When trying to find winners at Cheltenham 2017, it is imperative that you consider all the available information. In the lead up to the festival we will be looking at the stats and trends that matter for all the biggest races and first up is the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Last 5 Winners
|2016||Don Cossack||Gordon Elliott||Bryan Cooper||9||9/4 fav|
|2015||Coneygree||Mark Bradstock||Nico De Boinville||8||7/1|
|2014||Lord Windermere||J Culloty||Davy Russell||8||20/1|
|2013||Bobs Worth||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty||8||11/4 fav|
|2012||Synchronised||Jonjo O’Neill||AP McCoy||9||8/1|
Age Is A Crucial Factor
As can be seen from the above, 8yos and 9yos have dominated this race in recent seasons. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1998 to find the last 10yo that won, Cool Dawn for Andy Thornton and Robert Alner. Long Run was the first 6yo to triumph since Mill House back in 1963, while the last horse older than 10yo to win was What A Myth, who scored at 12 in 1969. Three 7yos have won it since 2005, so it seems prudent to concentrate on horses aged 7yo, 8yo and 9yo.
So, on the basis of the above, you can immediately put a line through 11yos Cue Card and Lord Windermere. 10yos don’t have a great record either, so both Smad Place and Empire Of Dirt (if he runs) look up against it. Bristol De Mai will also need to buck the trend to win as a 6yo, though he has a pretty similar profile to Long Run. That still leaves a lot of runners to choose from, but we will try to narrow the field further below.
As anyone who follows my tips will know, I love nothing more than trying to find winners at big prices. However, the Cheltenham Gold Cup has, by and large, been dominated by horses at the head of the market in recent years. Bar Lord Windermere, a shock winner at 20/1 in 2014, there has been no winner priced bigger than 8/1 since See More Business scored at 16s back in 1999.
There has been a fair few placed at silly odds during that period but, for the most part, the cream rises to the top in this race. As the market stands now there are five horses priced up at 10/1 or shorter and Cue Card is one of those, so that leaves us with four to pick from. Native River, Djakadam, Sizing John and Outlander are the remaining contenders, but which one is going to win?
The final piece of information to consider when it comes to narrowing the field for the Gold Cup is the importance of previous course form. The last five winners have all run well at the track before taking the prize, and that means we can put a line through Outlander.
He has run here twice before, falling in the JLT last season and finishing a well beaten 6th behind Windsor Park in the Neptune back in 2015. That doesn’t bode well for his chances in a race of this calibre, even if he did produce a career best performance at Leopardstown last time.
The Final Cut
So, that leaves us with three and, of those that remain, it is Sizing John that appeals at the prices. He proved his stamina last time at Leopardstown, and he has been placed on both previous visits to the festival in Grade 1s behind Douvan over an inadequate trip.
His odds of 10/1 look very tempting, and we think he can scupper Djakadam’s bid to make it third time lucky in this race. Native River can chase those two home, in a Cheltenham Gold Cup that should see the very best horses fighting it out at the finish. Let’s hope it lives up to expectations.
Cheltenham Gold Cup Prediction: 1. Sizing John (10/1) 2. Djakadam (11/2) 3. Native River (4/1)