The Triumph – A Champion Hurdle Trial?

It’s often noted that the previous season’s top juvenile hurdlers fail to make the transition into open company, despite having been hugely impressive in their juvenile year. This year, we’re faced with such a dilemma yet again – Defi Du Seuil looked like a wonderful horse and an exciting prospect last season, winning both the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Anniversary Hurdle at Aintree. However, this season he has failed to impress in either of his two starts, finishing 4th of 5 runners at Ascot and 7th of 8 at Leopardstown. Should we simply write off the previous season’s juveniles when considering a Champion Hurdle, or are they were keeping on side?

I’ve taken a look at all of the previous season’s Triumph Hurdle runners to run in the following season’s Champion Hurdle. Here is the list, along with a few conclusions:

2017 Champion Hurdle / 2016 Triumph

Horse Triumph Placing Champion Odds Champion Placing
Footpad 3rd 14/1 4th
Sceau Royal 12th 25/1 6th

2016 Champion Hurdle / 2015 Triumph

Horse Triumph Placing Champion Odds Champion Placing
Peace And Co 1st 16/1 PU
Top Notch 2nd 14/1 5th
Hargam 3rd 16/1 10th

2015 Champion Hurdle / 2014 Triumph

None

2014 Champion Hurdle / 2013 Triumph

Horse Triumph Placing Champion Odds Champion Placing
Our Conor 1st 5/1 F

2013 Champion Hurdle / 2012 Triumph

Horse Triumph Placing Champion Odds Champion Placing
Countrywide Flame 1st 16/1 3rd
Balder Succes F 100/1 UR

2012 Champion Hurdle / 2011 Triumph

Horse Triumph Placing Champion Odds Champion Placing
Zarkandar 1st 9/1 5th
Brampour 9th 50/1 7th

2011 Champion Hurdle / 2010 Triumph

None

2010 Champion Hurdle / 2009 Triumph

Horse Triumph Placing Champion Odds Champion Placing
Zaynar 1st 15/2 3rd
Starluck 4th 14/1 5th
Jumbo Rio 9th 50/1 8th

2009 Champion Hurdle / 2008 Triumph

Horse Triumph Placing Champion Odds Champion Placing
Celestial Halo 1st 17/2 2nd
Won In The Dark 3rd 33/1 10th

2008 Champion Hurdle / 2007 Triumph

Horse Triumph Placing Champion Odds Champion Placing
Katchit 1st 10/1 1st
Punjabi 4th 25/1 3rd

Form of Triumph Winner

12353FP – 1 win and 3 places from 7 runners.

This actually looks better when you break it down:

  • 1st at 10/1
  • 2nd at 17/2
  • 3rd at 15/2
  • 5th at 9/1
  • 3rd at 16/1
  • Fell at 5/1
  • Pulled up at 16/1

If anything, the Triumph winners have performed fairly consistently in the Champion Hurdle – they generally haven’t managed to have quite enough to win the big race the following year, but have done a good job at making the frame at decent prices.

The previous year’s Triumph winners have taken up 6% of the total field in the last 10 years but have managed to make up 13% of the total places on offer. This record may be even better if Our Conor, the shortest-priced Triumph winner in a Champion Hurdle in the last 10 years, had not tragically taken a fatal fall in the early stages of the races, missing out on a chance to show his true talent.

While the record of 5yo’s in winning the Champion Hurdle is famously poor, this record excluding Triumph winners is simply dire. In the last 10 years, 5yo’s (excluding the previous year’s Triumph Hurdle winner) took up 18% of the field but only 7% of the total places, with 2 places filled.

Gold Cup – Never This Century

Courtesy of Gaultstats.com, there are a list of 4 things that have not happened this century in a Gold Cup… this is a closer look at the stats behind them.

1)    No Horse Has Won the Gold Cup Having Been Beaten Favourite Last Time Out

The last horse to win the Gold Cup having been a beaten favourite on their last start was Cool Dawn back in 1998. Since the turn of the century, 37 have tried and none have succeeded.

Year Runners Wins W% Places P% W/P W/P%
2017 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2016 1 0 0% 1 100% 1 100%
2015 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2012 3 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2011 4 0 0% 2 50% 2 50%
2010 2 0 0% 1 50% 1 50%
2009 3 0 0% 1 33% 1 33%
2007 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2006 4 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2005 6 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2004 3 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2003 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2002 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2000 1 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%

37 isn’t an absolutely massive number and does include a number of outsiders. However, I wanted to have a look at how many of these horses were relatively well fancied for the race. 13 of these horses had starting prices of 12/1 or shorter, and they are listed below:

Year Horse Odds Finishing Position
2017 Djakadam 3/1 4th
2016 Djakadam 9/2 2nd
2011 Kauto Star 5/1 3rd
2011 Denman 8/1 2nd
2010 Denman 4/1 2nd
2009 Denman 7/1 2nd
2005 Celestial Gold 9/2 7th
2005 Strong Flow 5/1 6th
2005 Beef Or Salmon 5/1 PU
2004 Keen Leader 10/1 6th
2004 Therealbandit 15/2 7th
2003 Hussard Collonges 8/1 PU
2002 Florida Pearl 10/1 11th

5 places from 13 horses is a worse place rate (38%) when compared to all horses running in the Gold Cup at odds of 12/1 or less (a 45% place rate from 51 runners in the last 10 years).

Overall, this has to be considered a negative for the Gold Cup. These horses also performed worse than would be expected of them in terms of the places they filled – they filled 10% of the total places on offer from 16% of the total field.

2)    No Horse Aged 10 Years or Older Has Won the Gold Cup

Again, the las horse to buck this trend was Cool Dawn in 1998, a rather untypical winner at 25/1. Since the turn of the century, however, 67 horses have run in the Gold Cup at an age older than 9, and none have managed to win. Those at short prices are listed below:

Year Horse Odds Position
2000 See More Business 9/4 4th
2002 Looks Like Trouble 9/2 13th
2006 Beef Or Salmon 4/1 11th
2010 Denman 4/1 2nd
2010 Kauto Star 8/11 Fell
2011 Imperial Commander 4/1 PU
2011 Kauto Star 5/1 3rd
2012 Kauto Star 3/1 PU
2016 Cue Card 5/2 Fell
2017 Cue Card 9/2 Fell

There are some memorable and surprise losses included in the list, with Kauto Star and Denman featuring again, along with some other veterans such as Beef Or Salmon and more recent stars such as Cue Card.

It’s fair to say that these horses went into the race with solid chances and disappointed. When we look at all 67 older Gold Cup runners since the turn of the century, we see a similarly unimpressive result:

Runners Wins W% Places P% W/P W/P%
67 0 0% 7 10% 7 10%

7 places from 67 runners is hardly too promising when we consider that these horses made up 28% of the total field but managed to fill just 15% of the places. It looks like horses aged older than 9 are worth avoiding in the Gold Cup.

3)    No Horse Has Won the Gold Cup for the First Time Having Previously Been Beaten in the Race

For this statistic, we’re discounting horses which ran in the Gold Cup and won it on their first run before returning to the race again. If we look at just runs this century which were horse’s 2nd/3rd/4th/5th Gold Cup starts (no horse has run in it this century for a sixth time), we see the following figures:

Runs Wins W% Places P% W/P W/P%
68 0 0% 9 13% 9 13%

That’s no wins from 68 attempts, a startlingly low figure. The place record may not look terrible, but in terms of filling the places, these horses performed considerably worse than have been expected of them (19% of the total places from 29% of the total field). Therefore, it’s best to steer clear of horses which have previously been beaten in the race.

Full details of these horses can be seen here.

4)    No Horse Has Won the Gold Cup Having Raced on Heavy Ground That Season

This is a very difficult one to find the correct stat for, with a 0/79 strike rate commonly cited. Taking into account only runs in the UK or Ireland, I came up with the following stats:

Runners Wins W% Places P% W/P W/P%
70 0 0 13 19% 13 19%

The vast majority of these were outsiders with big starting prices, but 0 wins from 70 runners is still fairly worrying, particularly considering that we’re talking about almost a third of the total Gold Cup field since the turn of the century. The place record isn’t nearly as bad (a 19% strike rate with these horses filling 27% of the total places on offer from 30% of the total field) which would make me less worried about this stat. However, we will be wary of horses which ran on heavy this season.

Nicky Henderson in the Supreme

It is always worth noting Nicky Henderson’s strong record in the Supreme:

Year Runners Wins Places W/P W/P%
2017 2 0 1 1 50%
2016 2 1 1 2 100%
2015 1 0 0 0 0%
2014 2 0 2 2 100%
2013 2 0 1 1 50%
2012 2 0 1 1 50%
2011 3 0 2 2 67%
2010 2 0 0 0 0%
2009 1 0 0 0 0%
2008 3 0 1 1 33%
2007 1 0 1 1 100%
2004 2 0 1 1 50%
2003 1 0 1 1 100%

This is something which will be looked into in greater detail between now and the festival as it is quite significant. Ahead of the 2016 festival I viewed his record as being one of a trainer who always just comes up short and saw it as a negative for Altior. Altior’s win caused me to reconsider this view and I noticed just how strong Henderson’s win/place record is. Winners may be fairly rare but he has a seriously consistent strike rate in terms of making the frame – 9 of his 14 runners since 2011 managed to do so, which is a 64% W/P rate from a decent sample size.

The actual form in that time reads 032/92/82/32/4/31/63. The horses to finish 10th, 9th, 8th and 6th had starting prices of 22/1, 12/1, 18/1 and 16/1 respectively.

This year, Henderson is represented by just one horse in the race, Claimantakinforgan.

At the time of writing, Claimantakinforgan can be backed at odds of 16/1 with William Hill. However, William Hill are the only bookmaker offering double winnings in cash on all bets in the race.

If you open an account with William Hill using this link, you’ll receive €30/£30 of free bets once you place your first bet of €10/£10 or more. If you’re interested, take a look at our Free Bets page to find out how you could win some cash prizes from The Parade Ring as well as picking up your free bets. 

The Cheltenham Entries Schedule

From early January, those of us waiting in eager anticipation for the Cheltenham Festival to begin can watch the ante post markets begin to change with entries being made for each of the 28 races.

A number of entries are made each week, beginning with the open grade 1 chases, then the open grade 1 hurdles, then novice chases, novice hurdles, handicaps and other races. Here is a list of the entries made on each date:

January 9th, 2018

  • Queen Mother Champion Chase
  • Ryanair Chase
  • Gold Cup

January 16th, 2018

  • Champion Hurdle
  • Mares Hurdle
  • Stayers Hurdle

January 23rd, 2018

  • Arkle Chase
  • National Hunt Chase
  • RSA Chase
  • JLT Novices Chase

January 30th, 2018

  • Supreme Novices Hurdle
  • Ballymore Novices Hurdle
  • Triumph Hurdle
  • Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

February 20th, 2018

  • Ultima Handicap Chase
  • Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase
  • Coral Cup
  • Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
  • Pertemps Network Final
  • Festival Plate
  • Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase
  • County Hurdle
  • Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
  • Grand Annual

February 27th, 2018

  • Cross Country Chase
  • Champion Bumper
  • Mares Novices Hurdle
  • Foxhunter Chase

Grand National Entries Released

There was a quick distraction from the Cheltenham Festival hype today, with entries released for the greatest steeplechase of all, the Aintree Grand National.

105 horses have been entered, including ante-post favourite Blaklion, who finished 4th in the race last year and won the Becher Chase in December.

40 Irish horses have been entered, with 10 from Irish Champion trainer Willie Mullins. Gigginstown, meanwhile, have entered 11 horses but have declared that they “won’t run anything unfairly handicapped”.

The weights will be released at a special event in London on Tuesday, February 13th. The full list of entered horses is below:

A Genie In Abottle
Abolitionist
Acapella Bourgeois
Alfie Spinner
Alpha Des Obeaux
American
Anibale Fly
Arbre De Vie
As De Mee
Baie Des Iles
Ballyalton
Beeves
Bellshill
Blaklion
Bless The Wings
Bonny Kate
Braqueur D’Or
Bravissimo
Bristol De Mai
Buywise
Captain Redbeard
Carlingford Lough
Carole’s Destrier
Cause Of Causes
Chase The Spud
Childrens List
Cogry
Dancing Shadow
Definitly Red
Delusionofgrandeur
Double Ross
Edwulf
Final Nudge
Flying Angel
Gas Line Boy
General Principle
Go Conquer
Gold Present
Goodtoknow
Henri Parry Morgan
Houblon Des Obeaux
I Just Know
Knock House
Krackatoa King
Long House Hall
Lord Windermere
Maggio
Mala Beach
Milansbar
Minella Daddy
Minella Rocco
Missed Approach
Morning Assembly
Mysteree
Noble Endeavor
O O Seven
Out Sam
Outlander
Pairofbrowneyes
Pendra
Perfect Candidate
Phil’s Magic
Pleasant Company
Polidam
Poormans Hill
Rathvinden
Raz De Maree
Regal Encore
Relentless Dreamer
Road To Riches
Rock The Kasbah
Rogue Angel
Saint Are
Sametegal
Seeyouatmidnight
Shantou Flyer
Silsol
Sir Mangan
Sizing Codelco
Splash Of Ginge
Sub Lieutenant
Tenor Nivernais
The Dutchman
The Last Samuri
The Young Master
Thebarrowman
Third Intention
Three Faces West
Thunder And Roses
Tiger Roll
Total Recall
Traffic Fluide
Ucello Conti
Valseur Lido
Vic De Touzaine
Vicente
Vieux Lion Rouge
Vieux Morvan
Vintage Clouds
Virgilio
Vyta Du Roc
Walk In The Mill
Warriors Tale
Wild West Wind
Wounded Warrior