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 (Gary). The Stats Proverb says 'Relevance Is In The Eye Of The Beholder.' I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors. Previous years ‘stats on stats’ would suggest we may identify a decent priced winner from manageable groups every three or four races. I tend to improve as a tipster as the week goes on, possibly too concerned on the Tuesday. 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.
AGE - Long Run in 2011 as a 6yr old, Cool Dawn ’98 and Cool Ground ’93, both 10 yr olds are only winners since Desert Orchid '89 to have not been aged 7, 8 or 9 years. Bristol De Mai, Empire of Dirt, Taquin De Seuil, Cue Card, Road to Riches are outside the range. No horse older than 10 has won this since What A Myth ’69. In 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. None finished in the first three last year or in the first four in 2015. Unplaced 10 yr olds have included Cue Card 5/2 fell (No, Paddy, no, don't pass there, 50s for the Betfair Million, aargh). 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 were 25/1 outsiders.
Mac Vidi 1980 oldest ever placed horse at 15 yrs of age.
Apart from Don Cossack (18), Kauto (20) no other winner in past 17 years had more than 14 chases before GC (Coneygree, a novice with 3, Lord Windermere 9, Bobs Worth only 5, Long Run had 9). To give praise to P Nicholls, See More Business was placed at 40/1 as a 12 yr old (his 26th chase). The Giant Bolster placed again 2014 on his 20th Chase. Take out the last four, the 14 before that between 6 and 12 previous runs over fences. The Fellow ’94, 28th run over fences but only eleven in GB (might have won more with a pilot other than Monsieur Condrat). Even Best Mate’s third success was only his 13th chase (Cue Card 27 chases, Djakadam 14, Don Poli 11, Outlander 10).
BETTING - 8 of the last 14 favourites have won. Currently the best performing race for favourites throughout the whole Festival. Due a change? (First run in this format in 1924, 30 favourites have won this from 88 runnings - pointless but lovely 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. Before Best Mate’s two successes as winning favourite, the last 11 favourites who started 7/4 and under were all beaten.
Until Lord Windermere at 20s, previous 13 winners all from first three in the market. Longest priced of those winners - Sychronised 8/1 co third favourite (RIP, you wonderful thing) He was probably only third favourite because of Pricewise that morning. See More Business 16s in '99 biggest price before the Synch. In 2016 the first four in the market were the only ones ever involved, if Don Poli only distantly.
BIG PRICED PLACES - Before the 2014's placepot busting 1-2-3, the previous 17 races had horses starting 16/1 or bigger producing 17 top three finishes in total. That makes it now three wins, nine runners up and eight thirds in last 20. The Giant Bolster 50/1 runner up 2012, Mon Mome 50/1 third 2010. All placed horses in 2015 were 10s and under.
STAYERS - Lots of non stayers have been found out over 3 miles 2 furlongs. Examples include 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 15 of last 25 had previously won over a distance in excess of 3m. (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 3m.
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 had no idea how experienced those trailing behind were). Last 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. Thistlecrack injured
IRISH TRAINED In last 18, 4 winners and 15 placed from 51 runners (6 from 10 last year, 7 from 16 in 2015, Djakakam and Road To Riches plced, 1-2 in 2014, Sir Des Champs on his own, 2nd in 2013, China Rock on his own 2012, 8th). Big squad this year again? Djakadam, Don Poli. Empire of Dirt,, Lord Windermere, Road to Riches, Champagne West, Outlander, Road To Riches W Mullins has had 6 runners up, Djakadam twice, On His Own, Sir Des Champs, Hedgehunter and Florida Pearl.
GALWAY PLATE - Don't recognise any Gold Cup winners in Galway Plate winner's roster. Road to Riches, Carlingford Lough. However in that roster don't recognise many who approach Cheltenham having previously won G1 3m Leopardstown Chases. Road To Riches, Carlingford Lough. Lord Scoundrel not entered.
M/D.Pipe. 3 placed horses in career total of 30 losers. No entries last seven years. Its over.
P Nicholls - Kauto/Denman/See More Business. Jonjo ONeill has had 8 runners in this, Synchronised winning Exotic Dancer 2nd, 5th and 3rd in consecutive years, Holywell 4th 2015 and unlucky that the rains came overnight. Minella Rocco, More Of That.
CLASS - King George Winners Since Arkle, Desert Orchid, Best Mate ‘03, Kicking King, Kauto Star (twice) and Long Run 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. Thistlecrack inj
Placed in this season's King George. 11 of the last 19 Gold Cup winners competed in that years 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. Cue Card
NEWBURY - Three from last 11 came from the Hennessey. Denman and Bobs Worth won it as favourites, Lord Windermere finished 8th. Native River
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. (Thanku Paul Jones for correction). 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
Previous quality track form. 14 of the last 19 Gold Cup winners had finished placed at a previous Festival. Not Coneygree, Synchronised, Kauto (obviously the first time), Imperial Call, See More Business. Don Cossack 3rd in a Ryanair. B Cooper called a lot of names, even by G Elliott. 24 from last 28 either course winners or placed at a previous festival (exceptions include 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 Hennessey 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. Lots of contenders in 2017 with quality course form.
Imperial Call '96 and Jodami '93 last two Gold Cup winners without any previous course experience. Both came directly from winning the Irish Hennessey. Sizing John from Empire Of Dirt.
Last 16 all previous Grade 1 Chase winners (including Coneygree with a Feltham). Lots of them here. Sizing John
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 Cossacks jog in the Kinloch Brae at Thurles last year was in soft ground? Looked like a swamp.
Kauto Star only horse to have won the Betfair Million. Still will be.
THISTLECRACK - No Winner of the World Hurdle/Stayers has gone on to win GC since 1972. Will have to wait til 2018. Brown Lad Stayers winner '75 closest being 1976 and '78 GC runner up. 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 digress but I stood at the last fence when he jogged round Down Royal in late 1977. Seemed a lovely, huge placid animal in parade ring.
Apart from Lord Windermere and Imperial Commander, previous 15 had all won that season. Both were G1 Festival winners the previous year. Commander had been beaten a nose at Haydock in Betfair Chase.
Bobs Worth followed Denman, Jodami and Bregawn as only 4 in the past 44 years to do Newbury Hennessey/Gold Cup double. Native River.
25 out of last 29 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). Taquin De Seuil
Irish Breds have won the 13 from last 19 (Don Cossack by Sholokhov and registered as GER bred. Coneygree by Karinga Bay and Imperial by Flemensfirth both English Bred? Kauto and Long Run, both French Bred).
Now called the Betbright Cup was Argento Cheltenham Trials day. Is a G2. 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 (Gold Cup Winner), See More Business ’99 was third in January before winning the Gold Cup that year. 2016 Djakadam fell and then 2nd here. Smad won in January, 6th here. Thistlecrack outstayed by the warrior that was MANY CLOUDS.
Synchronised first to do the Lexus double since ‘96. (Outlander). Don Poli, Road To Riches both won at Leopardstown before finishing 3rd here.
Coneygree and Bobs Worth first since Cool Dawn 1998 not to have run in that season's King George or Lexus Chase. Neither had Djakadam first time. (None of Native River, Empire of Dirt, Champagne West have run in either this season).
Desert Orchid 1989 last winner of this to have previously contested a graded non novice race over 2 miles (Not sure what this signifies but thanks Nick Mordin).
Alverton '79 only horse to win an Arkle and a Gold Cup. Not applicable this year.
Don Cossack and Lord Windermere first Irish Trained winner since Captain Christy in '74 not to have run well in that season's John Durkan. Don Cossack went Down Royal route instead. Djakadam bt Outlander and Sub Lieutenant.
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 Argento/Gold Cup double. Cue Card won it in 2015 and Irish Cavalier this season.
19 from last 21 no more than 4 previous runs that season (Long Run 2 in 2011, Synchronised 3, Bobs Worth only 1, Lord Windermere and Coneygree both 3). Bobs Worth first since Garrison Savannah '91 to have just one run. Joins 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).
Since '87 all bar Nortons Coin and Don Cossack had their prep run over 3 miles. (G Elliot obviously concerned about another Cheltenham Stat about winning off the back of a fall).
Last 28 all had their seasonal debuts before Christmas. 9 of the past 15 not run since December 31st.
9 of the last 20 achieved a F, B, P or U in their form figures that season. (Synchronised PU in the April before) Lord Windermere's season form figures were 876. Don Cossack F in King George. Minella Rocco FF
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 14 to try. Don Poli. Of the five 10/1 and under in this, three winners and two thirds (Don Poli). Mr. Mulligan second in the former when short priced favourite and Florida Pearl was placed twice in this race after winning the former. To back that up, 13 from the last 25 were either a novice or a second season chaser from a smaller percentage of numbers. Only Don Poli last year, 1-2-3 in 2015, 1st in 2014 from 3 runners. First and second in 2013 from 3 qualifiers. Blaklion, Native River, Minella Rocco, Outlander
Kauto Star first horse since Bregawn ’83 to improve on a placed effort to win the next season Gold Cup. Djakadam, Don Poli. And the first since Kerstin in ‘58 to improve from runner up to winner 12 months later Djakadam. Since The Fellow, all bar See More Business and Kauto of the last 76 to get beat in a Gold Cup and come back again have been beaten again. This years suspects will probably include Djakadam, Road To Riches, Don Poli, Smad Place, Lord Windermere, Cue Card. And poor old See More Business wasn't actually beaten. He was carried out after half a circuit by AP trying to pull up Cyborgo. (Shssh, no one remembers that). Similar sort of stat to the Queen Mother (ignoring Sprinter Scare) and worth considering.
Kauto Star first horse to ever regain the Gold Cup. Long Run gallantly finished third when trying. Lord Windermere. 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 P Nicholls. 11 of the last 12 winners had not race in the race before.
RATINGS - 14 from last 16 rated 166+ before win (War Of Attrition 157). Don Cossack 175, underrated Synchronised was 166. Lord Windermere was only 152. Coneygree 166. After the 2017 Irish Gold Cup Sizing John 164 , Empire of Dirt 162
TIMES - 2016 the Don in 6 mins 35secs, two seconds faster than standard. 2015 Coneygree 6mins 43 secs on soft ground. Comparing 2014 6mins 44secs on good ground would suggest that Coneygree went some lick up front. (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. 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. In the previous 3 the ground was given as good to soft. '09 Kauto 6 mins 49secs. '08 Denman 6 mins 47 secs. Kauto Star’s first win was 6 mins 40 in what appeared to be a slowly run race. Doesn’t stand up too badly. Only Looks like Trouble 6.30 (Good to Firm) and War of Attrition 6.31 have put it in the shade. 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.
2016 Lexus time 6 mins 2 secs on good ground. 2017 Irish Gold Cup check Hennessey 6.38 for 3 miles Carlingford Lough 17 secs slower than 2014. 2017 Thistlecrack Betbright/Argento 6mins 41, 17 seconds than Smad did in 2016.
BLINKERS - No headgear winners in 14 yrs from 34 triers. Irish Cavalier a distant 5th last year, 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 - This century 23 beaten favourites last time have tried their luck. No winners. Last year Djakadam 2nd.