the Grand Annual four times but none of the other three handicap chases. With none of the handicap winners being a favourite the average price for Mr Nicholls's winners has been about 14/1.  Fair enough work from the Champion Trainer. Ginny's Destiny, Bravemansgame, Il Ridoto, Stage Star,