Andy Newton supplies the trail to lead you towards the winner at Cheltenham on November 18
Supplying the vital trends for the BetVictor Gold Cup
This month we are back with the jumping action as we wave goodbye to another turf Flat season. It’s been another cracking season of Flat action on the green stuff, but the clear highlight has got to be John Gosden’s Enable who mopped-up Group One after Group One through the year to take her tally at the highest level to five.All these top levels races were achieved in the space of just four months, which, of course, peaked with an impressive victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – a win that took her total prize haul to a staggering £3.8million. That’s what I call ‘Girl Power’!
Anyway, enough of all that – and let’s now turn our attention to the hedge-hoppers for the next six months and we get going in November with the Cheltenham Open Meeting as a clear early season highlight for many jumping fans.
As always, we’ve two days of top National Hunt action at Prestbury Park to look forward to with the BetVictor Gold Cup the meetings main event – this year run on Saturday November 18.
In recent years it’s been a fixture that the leading stables like the Pipes, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Paul Nicholls and Jonjo O’Neill have excelled at, and since 1996 those four powerful NH yards have between them won the BetVictor Gold Cup a staggering 15 times!
This key ‘stables stat’ was once again backed-up 12 months ago as the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Taquin Du Seuil gave the Jackdaws Castle team their third win in the race and their second in the last four runnings.
So – what are the other key trends to look for?
Let’s start with having previous experience and winning form at Cheltenham. All of the last 15 winners had a previous taste of fences at Prestbury Park, while 11 of those 15 (73%) had winning form over the bigger obstacles at the course before.
Next up is to look for horses that have won before over at least 2m4f (fences) and are also from UK-based yards – 13 of the last 14 winners fit the bill on both those counts – we’ve only seen one Irish-trained winner of the race in the last 26 years (Tranquil Sea, 2009).
The age of recent winners has also been a decent trend to note as despite last year’s winner being a nine year-old it’s actually been a cracking contest for six or seven year-olds with 11 of the last 15 winners fitting that age bracket.But with 53% of the last 15 winners aged seven then this is certainly the age that has done the best of late.
Sticking with the age for just a bit longer, as it’s also worth looking at the other end of the age spectrum as you might want to rule out the older runners in the field - the last double-figure aged winner was in 1975!
Heading into the race with good recent form is another thing to look for as 9 of the last 15 winners took this off the back of a top four finish last time out, while if your fancy is having it’s first run of the new National Hunt season, then don’t worry too much about this either as eight of the last 15 came there ready to rumble after a layoff.
We’ve already mentioned the age, but this is further backed-up with the slightly lesser exposed runners doing best in recent years. 66% of the last 15 winners had only won two or three times previously over fences suggesting that the improving younger chasers often do well.
Being a handicap then the weight-carried is certainly worth taking into account too. Nine of the last 15 winners carried 10-13 or less, but – be warned – there are signs this weight trend is starting to turn the other way as four of the last five winners have won with 10-13 or more. Backed up again last year with Taquin Du Seuil shouldering 11-11 to victory, which was only the third time since 1995 that we’ve seen the winner lump 11-8 or more to victory!
Finally, the betting can often be a good guide too as despite the competitiveness of the race we’ve seen three of the last 15 market leaders go in, which at a 20% strike-rate isn’t bad for a race of this nature. However, the favourites have also placed in 7 of the last 15 (47%), while it’s worth noting that a massive 12 of the last 15 winners (80%) returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting – suggesting it’s a race the punters generally get right.
So, this should be easy! With all those factors taken on board you could do a lot worse than focus on anything the Pipe,
Nicholls, O’Neill and Twiston-Davies yards have entered, plus are also aged six or seven and have past track experience and are 12/1 or less in the betting – Simple!!
Recent BetVictor Gold Cup Winners
2016 - Taquin Du Seuill (8/1) 2015 – Annacotty (12/1) 2014 – Caid Du Berlais (10/1) 2013 – Johns Spirit (7/1) 2012 – Al Ferof (8/1) 2011 – Great Endeavour (8/1) 2010 – Little Josh (20/1) 2009 – Tranquil Sea (11/2 fav) 2008 – Imperial Commander (13/2) 2007 – L’Antartique (13/2) 2006 – Exotic Dancer (16/1) 2005 – Our Vic (9/2 fav) 2004 – Celestial Gold (12/1) 2003 – Fondmort (3/1 fav) 2002 – Cyfor Malta (16/1)
BetVictor Gold Cup Betting Trends
15/15 – Had run at Cheltenham before 14/15 – Had won over at least 2m4f over fences before 14/15 –Won by a UK-based trainer 12/15 – Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting 12/15 – Carried 11-7 or less in weight 12/15 – Carried 11-7 or less in weight 11/15 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old 11/15 – Had won at Cheltenham before 10/15 – Had won just 2 or 3 times over fences before 10/15 – Trained by Pipe (3), Jonjo O’Neill (3), Nicholls (2) or Twiston-Davies (2) 9/15 – Carried 10-13 or less (But 4 of the last 5 carried 10-13 or more) 9/15 – Finished in the top 4 last time out 8/15 – Won by a horse in the first 3 in the betting 8/15 – Aged 7 years-old 8/15 – Won this on their seasonal reappearance 7/15 – Placed favourites 5/15 – Won their last race 4/15 – Trained by the Pipe stable 4/15 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out 3/15 – Winning favourites 3/15 – Ran at Carlisle last time out 2/15 – Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies 1/15 – Irish-trained winners The last winner aged in double-figures was in 1975 Paul Nicholls has saddled 8 placed horses (two winners, Al Ferof & Caid Du Berlais) from his last 32 runners The average winning SP in the last 15 years is 17/2
Taquin Du Seuil (left) wins the 2016 BetVictor Gold Cup at 8/1