• Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup



    Warning. These are by far the strongest stats for any race in the 2018 Festival.

    Far too pretty.


    This century no horse has:


    A. Won this having been a beaten favourite last time out

    B. Won having run on officially heavy ground that season

    C. Won this for the first time having been beaten in a previous Gold Cup or

    D. Won aged 10 years or over, including four favourites


    No horse wearing headgear has won in 15 years

    15 of the last 17 were rated 166+ before their win

    Eight of the last 15 favourites have won

    Last 17 were all previous G1 chase winners

    No King George/GC double since 2011

    Native River has a big 'bounce' stat to overcome

    No trainer has ever won Ch Hurdle, QM and GC in the same year


    Race Distance - 3 miles and abt two and a half furlongs. Will be aged between 7 and 9. Ran in the Newbury Hennessy, King George or Lexus Chases. 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 placed last time. Has not ran on officially heavy ground this season. At least 31 days off before coming here. No more than four previous runs this season. Has won this season or won a G1 Chase at the 2017 Festival. Won't 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. Not blinkered. Favourite not really due. Something 16/1 or bigger to be placed. Winner BHA rated 165+. Time to be about 6 mins 40. Seasonal debut made before Christmas. Not Pipe trained. Last prep run was over 3 miles. Don't be overly concerned if F, U, PU once this season. Second season chasers outperform their numbers. Not beaten favourite last time out.

  • Evidence

    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. Clan Des Obeaux, Outlander, Empire Of Dirt, Cue Card 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 in the last two years or in the first four in 2015. First three home last year were all seven yr olds. Unplaced 10 yr olds have included 2016 Cue Card 5/2 fell (a faint memory now, but no, Paddy, no, don't go to pass there, 50s for the Betfair Million, aargh). 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. (Cue Card is now 12yrs and made the Race Of The Season in the Ascot Chase with Waiting Patiently. He is not winning the Gold Cup. Get him over the third last, Paddy, and home safely).

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


    Apart from Don Cossack (18), Kauto (20) no other winner in past 18 years had more than 14 chases before GC (Sizing John 9, Coneygree, a novice with 3, Lord Windermere 9, Bobs Worth only 5, Long Run had 9). To praise 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. Goin 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). Even Best Mate’s third success was only his 13th chase (Cue Card 32 chases, Djakadam 19, Outlander 17).


    BETTING - 8 of the last 15 favourites have won including five from the last eleven. Not quite as the best performing race for favourites throughout the whole Festival. (Champion Hurdle 4 from the last six) but not far from it. (First run in this format in 1924, 30 favourites have won this from 89 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. Before Best Mate’s two successes as winning favourite, the last 11 favourites who started 7/4 and under were all beaten.


    ANOTHER OUTSIDER DUE? - Apart Lord Windermere at 20s, and Sizing John (4th fav at 7/1) all the last winners back to See More Business (16s 1999) were all from first three in the market. Longest priced of those winners - Sychronised 8/1 co third favourite (RIP, you beautiful thing) He was probably only third favourite because of Pricewise that morning. In last years race the front three in the market were up there all along. In 2016 the first four in the market were the only ones ever involved, if Don Poli only distantly. Speaking as a bookies clerk, those figures are a bit skewiff. Might be due another one 10s or above.


    BIG PRICED PLACERS - 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. Since 2014 Minella Rocco at 18s only outsider to be placed.


    STAYERS - Lots of non stayers have been found out over 3 miles 2 furlongs. Examples include 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 15 of last 26 had previously won over a distance in excess of 3m. (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 3miles.


    Against all of that, 12 horses this century had never run in excess of 3 miles before and started in single figure prices. 7 won, including Sizing John and Coneygree. (Matt Tombs CFBG, knows his stuff)


    Talking about stayers, Minella Rocco and Native River 1st and 2nd in the 2016 now G2 and prestigious National Hunt 4 miler filled the places here last year behind Sizing John. Edwulf ran in the 4 miler in 2017 off a ratng of 159. Not far off what is required here.


    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. Can't see any novices this year unless Samcro doubles up (joking).


    IRISH TRAINED In last 19, 5 winners and 15 placed from 55 runners (4 from 13 last year, winner and fourth, 6 from 10 2016 gave a 1-2-3-4, 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? Sizing John, Djakadam, Edwulf, Road To Respect, Outlander, Empire of Dirt, Killultagh Vic Champagne West, Outlander, Coney Island, Our Duke, Balko Des Flos, Total Recall... W Mullins has had 6 runners up, Djakadam twice, On His Own, Sir Des Champs, Hedgehunter and Florida Pearl. Djakadam also fourth last year.

    GALWAY PLATE - Don't recognise any Gold Cup winners in Galway Plate winner's roster. Balko Des Flos beat Shaneshill. However in that roster don't recognise many who approach Cheltenham having been a front running second in a Lexus. Balko Des Flos.


    M/D.Pipe. 3 placed horses in career total of 30 losers. No entries last eight years. Its over.

    P Nicholls - Kauto/Denman/See More Business Saphir Du Rheu (he is entered). 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. Minella Rocco.


    CLASS - King George Winners - Since Arkle, 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


    Placed in this season's King George. 11 of the last 20 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. 2016 KG, plenty of debate as to where Don Cossack might have finished. Last year 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.


    NEWBURY - Three from last 12 came from the Hennessey. Denman and Bobs Worth won it as favourites, Lord Windermere finished 8th. Last year Native River 3rd in GC. Apart from The Tank and Bobs Worth, Jodami and Bregawn are the only four to do the GC doubl inthe past 45 years. Total Recall


    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 last year. Raz De Maree won't be turning up in this.


    Previous quality track form. 15 of the last 20 Gold Cup winners had finished placed at a previous Festival. Sizing John 2nd in an Arkle, 3rd in a Supreme. Don Cossack 3rd in a Ryanair, B Cooper called a lot of names, even by G Elliott. Not Coneygree, Synchronised, Kauto (obviously the first time), Imperial Call, See More Business. 25 from last 29 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. Coneygree only winner in the last 20 not to have run in a previous Festival. Lots of contenders in 2018 with quality course form. Sizing John, Djakadam, Native River, Might Bite, Definitely Red, Road To Respect, Killutagh Vic. Edwulf would have been at least 2nd in last year's G2 National Hunt Chase. Could make a case.


    Imperial Call '96 and Jodami '93 last two Gold Cup winners without any previous course experience. Both came directly from winning the Irish Hennessey. Edwulf from Outlander. What a story. To digress, the link below should take you to a great article by Mark Souster in the Times about Edwulf and last year's Cheltenham. I was there and thought that the poor beast had broken down. Never expected to see him again. Well done to all connections and the Doc.


    Last 17 all previous Grade 1 Chase winners (including Coneygree with a Feltham). Lots of them here. Not Definitly Red

    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 in soft ground? Looked like a swamp to me. In 2018 this stat takes out Sizing John after his sterling John Durkan win in a Punchestown bog. Our Duke won in heavy at Gowran. In all Grade 1 chases at the Festival going back to 2005 of the last 49 to have run on heavy ground within the last 30 days, 6 placed, no winners. In fairness, most of those were big prices.


    Red Mills chase at Gowran mid February has been going since 1990. Don't see any winners of that going on to be placed at the Festival. Our Duke

    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 2019 if it happens at all. 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 stood at the last fence when he jogged round Down Royal one day in late 1977. Seemed a lovely, huge placid animal in 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. Commander had been beaten a nose at Haydock in Betfair Chase in his GC season.


    26 out of last 30 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). Valseur Lido, Our Duke


    Irish Breds have won the 13 from last 20 (Sizing by Midnight Legend ENG bred, Don Cossack by Sholokhov GER bred. Coneygree by Karinga Bay and Imperial Commander 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. 2016 Thistlecrack outstayed by warrior MANY CLOUDS. In the last 10 yrs only Neptune Collonges and The Giant Bolster have come from this race to be placed in GC. Definitly Red 


    Synchronised first to do the Lexus double since ‘96. (Road To Respect). Don Poli, Road To Riches both won at Leopardstown before finishing 3rd here.


    Sizing John, 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 Definitly Red, Native River, Empire of Dirt, Our Duke 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.


    Sizing John, 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. Sizing John bt Djakadam in a bog.


    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. Bristol De Mai bt Blaklion.


    20 from last 22 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).


    Apart from Sizing John (27th Dec), last 28 all had their seasonal debuts before Christmas. 9 of the past 16 not run since December 31st.


    9 of the last 21 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, Edwulf P, Annibale Fly F


    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. Blaklion didn't come. Might Bite. Of the six 10/1 and under in this, three winners and three thirds. 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, 14 from the last 26 were either a novice or a second season chaser from a smaller percentage of numbers. 1-2-3 last year, 3rd 206, 1-2-3 in 2015, 1st in 2014 from 3 runners. First and second in 2013 from 3 qualifiers. Might Bite, Edwulf, Road to Respect


    Kauto Star 2007 first horse since Bregawn ’83 to improve on a placed effort to win the next season Gold Cup. Native River, Minella Rocco. And the first since Kerstin in ‘58 to improve from runner up to winner 12 months later Native River.


    Matt Tombs' ONE CHANCE SALOON - Since The Fellow, all bar See More Business and Kauto of the last 80 to get beat in a Gold Cup and come back again have been beaten again. Stat kept alive last year by Djakadam, Cue Card, Smad Place and Irish Cavalier (RIP) This years suspects will probably include Native River, Minella Rocco, Djakadam, Saphir Du Rheu, Bristol De Mai, Champage West, Tea For Two, Outlander, 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). It is probably easier to say that the last 10 winners had not raced in the race before. Similar sort of stat to the Queen Mother (ignoring Sprinter Scare and Special Tiara) and worth considering.


    Kauto Star first horse to ever regain the Gold Cup. Long Run gallantly finished 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 P Nicholls.


    RATINGS - 16 from last 17 rated 166+ before win (War Of Attrition 157). Sizing John 167, Don Cossack 175, underrated Synchronised was 166. Lord Windermere was only 152. Coneygree 166. After the 2017 Irish Gold Cup Edwulf 164, Definitly Red 167, Minella Rocco 162


    TIMES - 2017 Sizing John 2016 6.36 (fastest of the day against standard) 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. 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.


    See Simon Rowlands view on sectional times



    2017 Lexus time 6 mins 8 secs on yeilding ground. 2018 Irish Gold Cup 6.25 on soft. Betbright Cheltenham 6 mins 34 on heavy. Might Bite 6 mins & secs, some 14 seconds slower than Thistlecrack win in 2016 and even slower than Might Bite's performance in the Feltham in 2016.


    BLINKERS - No headgear winners in 15 yrs from 38 triers. Minella Rocco best last year in first time 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 - This century 25 beaten favourites last time have tried their luck. No winners. Last year Djakadam (once again) and Bristol De Mai




    @UTVilla – analysing the good-class chasers (rated 150+), since the start of the 2005/6 season, who returned from a protracted absence (275 days or more), post the New Year, and ran again within 40 days. Basically, assessing the Cheltenham-class chasers who found themselves rushing to Cheltenham. Riverside Theatre is indeed the outlier, as he was the only one, from a long list of 106 qualifiers, who won both on his comeback and his next race. Native River




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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 (Gary).  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 worried 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.