Key trends to look out for in the Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup. The pinnacle of the National Hunt racing season. The ultimate prize for every owner, trainer and jockey in the sport. The making of legendary horses like Arkle, Golden Miller and Best Mate. But it’s also a race that every punter wants to win as well. There is a certain thrill about picking a winner at the Festival, but to back the Gold Cup champion is on a whole different scale.
So, if you want to check the horse racing results on the afternoon of March 18th and find that you’ve backed the winner of jump racing’s blue riband contest, then there are some key stats and trends you need to consider when making your selection. Not to worry though, because we going to take a look at some of the most important ones below. Read on to find out more!
When it comes to the Gold Cup, age is more than just a number. In fact, 11 of the last 12 winners have been between seven and nine years old — with six-year-old Long Run the only horse to buck that trend in 2011.
If you want to narrow that down a bit further, nine of the last 12 have been either eight or nine, with eight-year-olds looking the most prominent in recent years — winning three of the last four renewals. Things are, therefore, not looking good for Al Boum Photo (10), while favourites A Plus Tard and Galvin are the prime age.
In what isn’t such good news for A Plus Tard, Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore though, only four of the last 12 favourites have actually gone on to win the race! Of course, it was the Irish trainer’s Minella Indo who upset the odds last year, winning from 9/1.
However, while the Gold Cup doesn’t often go in the favour of the market leader, try not to look beyond double-figure odds — as only Al Boum Photo (12/1) in 2019 and Lord Windermere (20/1) in 2014 have won from outsider single figures.
Their last race
Make sure you ask yourself: ‘Did they win their last race?’ before making your selection! Why? Because nine of the last 12 winners won on their last outing before the Gold Cup — which, you guessed it, doesn’t apply toA Plus Tard! Of course, the eight-year-old was beaten by none other than Galvin in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown, which just so happens to be the Gordon Elliott-trained horse’s last race as well!
Other things to consider
- All of the last 12 winners had at least one run of Cheltenham, half of which had a victory at Prestbury Park already under their belt.
- All but one of the last 12 winners had at least two runs over three miles or more, and at least one victory over the distance.
- 10 of the last 12 winners had at least seven cracks at fences, with all of them boasting at least two previous chase victories and 11 out of 12 having at least three.
- Nine out of 12 winners had at least two runs earlier in the season, with 10 out of 12 securing at least one victory.
When you put all of these factors into effect when looking at the racecard, it’s hard to look beyond Galvin. At eight, he is the perfect age, his odds at a general 7/2 align with the trends, he won his last race, he’s ran at Cheltenham four times and won in both of his last appearances in the Cotswolds, he’s competed in 12 chases and won seven and he’s had three races this season — winning two.