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Key Stats and Trends 

  • 3 of the last 10 favourites have won 
  • Long Run (2011) is the only 6-year-old to have won the race since 1964 
  • Cool Dawn (1998) was the last winner to be aged 10+ 
  • 7 of the last 10 were won by 2nd season chasers 
  • The handicapper has allotted an average rating of 174 to the last 5 winners 
  • The last 10 winners had all run at Cheltenham previously 

Finding the Winner 

There is no such thing as a bad Gold Cup winner. Some are better than others, but to win a Gold Cup requires a mix of ability, stamina and determination that make it impossible for the race to be won without those attributes. An average rating of 174 has been allotted to the last 5 winners of this race and that figure is one that very few will reach in their careers.

The last 10 years are a 6-4 split between the Irish and British trained horses, though it should be noted that Ireland have won 4 of the last 5. Every winner has Cheltenham experience on their CV, though the last 5 winners have made an average of 9 starts over fences, suggesting that the more lightly raced horses appear to have a slight edge. 

There are many key trials for this race, but the most significant in recent years have become the Irish Gold Cup, the Denman Chase and the Savills Chase at Tramore. The latter is effectively the “Al Boum Photo”, but the 2 formers have surpassed the more traditional King George and Cotswold Chase approach to the race.  

If we were to base our assessment of the winner purely on the stats, there are only 4 runners who have run to the 170+ level before, A Plus Tard, Minella Indo, Al Boum Photo and Allaho. That’s a solid starting point, but we can go further, as Allaho is likely to try to recapture his Ryanair crown and at 10-years-old, the stats would suggest that Al Boum Photos time has passed. The season ending injury to Monkfish has ruled out the best of last seasons Novice chasers and that leaves Henry De Bromhead with the strongest hand once again.

There have been 8 multiple winners of this race over the years and whilst MINELLA INDO may not have the public appeal of some of the greats, he produced a top-class performance last season and appeared to run his best race of this campaign when 2nd to Conflated in the Irish Gold Cup. 

Place Betting 

Whilst the winner of this race has needed to run to an extremely high mark, the horses to run into the frame have not had to reach such heights and that can offer some solid reward to each-way backers. Minella Rocco finished 2nd in 2017 returning £5.10 for the place, Anibale Fly placed twice in 2018 and 2019, returning placed returns of £9.10 and £5.70, whilst The Giant Bolster returned £14 when he chased home Synchronised in 2012. The key to all these returns was the way the horses were ridden.

None of the runners were particularly popular in the markets for win purposes and as such they were held on to, away from the relentless gallop with a view to trying to preserve their stamina as much as possible to run on past the beaten horses in the closing stages.  

Whether betting to win or each-way, previous experience of the Cheltenham course is a must for this race. Anibale Fly is the only horse to have finished in the places without having previously run at the festival. 

Exotics 

The cream normally rises to the top in this race, with only 2 of the last 10 winners returning a Win result greater than £10. With such results, it is perhaps not surprising that the exacta has not produced the enormous returns of some of the more open festival races. However, there are certain anomalies that offer some hope of a bigger return. The key to this bet has been to identify the weaknesses of those at the top of the market who may underperform and so leave the places open to less fancied horses.

In 2019, Al Boum Photo was the 3rd of the Mullins horses in the pecking order, whilst Anibale Fly (2nd) and Bristol De Mai (3rd) were hardly fancied in the market despite their Grade 1 form. The failure of the better fancied runners, Kemboy, Bellshill and Presenting Percy left the race open and returned an Exacta of £229.50 and a Trifecta of £6026.60. 

This year’s race has an open feel to it. The majority of those at the head of the market have beaten each other at some point and without a clear standout to rally behind, there is a greater possibility of another less predictable result.  

There is an alternative approach to the race and that is to focus on horses who may repeat their previous efforts in the race. In the last 5 seasons, Native River, Anibale Fly and Al Boum Photo have all finished in the frame on multiple occasions and that may point to the likes of Minella Indo and A Plus Tard being able to repeat their previous heroics. Last year’s result paid an Exacta return of £31.30 and it is not impossible to imagine that history could repeat itself. 


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