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Cheltenham Festival: The Pertemps Network Final

Nick Murphy | 19 February 2019

The Pertemps Network Final is one of the toughest races to win at the Cheltenham Festival and as such it carries a reputation as a favourite’s graveyard.

Only one favourite has won the race since Inching Closer triumphed for Jonjo O’Neill in 2003, with recent winners at 11/1, 14/1 and 25/1. It’s not all about the price, though.

There are plenty of other key trends and statistics such as age, official rating and number of prep-runs which can make a difference. You’ll want Davy Russell in the saddle too – he’s piloted each of the last three winners.

With all of that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the key data from the last decade ahead of the 2019 Pertemps Network Final.

8 of the last 10 winners had 4+ seasonal runs prior to the race

Trends show that trainers need their horse to be in good working order ahead of the Pertemps. Only Call The Cops and Holywell have triumphed with fewer than four prep-runs.

Will that change this year? A combination of unseasonably dry weather and equine flu has limited preparation for the top yards. Only time will tell if it’ll make a difference.

8 of the last 10 winners had a frame finish in the run immediately prior

It’s not always important to have won on your prep-run before the Pertemps. Only three have done that in the last decade.

But it is important to have hit the frame. Only two-time winner Buena Vista has managed to triumph without finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in the run immediately prior to the race.

7 of the last 10 winners were English-trained

English-trained winners have dominated the Pertemps in the last decade. Seven of the last 10 have been trained in England. That trend is showing signs of reversing, though.

Irish trainers have claimed each of the last three renewals, with Mall Dini (Pat Kelly), Presenting Percy (Kelly) and Delta Work (Gordon Elliott) all triumphing.

Noel Fehily on Our Kaempfer clears a jump in the Pertemps Network Final on day three, St Patrick's Thursday, of the Cheltenham Festival

Noel Fehily on Our Kaempfer clears a jump in the Pertemps Network Final on day three, St Patrick’s Thursday, of the Cheltenham Festival on March 17, 2016

7 of the last 10 winners went off at 10/1 or greater

The Pertemps is the perfect melting pot for long-odds winners.

Not only does the 3m distance require a supreme staying performance – 19 of the last 27 winners have won over the trip – it also needs a bit of luck.

Fields of 20-25 means there’s plenty of opportunity to make mistakes, leading to it becoming a favourite’s graveyard. Only Fingal Bay (2014) has justified favouritism in the last 10 years.

6 of the last 10 winners were aged 6 to 8 years old

It’s unusual for a winner of the Pertemps to be too green or too old. Delta Work’s success in 2018 was the first by a five-year-old since Pragada in 1988.

Buena Vista’s win in 2011 was the first by a horse aged 10 or over since Willie Wumpkins in 1981.

Six, seven or eight is the golden age in the Pertemps, with three of the last four and four of the last half-dozen winners doing so at the age of six.

5 of the last 10 winners had an OR between 138 and 142

A high handicap mark isn’t necessarily a disadvantage in the Pertemps. But we’ve identified a golden range between 138 and 142 which has produced six of the last 10 winners.

Drill down further and two of the last three winners have been allotted 138 or 139, with the 146-rated Presenting Percy the only exception in 2017.

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