• Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup

     

    THIS CENTURY

    No winner was beaten favourite last time out

    No winner ran that season on officially heavy ground

    None aged 10 years or over, including four favourites

    Native River the only first time winner, having been beaten in it before

    No winner with a chase run over only 2 miles that season.

    Only Native River 2018 wore any sort of headgear

    Only two had previously raced over further than the GC trip

    Only two with more than 12 previous chase starts, none more than 20.

    Only two failed to finish 1st or 2nd last time out

    All had already won a G1 chase

    All sent chasing immediately after novice hurdle campaign

    Only two winners bigger than 10/1

     

    No horse ever placed in 4 Festival G1s to then first one

     

    Since Arkle only Best Mate has won three. Both started third win at odds on .

     

    12 of the last 14 were BHA rated 166+ before their win

    12 of last 13 not more than three chase runs that season

    No King George/GC double since 2011

    No trainer has ever won Ch Hurdle, QM, and GC in the same year. Step up, Mr H de Bromhead.

    Summary

    13 Jan - 41 entries

     

    Race Distance - 3 miles and abt two and a half furlongs. Will be aged between 7 and 9. Doesn't need to have run in the Newbury Hennessy, King George or Lexus Chases. The Denman Chase is currently the best 'prep' race. Will have finished placed at a previous Festival or in a G1 this season or will be at least a course winner. Must have run at previous Festival unless a novice. No worse than 2nd last time out. Has not ran on officially heavy ground this season. At least 31 days off before coming here. No more than three previous runs this season. Has won this season or won a G1 Chase at the 2020 Festival. Unlikely to have been beaten in a previous Gold Cup. Has had between 5 and 12 times runs over fences. Is a previous Grade 1 Chase winner or placed in this before. Not blinkered. Something 16/1 or bigger to be placed. Winner BHA rated 166+. Time to be about 6 mins 40. Last prep run was over 3 miles or at Tramore. Hasn't raced over more than the GC trip unless won a Welsh National. Not F, U, PU this season. Second season chasers outperform their numbers. Not beaten favourite last time out. Not easy to win three of these in a row. But remember the 'Willie Mullins doesn't give a monkeys about stats' stat.

  • Honours Board

    Year |||Form||| Winner |||Age||| OR||| SP||| Trainer||| Jockey||| Runners||| Last Race (No of days)

    2020||| 1||| Al Boum Photo |||8||| 175||| 100/30F||| W Mullins(IRE)||| P Townend |||16||| 1st G3 Tramore Ch 2m 5f (72)

    2019||| 1 |||Al Boum Photo||| 7||| 164||| 12/1||| W Mullins(IRE)||| P Townend |||16 |||1st Lstd Tramore Ch 2m 5f (73)

    2018 |||1||| Native River||| 8||| 166||| 5/1||| C Tizzard||| R Johnson |||15 |||1st Newbury G2 Denman Ch (34)

    2017 |||3211 |||Sizing John||| 7||| 167||| 7/1 |||J Harrington(IRE)||| R Power||| 13 |||1st G1 Leop Irish Gold Cup (33)

    2016 |||11F1||| Don Cossack||| 9||| 175||| 9/4F |||G Elliott(IRE) |||B Cooper |||9 |||1st G2 Thurles Kinloch Brae Ch 2m 4f (64)

    2015 |||111||| Coneygree |||8 |||166||| 7/1||| M Bradstock||| N de Boinville |||16 |||1st G2 Newbury Denman Ch (34)

    2014||| 876||| Lord Windermere||| 8 |||152||| 20/1||| J Culloty(IRE) |||D Russell |||13 |||6th Leop Irish Gold Cup (33)

    2013 |||1||| Bobs Worth |||8||| 171 |||11/4F||| N Henderson||| B Geraghty |||9||| 1st Newbury Hennessey H'cap Ch (104)

    2012 |||731 |||Synchronised||| 9 |||179||| 8/1||| JJ O'Neill |||AP McCoy||| 14||| 1st G1 Leop Lexus Ch (79)

    2011||| 31 |||Long Run |||6 |||179||| 7/2F||| N Henderson||| Mr S Waley-Cohen||| 13 |||1st G1 Kempton King George (62)

    Evidence

    First of all, I apologise for offering an opinion. It's contrary to site policy. Mitigation plea as follows.

     

    Cheltenham, December 2018. Caspian Caviar day. Storm Frieda buffeted me all day, and there's plenty of me to buffet. The weather was horrendous. I was kept outside by so-called friends as I had no ticket for that lovely warm Annual Members Bar. And I'm in my sixties. After Frodon and Bryony won (160s rated again), I waited at the bottom of the horse walkway, foundered by the freezing gales and the sleet. Everyone else had swiftly ran for cover from the elements. It would never happen in March at that spot but I'm practically on my own. As Frodon and Bryony come by, I say, daftly, 'Well done Bryony, he's a machine.' She's covered in mud from head to foot. Turns to me, gives me that lovely smile, says 'thank you.' Slaps him on the neck, says 'Do you hear that, you're a machine.' Well, to hell with cash and that warm Members bar. She'll never mind me, but such manners.

     

    Since February 2017, Frodon has run 21 times, winning eight races, none of which had a 1st prize of less than £30k. Two G1s, three G2s and a G3. Four of the eight wins were on the New Course. A Cotswold Chase oustaying the then current Welsh National winner. On none of the 21 races did he start favourite. No one likes him or Bryony, no one ever tips him (apart from Segal Antepost for the KG but even he forsook him on the day), his trainer doesn't even rate him. PN forever saying 'he's got a mountain to climb.' 9th February - Royal Pagaille is half the price of the KG winner. Has never seen a G1. Kemboy and Melon don't run. The Storyteller wasn't even entered. Native River is 11yrs old and needs a swamp. Santini might be very slow. Lostintranslation seems lost. It would also seem that in last year's RSA, Champ may have caught two horses who just don't stay three miles over fences.

     

    And after all of that, the KG winner drifts to 18s on Betfair. Go Bryony, go Frodon.

     

    HERE WE GO - The three-time winners. Only Golden Miller (5 wins), Cottage Rake, Arkle and Best Mate. When they were chasing their third GC they were sent off at 6/5, 5/6, 1/10 and 8/11 respectively. Not even Kauto Star could do it. On his third attempt in 2010, he was 8/11 and a pushed along 5th when falling 4 out. Didn't stop him winning a 5th King George.

     

    Remember, we said it last year. Back to back GCs - Not even Kauto Star could do it. Only 7 horses ever have won back to back Gold Cups, Easter Hero, Golden Miller, Cottage Rake, Arkle, L'Escargot 1971, Best Mate 2003 and Al Boum Photo.

     

    SANTINI - Stand to be corrected but I can't find a horse who finished second or placed in three Festival G1s and then win one on their fourth attempt (Albert Bartlett, RSA, GC).

     

    THOSE THAT HAVE TRIED - Melon's current Festival record is 2222, all in G1s. He may yet win one. Smad Place (Festivals 2011-17) G1 placed in three consecutive Festivals but never finished better than 8th afterwards. Should have won more races, especially if had been allowed to front run. Somersby (Festivals 2009-17) ran 8 times in March getting placed in 4 G1s without winning, a Supreme, an Arkle and later on, 2 QMs. Some horse. Fair Along (Festivals 2006-13) in 2007 even ran down the field in the County Hurdle three days after finishing a gallant 2nd to My Way de Solzen in the Arkle. The Hobbs machine achieved placings of 223 in G1s in three consecutive Festivals but his best finish after that was only 4th in an Ultima. Wouldn't you loved to have owned him?

     

    This stat possibly a little obtuse if you recall Adam Kondrat RIP finishing 3rd, 4th, 2nd then won a GC on The Fellow in 1994. Some said Adam may not have been the best around Cheltenham. Politologue has gone 20th/4th/4th/2nd before winning the QM on his fifth Festival visit. His three runs 2017-19 were in G1s having originally started in the Coral Cup. In mainly handicaps, Uncle Ernie went 2243 and then won a Grand Annual. Similarly The Package P243, then succeeded in a Kim Muir. Sea Pigeon went 42211 in Champion Hurdles, his last spectacular win being in 1980. (As an aside, Discorama's current record is 223, two of which were in handicaps).

     

    AGE - Long Run in 2011 as a 6yr old, Cool Dawn ’98 and Cool Ground ’93, both as 10 yr olds are only winners since Desert Orchid '89 to have not been aged 7, 8 or 9 years. No horse older than 10 has won this since What A Myth ’69. In the last 12yrs, of those 10 yrs or older to have run, On His Own, Denman (twice), Kauto Star, Mon Mome, Hedgehunter ’06 and See More Business '02 all placed. Four ran over the past three years, all unplaced. None finished in the first three in the last five years or in the first four in 2015. First three home last year all 8 yrs, in 2019 it was 7, 9 and 8 respectively. In 2018 it was 8, 9 and 8. In 2017 all placed were seven yr olds. Unplaced 10 yr olds have included Thistlecrack at 12/1 in 2019, 2016 Cue Card 5/2 fell three out (it's not yet a faint memory. No, Paddy, no, don't go to pass there, not the third last. RP write up 'travelling well'). Cue Card again fell 2017, Kauto 3/1 pu behind Synchronised, Kauto 8/11 and fell in 2010, See More Business 9/4 fav in '00, Looks Like Trouble 9/2 fav '02, Commanche Court 8/1 '03, Grey Abbey 15/2 '05, Beef or Salmon 4/1 fav in '06. Both Cool Dawn and Cool Ground mentioned above were 25/1 outsiders.

     

    10 yrs and older possibles for 2021 may include Native River, Waiting Patiently, Bristol de Mai, Presenting Percy, Lakeview Lad, Acapella Bourgeois. No six year olds entered for 2021.
     

    Mac Vidi 1980 oldest ever placed horse at 15 yrs of age.

     

    Apart from Don Cossack (18), Kauto (20) no other winner in past 20 years had more than 12 chases before GC win (Al Boum Photo 7 first time then 10 last year, Native River 12, Sizing John 9, Coneygree, a novice with 3, Lord Windermere 9, Bobs Worth only 5, Long Run had 9). To praise Paul Nicholls, See More Business was placed at 40/1 as a 12 yr old (his 26th chase). The Giant Bolster placed again in 2014 on his 20th Chase. Going back from 2013, the previous 14 before that had between 6 and 12 runs over fences before winning. The Fellow ’94, 28th run over fences but only eleven in GB (might have won more with a pilot other than Monsieur Kondrat, some say). Even Best Mate’s third success was only his 13th chase Frodon 30, Lake View lad 16, Bristol De Mai 27.

     

    BETTING - 9 of the last 18 favourites have won including two of the last seven. (First run in this format in 1924, 31 favourites have won this from 92 runnings - pointless but wonderful information). Before Best Mate’s second win in 2003, 7 of previous 11 favourites had been 5/2 and under and all of those were beaten. Even worse before Best Mate’s two successes as winning favourite, the last 11 favourites who started 7/4 and under were all beaten. Al Boum Photo 100/30 fav last year, Presenting Percy 100/30 fav in 2019, finished 8th and lame.

     

    ANOTHER OUTSIDER DUE? - Happened in 2019. Al Boum Photo 6th fav at 12/1. Placed horses 22/1 and 18/1. Al Boum joined Lord Windermere at 20s and Sizing John (2017 4th fav at 7/1) as the only winners going back to See More Business (16s 1999) who weren't from first three in the market. Longest priced of all those others winners - Synchronised 8/1 co third favourite from 14s. He was probably only third favourite because of Pricewise that morning. In the 2018 race it was Native River from Might Bite, two of the market front three, the whole way after Our Duke @ 9/2 was pulled up. In 2016 the first four in the market were the only ones ever involved, if Don Poli only distantly. I work as an on-course clerk. no stats to prove it, but these things go round.

     

    BIG PRICED PLACERS - Having said all that Annibale Fly 33s and 22s, Bristol De Mai 18s ensures that there is every chance that a 'fat' one will get placed. Not last year. Minella Rocco 18s in 2017. Before the 2014's placepot busting 1-2-3 of Lord Windermere/On His Own/The Giant Bolster, the last 21 Gold Cups have had those starting 16/1 or bigger producing 23 top three finishes in total. That makes it now three wins, ten runners up and ten thirds in last 21 runnings. The Giant Bolster 50/1 runner up 2012, Mon Mome 50/1 third 2010.

     

    STAYERS - Lots of extremely talented but non-staying horses have been found out over 3 miles 2 furlongs. Examples might include Lostintranslation, Djakadam, Wayward Lad, Celtic Shot, Bradbury Star, Merry Gale, Dublin Flyer, One Man, Strong Promise and Florida Pearl. (I will fight anyone who says Cue Card). However only 17 of last 29 had previously won over a distance in excess of 3m. (Al Boum Photo first time had only won over that 2m 5f at Tramore, Native River a Welsh National, Sizing John won an Irish Gold Cup, Don Cossack over 3m 1f at Punchestown, Lord Windermere and Bobs Worth both won RSAs, Coneygree only had won over 3m). Before Kauto regained GC in '09, Denman '08 was first of 5 to have previously run in a race in excess of 3 miles. Santini last season won the Cotswold Chase over 3m, 1 1/2f before second here.

     

    This century only Synchronised and Native River had previously run over further than the GC trip. Both were Welsh National winners.

     

    Again, against all of that, 13 horses this century had never run in excess of 3 miles before and started here in single figure prices. 7 won, including Sizing John and Coneygree. No qualifiers last two years, all those in single figure prices had run at distances over 3 miles, in 2018 only qualifier Killultagh Vic 8/1 PU.

     

    Talking about stayers, Minella Rocco and Native River 1st and 2nd in the 2016 now G2 National Hunt Chase filled the places here in 2017 behind Sizing John. No qualifiers since.

     

    Coneygree first novice successful since Captain Christy ’74. Dawn Run won on only her 4th chase, Dorans Pride finished 3rd as a novice in 1997. (None ran in the 10 before Coneygree and he himself had no idea how experienced were those trailing behind him in his wake). Previous four novices were 2000 Gloria Victis 13/2 fell 2 out when still in contention, 2003 Beef Or Salmon 5/1 fell, 2004 Therealbandit 15/2 fell, 2006 Iris's Gift 16s PU. None ran the last two years.

     

    IRISH TRAINED In last 20, 7 winners and 17 placed from 78 runners (7 from 12 last year, 9 from 16 in 2019 resulting in a 1-2, 9 from 15 runners 2018, best in third. 4 from 13 in 2017, winner and fourth, 6 from 10 in 2016 gave a 1-2-3-4, 7 from 16 in 2015, Djakakam and Road To Riches placed, 1-2 in 2014, Sir Des Champs on his own, 2nd in 2013). Better stat 5 winners in the last seven. Big squad each year. Al Boum Photo, Delta Work, Presenting Percy, Kemboy, Monalee, Chris's Dream... W Mullins has trained Al Boum to win twice, 6 runners up, Djakadam twice, On His Own, Sir Des Champs, Hedgehunter and Florida Pearl. Djakadam also finished fourth and fifth. A warrior.
     

    GALWAY PLATE - Don't recognise any Gold Cup winners in Galway Plate winner's roster. Balko Des Flos won it in 2017 and then went on to stroll past Un De Sceaux in 2018 Ryanair. Early Doors won't be here.

     

    RED MILLS Chase - Can't see a GC Winner in the role of honour although Anibale Fly finished 2nd in both in 2019. Monalee won at Gowran last year but was outpaced in the Ryanair. In 2017 Our Duke won from Presenting Percy, the latter's next run was to win the RSA. 2020 Chris's Dream won at Gowran but Aidan Coleman decided not to try and front run here, for some unknown effing reason. No entry in 2021.

     

    M/D.Pipe. 3 placed horses in career total of 30 losers. No entries in last decade or longer. It's over.
     

    P Nicholls - Kauto/Denman/See More Business Clan Des Obeaux, Frodon, Cyrname. Clan didn't seem to take to the race/track/occasion in the last two years, 5th at 5/1 second fav in 2019. Despite trainer's hyperbole up of new tactics, a poor 8th at 7s in 2020. Won't be trying again says PN. Saphir Du Rheu PU 2018. Frodon now his only chance, but even PN doesn't rate the machine. 'Mountain to climb', his continuous assessment before the King George.

     

    Jonjo ONeill has had 10 runners in this, Synchronised winning Minella Rocco 2nd, Exotic Dancer 2nd, 5th and 3rd in consecutive years, Holywell 4th 2015 and unlucky that the rains came overnight that year. No runners in the past three years and nothing on the horizon.

     

    CLASS - King George Winners - Since Arkle only Desert Orchid, Best Mate ‘03, Kicking King, Kauto Star (twice) and Long Run 2011 have done the King George/Gold Cup double in the same season. Best Mate was second in King George ‘01 (and didn’t run in King George ‘03 before winning GC in '04). Bobs Worth didn't run between Hennessey and Gold Cup. Silviniaco Conti never seemed to act on the track. Cue Card may have gone close. Might Bite a very honourable second in 2018. Clan Des Obeaux disappointing again last year 5th last year but once again excelled at Kempton. Frodon. Frodon would be the first horse since Arkle to win a Festival G1 (Ryanair), then King George then first Gold Cup.

     

    Placed in this season's King George. 11 of the last 22 Gold Cup winners competed in that season's King George. However record of placed horses in that season's King George is patchy at best. '94 The Fellow and '97 Mr Mulligan both won after solid performances in the Kempton race. Since '97, 12 of those finishing 2nd or 3rd at Kempton have taken their chance in March. Best Mate won, Exotic Dancer finished 2nd at Cheltenham, both Kauto 2011 and Long Run 2012 3rd. Captain Chris 6th in 2013 GC, Albertas Run unpl '09 won Ryanair '10. See More Business and Looks Like Trouble both won Gold Cups after being pulled up at Kempton in December.

     

    2016 KG, plenty of debate as to where Don Cossack might have finished after falling two out. Plenty more debate about Cue Card in March. 2017 Cue Card well beat by Thistlecrack at Kempton, then fell at the same bloody fence in the GC but beaten at the time. Double Shuffle NR and Tea For Two Unpl 2018. Thistlecrack PU but Native River 3rd at Kempton, 4th here in 2019. It might be said that daylight was second in the 2019 King George because for the first time that I can remember, neither the 2nd nor the 3rd to Clan des Obeaux bothered to enter the 2020 Gold Cup. Last home, Lostintranslation PU at Kempton, a fine 3rd here at 10/1, the only Tizzard horse to run any sort of race all week. Placed behind Frodon was Waiting Patiently and Clan des Obeaux.

     

    To summerise all that, Don Cossack is the only GC winner to have run in any of the last nine King George chases.

     

    NEWBURY - Three from last 14 came from the Ladbroke/Hennessey. Denman and Bobs Worth won it as favourites, Lord Windermere finished 8th. 2017 Native River was 3rd in GC. Apart from The Tank and Bobs Worth, Jodami and Bregawn are the only four to do the GC double in the past 47 years. 2018 Total Recall fell three out here when still in with a shout. Last year Elegant Escape 3rd at Newbury, 11th and last here. The Conditional 3rd at Newbury has an entry. Cloth Cap for Aintree.

     

    WELSH NATIONAL - Master Oats '95 last one to do the double in one season. Welsh National was run at Newbury due to weather problems at Chepstow. Burrough Hill Lad 1983 the one before that. He was a huge horse. Synchronised won at Chepstow in 2010 before taking the Gold Cup in 2012. Native River did the 2016 - 2018 double. Elegant Escape won a Welsh National, placed in two Newbury Hennesseys, unplaced twice here behind Al Boum. Potters Corner 2019 too lowly rated for this.

     

    Previous quality track form. 17 of the last 23 Gold Cup winners had finished placed at a previous Festival. Not Al Boum Photo first time, fell and broke Ruby's leg at the second last when 3rd behind Presenting Percy in the 2018 RSA. Native River was placed in a 4 miler and a GC, Sizing John 2nd in an Arkle, 3rd in a Supreme. Don Cossack 3rd in a Ryanair, B Cooper was called a lot of names that day, even by G Elliott. Not Coneygree, Synchronised, Kauto (the first time), Imperial Call, See More Business. 27 from last 32 either course winners or placed at a previous festival (exceptions include Al Boum Photo first time, Synchronised, Imperial Call, and Kauto). Synchronised came here from a facile Lexus win, Imperial Call won an Irish Hennessey. War of Attrition came from being 2nd to Beef or Salmon in a Irish GC at Leopardstown and had won a G2 in November. Coneygree and Kauto both came from winning the G2 (now called) Denman Chase. Kauto had won the King George that season. Coneygree twice won course G2 Novice Hurdles. Coneygree only winner in the last 22 not to have run in a previous Festival. Lots of contenders in 2021 with quality Festival form. Al Boum Photo, Champ, Minella Indo, Native River, Presenting Percy, Frodon. Those without the placed Festival Form or course win include Kemboy, Cyrname, Waiting Patiently.

     

    Imperial Call '96 and Jodami '93 last two Gold Cup winners without any previous course experience. Both came directly from winning the Irish Hennessey. Delta Work 2020 Irish GC winner didn't jump great here, 5th. Had won a Pertemps and been placed in an RSA.

     

    The last 20 were previous Grade 1 Chase winners (including Coneygree with a Feltham). Lots of them here. Al Boum Photo had won a Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse at Easter. Not Santini
     

    HEAVY GROUND - No winner this century has won this having run on heavy ground this season (Matt Tombs - How To Bet and Win at the Festival). Can't believe that Don Cossack's jog in the Kinloch Brae at Thurles 2016 was on soft ground? I was there and it looked like a swamp to me. In 2018 this stat correctly took out Our Duke, the 9/2 second fav. Didn't help Chris's Dream nor Elegant Escape last year. In all Grade 1 chases at the Festival going back to 2005 of the last 51 to have run on heavy ground within the last 30 days, 6 placed, no winners. In fairness, most of those were big prices. Al Boum Photo on Tramore ran on soft, heavy in places. Santini in the Cotswold Chase? Min, Alloha, Bristol de Mai.

      

    Red Mills Chase at Gowran mid-February has been going since 1990. Don't see any winners of that having been placed at the Festival. Mind you Presenting Percy 2nd in 2018 was then a very impressive RSA winner. Anibale Fly second at Gowran 2019, then second in GC. Monalee, the winner, then fourth to Frodon in Ryanair. 2020 Chris's Dream unplaced.
     

    Kauto Star 2007 only horse to have won the Betfair Million. Only three GC winners have actually ran in the Betfair Chase that season. None of the last eleven. Last one was Imperial Commander, epically beaten by Kauto by a sh hd at Haydock. Lostintranslation, Bristol de Mai.

     

    No Winner of the World Hurdle/Stayers has gone on to win GC since 1972. Brown Lad was the Stayers winner '75 closest being 1976 and '78 as GC runner up both times. Brown Lad was some horse. Didn't make his debut until he was an eight yr old and went on to be the only horse to win three Irish Grand Nationals, the last one in 1978 at the age of 12. I stood at the last fence when he jogged around Down Royal one day in late 1977. Seemed a lovely, huge placid animal in the parade ring.

     

    Apart from Lord Windermere and Imperial Commander, all back to See More Business '99 at least all won that season. Both the exceptions were G1 Festival winners the previous year. Imperial Commander had been beaten a nose at Haydock in Betfair Chase in his GC season. Al Boum Photo, one run, one win at Tramore. Two seasons in a row. Santini, Delta Work, Kemboy

     

    29 out of last 33 finished at least 3rd last time (exceptions are Lord Windermere 6th in Irish Hennessey, Imperial Commander unpl King George, Cool Dawn PU with an injury problem and Mr Mulligan, fell at last when second in King George). Problems here for, amongst others, CHECK.

     

    Irish Breds have won the 14 from last 23 (Sizing John by Midnight Legend ENG bred, Don Cossack by Sholokhov GER bred. Coneygree by Karinga Bay and Imperial Commander by Flemensfirth both English Bred. Al Boum, Kauto and Long Run, all French Bred). Only Al Boum in the first three last year, in 2019 six of the 14 runners were FR bred, resulting in a 1-2-3-5. 2020, winner FRE, Santini ENG, Lostintranslation and Monalee both IRE.

     

    Now called the Cotswold Cup Cheltenham Trials day. A G2. Little Owl (1981), Master Oats (1995) and Looks Like Trouble (2000). First became a recognised Gold Cup Trial in ’95 when Master Oats did the double. Since then only winners to have competed in both are Looks Like Trouble (2000), See More Business ’99 was third in January before winning the Gold Cup that year. 2016 Djakadam fell in January and then 2nd here. Smad Place won in January, 6th here. 2016 Thistlecrack outstayed by warrior Many Clouds. In the last 10 yrs only Santini, Neptune Collonges and The Giant Bolster have come from this race to be placed in GC.

     

    Synchronised first to do the Lexus/Savilles double since ‘96. (Delta Work 5th 2020). Road To Respect 4th 2019 in Ryanair. Don Poli, Road To Riches both won at Leopardstown before finishing 3rd here.

     

    PETER MARSH CHASE HAYDOCK - GC Double achieved by Little Owl, Bregawn, Jodami '93 Royal Pagaille, a rare third season novice chaser. Of the last 67 runners to have run in a handicap last time out., Cool Dawn and Bobs Worth winners.

     

    Al Boum Photo x2, Native River, Sizing John, Coneygree and Bobs Worth first since Cool Dawn 1998 not to have run in that season's King George or Savills Chase. Neither had Djakadam first time placed. Nor Santini. Frodon, A Plus Tard

     

    But, only Synchronised and Lord Windermere of the last 12 came from the Savills Chase.

     

    Kauto Star and Desert Orchid 1989 the last winners of this to compete in a graded non-novice race over 2 miles. Kauto ran in a QM and won a Tingle Creek. A Plus Tard. Not sure of the significance but thank you Nick Mordin wherever you may be.

     

    A nice one from Paul Ferguson's festival guide. Novices who placed in the Supreme Novices Hurdle are 6 from 6 this century. Best Mate x3, Kicking King, War Of Attrition and Sizing John. Itchy Feet, Melon. The last 21 winners had already won a G1. Itchy Feet has, Melon has not.

     

    Alverton '79 only horse to win an Arkle and a Gold Cup.

     

    Al Boum Photo x2 , Sizing John, Don Cossack and Lord Windermere first Irish Trained winners since Captain Christy in '74 not to have run well in that season's John Durkan. Min did win a Ryanair, mind you. Min, Tornado Flyer, Melon

     

    The winner of the Charlie Hall chase has not won that season's Gold Cup since at least 1988. Even Silviniaco Conti couldn't overcome that bogey. Looks Like Trouble 2000 was third at Wetherby and then did the Cotswold/Gold Cup double. Definitly Red unplcd 2019. Ballyoptic NR 2020 Cyrname

     

    PREVIOUS RUNS - Last three one run that season plus Bob's Worth in 2013. 23 from last 25 no more than 4 previous runs that season (Al Boum Photo famously one run a year, Native River, one run in the Denman, 'couldn't overcome the bounce factor' argued Timeform. Long Run 2 in 2011, Synchronised 3, Bobs Worth only 1, Lord Windermere and Coneygree both 3). Al Boum, Native River, Bobs Worth first since Garrison Savannah '91 to have just one run that season. Latter two join Garrison as well being the last two winners not to have run since before Boxing Day. Apart from The Fellow and Kauto (first time) all other winners at least 31 days off before this (15th February). Al Boum January 1st. Apart from Al Boum, Native River (10th Feb) Sizing John (27th Dec), last 30 all had their seasonal debuts before Christmas. 11 of the past 19 not run since January 1st.

     

    Only Easter Hero in 1929 won having not had a run over fences that season. Presenting Percy tried it unsuccessfully in 2019. Al Boum, Native River, Bobs Worth, and Garrison Savannah all won after one race that season, all in chases. Bregawn '83 ran in a chase ten days before the Gold Cup. What A Myth initially jogged around in a Hunters Chase before winning GC two runs and three weeks later.

     

    Not believed that any winner has had one previous run that season in a G2 two-mile chase but Commanche Court finished 2nd to Best Mate 2002, his third win, after running 4th at Naas in the G3 2mile Newlands Chase. The GC was then Commanche Court's sixth run of the season. Champ

     

    Since '87 all bar Al Boum Photo x2, Nortons Coin and Don Cossack had their prep run over 3 miles. (The Tramore G3 is only 'about' 2m 5 1/2 furlongs, but it's so sharp that they jump the fence in front of the stands four times. And we are not sure what distance he ran on 1st Jan 2021, see Simon Rowlands ATR). G Elliott sent Don Cossack to the Kinloch Brae after the King George. Obviously concerned about another Cheltenham Stat, winning off the back of a fall.

     

    9 of the last 24 achieved an F, B, P or U in their form figures that season. Only Don Cossack F in KG from the last nine. Lord Windermere's season form figures were 876. Lostintranslation's P didn't help last year. Minella Indo, Delta Work, Samcro, Lostintramslation, Cyrname.

     

    RSA - GOLD CUP DOUBLE - Completed by Lord Windermere, Bobs Worth, Denman '07, Looks Like Trouble ‘00 and Garrison Savannah ‘91. That is, five from the last 16 to try. Champ Topofthegame injured 2020. Presenting Percy disappointed, Might Bite was second, Blaklion didn't come. Of the eight to come 10/1 and under in this, three winners, a second and three thirds. Al Boum Photo fell in the RSA when beaten in third, Mr Mulligan second in the RSA when a short priced favourite and Florida Pearl was placed twice in this race after winning the RSA. To back that up, 15 from the last 29 were either a novice or a second season chaser from a smaller percentage of numbers. Last year Santini and Lostintranslation were second season. Not Native River but second and third to him were. 1-2-3 in 2017, 3rd 2016, 1-2-3 in 2015, 1st in 2014 from 3 runners. First and second in 2013 from 3 qualifiers. Champ, Samcro, Minella Indo, Allaho. Frodon has been jumping fences for five seasons, A Plus Tard for three.

     

    Native River joined Kauto Star 2009 (second time) first winners since Bregawn ’83 to improve on a placed effort to win the next season's Gold Cup. Santini, Lostintranslation. And the only two since Kerstin in ‘58 to improve from runner up to winner 12 months later. Big stats.

     

    Matt Tombs' ONE CHANCE SALOON - Native River stabbed this stat in 2018, if not fatally. Since The Fellow's win in 1994 , all bar Native River, See More Business and Kauto of the last 92 to get beat in a Gold Cup and come back, have been beaten again. in 2020 of the 12 strong field, 5 returned, all to be beaten again. This years suspects may include Santini, Lostintranslation, Delta Work, Kemboy, Real Steel, Native River, Presenting Percy. And poor old See More Business wasn't actually beaten. He was carried out after half a circuit by AP making a hash of trying to pull up Cyborgo. (Shssh, no one remembers that, says Mick Fitz). It is probably easier to say that only Native River of the last 11 winners had raced in the race before. The Queen Mother used to be the same (before Politologue, Special Tiara) Always worth considering.

     

    Can't find a winner who was beaten in first GC, won second GC, beaten in third GC, missed 4th GC, wins 5th GC. Native River. He'll be 11 yrs old. As Tom Segal says, 'they have only got so many races of this quality in them.'

     

    PREVIOUS CHASE RUNS - Kauto Star (3rd time) 20, Best Mate (3rd time) 13, Don Cossack 18, Native River 12, Kicking King 11. Frodon 30, Al Boum Photo 12, Champ 4, Santini 8.

     

    Kauto Star first horse to ever regain the Gold Cup. Long Run finished a gallant third when trying. Before Kauto, See More Business was the only GC winner to try and regain it since Jodami. He tried twice, best 3rd once at 40s as a 12 yr old. Between '89 and '95, 5 tried, all no-hopers apart from Jodami '95 7/2 unpl and injured after coming from an Irish Hennessey win. Desert Orchid 4/1 3rd to Garrison Savannah in '91 after 4/6 winner of 4 runner limited handicap Agfa Diamond Chase. Conclusion - being the first to regain the GC may not be the wonder stat it has been painted however even being able to attempt it illustrates the fragility of racehorses and the skills of PF Nicholls. Native River would have to be a miracle.

     

    RATINGS - 17 from last 20 not officially rated lower than 166 before win Al Boum Photo first time 164, War Of Attrition 157. Native River 166, Sizing John 167, Don Cossack 175, underrated Synchronised was 166. Lord Windermere was only 152. Coneygree 166. Nine of the 12 strong field last year 166+ 1-2-3 all 170+. Seven of the 14 in 2019 166+ best Bristol De Mai. 2018 Five of the fifteen runners were rated 166+ including 1st and 2nd home. In 2017 it was 6 from 13 including 1st and third. Frodon went up 1lb to 169 after winning the KG. After the 2021 Irish Gold Cup, Irish Ratings Kemboy 169, Delta Work 168, Minella Indo 164, Melon 166.

     

    2005 Kicking King not officially BHA Rated but had come here from winning a KG with an Irish Rating of 159. Also War Of Attrition 2006 no BHA Rating but came from running 4l 2nd to Beef Or Salmon (Irish Rating 170) in Irish GC. Suggest both would have been 166 ish in UK.

     

    TIMES - Last year Al Boum Photo 6 mins 50 in G to S, slow enough in comparison with other times that day and only 5 secs faster than the Foxhunters. In 2019 it was 6 mins 40 secs also in G to S. The 2019 time was the fastest of the day against standard by about 8 secs and ten seconds faster than the Hunter Chase. In 2018 in soft ground Native River slugged it round in 7 mins 3 secs. In 2017 Sizing John, 2016 6.36 (fastest of the day against standard, no pace up front served him well), Don Cossack in 6 mins 35secs, two seconds faster than standard. 2015 Coneygree 6mins 43 secs on soft ground. Comparing the 2014 6mins 44secs on good ground which would suggest that Coneygree did go some lick upfront. (Watch it again and see how fast they went over the first two fences). 2013 (Bobs Worth) on rain sodden ground 7 mins 6 secs. 2012 (Synchronised) below standard 6.36. A horse that was never given the credit. In Long Run's 2011 they went round in a track record in just under 6 mins 30 secs, 7 secs under standard, In 2010 (Imperial Commander) the ground was also given as good - time was 6 mins 49. Only Looks like Trouble 6.30 (Good to Firm) and War of Attrition 6.31 faster. The roll then reads Mr Mulligan 6.35, Cool Dawn and Best Mate (2) 6.39, Kauto, See More Business 6.41, Kicking King and Best Mate (3) 6.42 and Best Mate (1) 6.50.

     

    2020 Savills on yielding 6 mins 26 secs. 2019 Irish Gold Cup, Delta Work did 6 mins 27 secs (yielding), 8 seconds slower than he did with allegedly the same ground at Xmas, 2017 Savilles/Lexus time 6 mins 8 secs on yielding ground. 2018 Irish Gold Cup 6.25 on soft. Santini Cotswold Chase 2020 6 mins 59 secs. 2019 Frodon 6 mins 36 on G to S. 2020 King George, Bryony 'stole it' in 6 mins 1 sec, 2.5 seconds slower than Shan Bleu's front running display in the Feltham. 2019 King George Kempton Clan Des Obeaux did 6mins 10secs on soft ground at Kempton, 10 secs faster than on the 2018 G to S. That December he was 7 secs faster than Slate House in the Feltham an hour earlier. Novices carry three lbs less. 2017 Might Bite 6 mins 7 secs, soft ground but some 14 seconds slower than Thistlecrack's KG win in 2016 and even slower than Might Bite's own performance in the Feltham in 2016.

     

    Native River jogged round the Denman Chase 2020 in 5 mins 56 (good ground), did win well but was in a time 4secs slower than the handicap chase an hour later won by Sussex Ranger off a rating of 126. Four of the last 14 Denman Chase winners have doubled up. 10 of them tried, two of those got a third place here.

     

    SIMON ROWLANDS Sectionals on Frodon's King George and his Al Boum Photo opinion

     

    https://www.attheraces.com/blogs/sectional-spotlight/27-December-2020/frodon-proves-to-be-sectional-king-under-frost

     

    https://cheltenhamm.attheraces.com/features/al-boum-photo-and-the-cheltenham-gold-cup-treble

     

    BLINKERS etc - Last year 2 ran, Santini in first time cheekpieces, Delta Work in his usual hood. In 2019, 2 again ran, Native River best, usual cheekpieces, 4th. 2018 Native River wins in blinkers he always wears, Road To Respect 4th in his usual hood. Ha has been the only winner since See More Business in 1999 from 43 triers. Minella Rocco 2nd 2017 cheekpieces, Holywell 4th was best of six in 2015. The Giant Bolster wore a visor in 3rd 2014, Long Run 3rd in 2013 in blinkers.

     

    BEATEN FAVOURITE LAST TIME OUT - This century 31 beaten favourites last time have tried their luck. No winners. Kemboy, Real Steel last year, Elegant Escape, Might Bite in 2019. No qualifiers 2018. In 2017 Djakadam (once again) and Bristol De Mai. Qualifiers 2021 ?

     

    NEXT RACE>

     

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Wealth Warning.  Any decisions made (or not) or the basis of any information in this site are the sole responsibility of the reader.  There is no obligation on me to follow my own advice.  I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors.  (Bgault01@gmail.com, @gaultstats). Previous years ‘stats on stats’ would suggest we may identify a decent priced winner from manageable groups every three or four races.  It is believed that Savello (2014 Grand Annual) took from Golden Chieftain (2013 3m hcap chase) the record for breaking the most stats in a race.  Stands now at 8.  Cole Harden equalised with 8 in the 2015 World Hurdle.  Remember, after you have cursed/laughed at me and given up totally on trends, they will come back to bite.  Always happens.  Usually on Gold Cup Day. 

Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol.  A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.