Will the ‘curse’ of Montjeu strike Hurricane Fly?

I’ve read numerous comments along the lines of “You can forget Hurricane Fly for the Champion Hurdle, no Montjeu has ever won at Cheltenham”

The statement is true.  No horse sired by Montjeu has won at the track.  But as with many ‘lazy’ stats, things look different when you dig a bit deeper.

Only 26 of Montjeu’s stock have run at Cheltenham.  Among them they’ve amassed 44 runs there.

15 of the 26 have run at the Festival, contesting 21 races.

Festival race record of Montjeu stock

Pace Shot finished 4th of 17 to Detroit City in The Triumph, beaten under 10 lengths. He was 100/1 SP (500 on Betfair) so arguably ‘outran’ his price.

Blue Bajan was 6th of 22 to Cap Cee Bee in The Supreme, beaten under 16 lengths; his form comment: “kept on approaching last and stayed on run-in but no chance with leaders”  His relevant SP and Betfair SP – 33/38

Won in The Dark was 3rd of 14 to Celestial Halo in The Triumph, beaten under 5 lengths: “stayed on to chase leading duo 2 out, kept on but no impression soon after”  SPs 16/27

Mon Michel was 8th of 22 in The County; he started at just 6/1 and was beaten under 13 lengths

Shortest was Alexander Severus who was 5/2 fav when finishing 4th in the Fred Winter (never raced again): “led going well after 2 out, ridden last, headed soon after and soon no extra”

Green Mile was 5th of 22, beaten 8 lengths, in The Pertemps; SPs: 8/10.5

Gloucester‘s best performance from three runs at the Festival was 6th of 28 in The County. SPs 50/95

Noble Prince finished a head in front of Gloucester that day; SPs: 11/14

It seems to me that a number of them ‘outran their price’, though a couple did worse than expected based on the market.

Hurricane Fly’s Champion Hurdle chances

I backed Hurricane Fly earlier in the season for the Champion.  As I mention in my main Champion Hurdle Article, after seeing the way he finished last time out, I now suspect he will  not ‘get up the hill’ if the race is run at its usual hot pace.  But I’d never argue that this is because he is by Montjeu – there is simply no evidence for it.

I suspect what will scupper HF’s chances in the big one is that his killer acceleration can’t be sustained long enough on the climb to the post.  Many more ‘grinders’ win Champion Hurdles than turn-of-foot specialists.

I hope I’m wrong so I can collect on him and the Montjeu moaners can be silenced.

Montjeu’s record

Montjeu’s progeny have only a slightly better record on the flat than over jumps:

330 wins from 2571 flat races (13%)

153 wins over jumps, from 1235 races (12%)

He’s sired 45 Group winners and 39 Listed winners.  He himself won over £2.2m in total prize money.  Among his top class victories were an Arc on heavy ground and a King George on good to firm.

So, ignore the Montjeu naysayers, but don’t be surprised if Hurricane Fly doesn’t win at The Festival

Good luck and thanks for looking in.  You can follow me on twitter, if you care to, by clicking on the Twitter Updates section on the right.  Or click to join the mailing list and get new posts as they come in.


5 thoughts on “Will the ‘curse’ of Montjeu strike Hurricane Fly?

  1. I expect the article or stats in question is the one in Paul Jones’ Cheltenham book?

    Have you read it?

    The article is anything but ‘moaning’ about Montjeu progeny it is simply relaying the facts.

    As far as I’m aware neither of the people in question (Paul & Ben) have ever stated that HF can’t win the Champ Hurdle because he is sired by Montjeu they have only ever said (as far as I can see from Twitter comments) that it is a negative stat that the horse has to overcome.

    The book also states that is the reason the stat is 0/44 because the progeny that have tried have simply not been good enough or is there something else stopping them.

    I do hope this blog does not turn into one that nitpicks at others and rather it tries to rely on its own good work.


    1. Hello David,

      I haven’t seen Paul’s book yet. He’s a friend of mine and a very skilful judge. I respect and like him a lot.

      The naysayers I refer to are actually on the Betfair forum where I used to do all my posting.

      I hope this makes you feel more comfortable about coming back and reading some more – I do appreciate the comment and the chance to set the record straight.


  2. I think a proper fast Champion Hurdle pace will be a positive for Hurricane Fly. Assuming it stalks AP on Binocular, who should be at his very best on the Tuesday, it’s just a matter of pulling the trigger after the last and letting his speed and class do the rest.
    Who actually pulls that trigger is of some concern but I have little doubt that it will be Ruby who takes the ride on the day
    Nothing against Townend who’s been superb, especially on this horse but the option of Ruby Walsh is, as they might say in Texas, a ‘no brainer’.

    1. I think you’re correct in that he will be held up till after the last, but the hill has blunted the acceleration of more than one speedster in a fast run race. Much will depend on if the likes of Overturn go to post – and an in-form Overturn at that. If it is a medium-paced race for a change, then HF would have every chance of deploying his turn of foot where it matters.

      As for Townend, I’d expect he will lose the ride, although I don’t believe he should.

  3. Excellent analysis of Montjeu stock Joe as I tend not to look too much into sires relating to the NH code. People have a right to their opinion of course but breaking the stats down as you have done brings realism to the table. Flat racing is a different ball game, particularly with sprinters/milers in my book. Keep up the great work.

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