King of Stats: Mullins’ class act to take Champion Novice Hurdle

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Sometimes it just pays to follow the stats, and nowhere has that been more obvious than at the Punchestown Festival this week.

Firstly, we deciphered that Felix Yonger would take the Growise Champion Chase, and then we landed the big one with Don Cossack coming out on top in both the trends and the Gold Cup.

Next up it’s the Champion Novice Hurdle over 2m4f that we focus on.

Here are the stats you need to know, and which of the seven charges tick those boxes.

Age

  • Five-year-olds have won six of the last nine renewals from just 30 per cent of the runners.

o   Alpha Des Obeaux, Mckinley, Nichols Canyon, Phil’s Magic, Sempre Medici

Recent form

  • Of the last 14 winners, 11 had come out on top in their previous start.

o   Nichols Canyon, Sempre Medici

Breeding

  • You need a horse bred to be a jumper to win this with nine winners in the last decade making their debut in a National Hunt Flat race or a hurdle contest.

o   Alpha Des Obeaux, No More Heroes, Outlander, Phil’s Magic

Stamina

  • Eight of the most recent 10 victors had previously won over at least 2m4f.

o   Alpha Des Obeaux, Mckinley, Nichols Canyon, No More Heroes, Outlander

Trainer

  • Willie Mullins has dominated this race in recent times, claiming seven of the last 13 renewals.

o   Mckinley, Nichols Canyon, Outlander, Sempre Medici

A penchant for garlic

  • In what seems a recurring theme in these trends analysis for Punchestown, French bred horses have done well, winning half of the races in the last decade from 13 per cent of the runners.

o   Alpha Des Obeaux, Sempre Medici

Big race claims

  • Six of the last nine winners of the contest had finished in the first three of either the Deloitte Novice Hurdle, the Slaney Novices’ Hurdle or the Golden Cygnet Novice Hurdle that year.

o   Mckinley, Nichols Canyon, Outlander

Conclusion

There’s not a lot between the majority of these on the trends, with only No More Heroes and Phil’s Magic brushed aside with any certainty.

However, Sefton Novice Hurdle winner NICHOLS CANYON just shades it over the competitors.

Graham Wylie’s five-year-old can continue Willie Mullins fine record in the race with conditions looking bang in his favour.

A number of favourites may have fallen by the wayside this week at Punchestown, but this former flat performer looks the class act in this contest.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.