The Irish rival to the King George is the biggest race at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival but only three of the last fifteen winners have gone on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup of the same season. From 2006-2013 a U.K raider won seven of the eight running’s of the race but the last three have stayed at home. Let’s drill down into the statistics to see if trends can help pinpoint the 2017 winner.
- Shorter Prices Prevail – Outlander last year is the biggest priced winner of the last fifteen years at 11/1. The other fourteen have been 8/1 or shorter.
- Recent Outing – Fourteen of the last fifteen winners had run within six weeks of this contest.
- Solid Form Last Time – Finishing no worse than third last time out was the hallmark of fourteen of the last fifteen winners, but only five of the fifteen were a last time winner.
- Irish Born and Bred – Thirteen of the last fifteen winners were bred in Ireland.
- Proven Stamina – Eleven winners from the last fifteen years had already won over three miles over fences.
- Younger Legs Prevail – Ten of the last fifteen winners were either seven or eight.
At present there doesn’t look like there will be more than four horses who fit the first trend of being 8/1 or shorter. Those that do are Sizing John, Yorkhill, Djakadam and Outlander. All four of them were in the first three last time out, though Sizing John being a winner does mean he has a recent trend that he needs to overcome with just 5/15 winners having been successful the time before. He also falls down on the trend of winners being Irish bred while Djakadam was bred in France.
Yorkhill who has not been seen this season is well adrift of the run within six weeks trend while his issues with the trends continues with his stamina yet to be proven, though he is related to enough three mile chaser to think that he won’t have a problem with this distance. Outlander who was the winner of the contest in 2016 is older than a typical winner of this race, while the horse he beat in the JNwine last time, Road To Respect, is younger than a typical winner of this contest despite him looking to be the potential young improver.
It’s a difficult race to sum up on the trends with nothing looking rock solid, although Djakadam fits five of the six most important that we have outlines above. His stamina for three miles despite a win over the trip has not always looked his strong suit and with his defeat in the John Durkan to Sizing John, this looks a tough task. Sizing John and Yorkhill are clearly the right pair at the top of the market and while neither are strong on the trends, they do appear to be the most likely pair to fight out the finish.