What Gold Cup winners look like before the race....

Thursday, 23rd January 2020

What Gold Cup winners look like before the race….

We’re still a couple of months shy of the Cheltenham Festival....

I hesitate to mention it and I apologise for doing so. Sometimes it seems like the whole jumps season is nothing more than a prelude to the main event in March....

But that is kind of how it is. All roads lead to the Festival....

For sure, there are plenty of good individual races over the jumps during the winter months. But the Festival is the headline showpiece and it cannot be ignored....

Indeed, there’s so much top-quality action at the Festival meeting that preparation must begin well ahead of time. It cannot all be crammed into the weekend before the 4-day Festival kicks off....

That’s why I get started on the spadework once we get into the New Year....

Get all my Pre-Festival spadework on ATC....

  • Something different….

Today, I want to get started on that process with a study of what a Gold Cup winner looks like before the race is run....

The Gold Cup is not a handicap. But at the Festival – as with other big races like the Derby or the 2000 Guineas or some of the major Group sprints – I get involved....

First and foremost, I love racing. Handicaps are the primary focus. But life is short, I’m not a crank and the good things are there to be enjoyed....

That’s where races like the Gold Cup come in. What racing punter doesn’t want to take a view on the blue riband championship event?

And now is a great time to start taking an interest in the race. We don’t know what will run. Not all the established trial races have taken place. We don’t know what prevailing conditions will be on the day, but the process of isolating contenders can begin....

And if horses that look right can be got at big prices then an ante-post position is well worth considering – especially as and when more bookmakers go Non-Runner-No-Bet on the race (a concession that means you get your stake back if your horses doesn’t make it to the race for whatever reason)....

Several bookmakers are already offering the concession. More will follow. And when they do, you want to be prepared with an informed opinion....

An INFORMED opinion is an edge....

  • Data that leads to an informed opinion….

When you get involved in this game, you will get well and truly smashed up on occasion....

You put your word out there, the word goes bad and you take a vicious upper-cut to the chin. Fair do. It stings a bit. It rocks you & the legs go a bit wobbly – but that’s the game….

What makes up for all the blows and the bloody-noses and the bruises and the brickbats are those times you call it right…. the times you look at the facts, read between the lines, think it through and see things for what they really are….

Sometimes that kind of right-minded thinking leads to backing winners. Sometimes it leads to bets at the right price at the right time. Other times it just leads to right-minded observations.

But my view – right or wrong – is only one thing the ATC service offers. Our primary priority is to bring you the information and hard data – where we can – that helps you come to your own betting decisions….

If you want to take an early view on the Gold Cup market – and how upcoming races affect a candidate’s chances in the race – you’ll find it useful to be aware of what other Gold Cup winners looked like BEFORE they went to Cheltenham and did the business….

Get profiles for all the Championship races at the Festival....

  • The key features of a Gold Cup winner….

These are the strongest stats produced by the last 22 Gold Cup winners….

Measure potential runners against this blueprint and you won’t go far wrong….

You’ll know the pros and cons about every runner – which will enable you to take an informed view at the current prices….

  • All 22 had been off the track at least 5 weeks (10 of the last 16 winners had been off the track for 62+ days)
  • 21 had produced a career-best chase RPR at 24f to 27f
  • 21 had appeared at a previous Festival (15 had made the top 3 in a Festival race)
  • 21 had raced at least 5 times over fences
  • 21 had won at least 3 races over fences
  • 20 had raced in no more than 18 races in total
  • 20 had raced in no more than 13 chases (9 of the last 12 winners has raced in no more than 9)
  • 20 were aged 7- to 9-years-old
  • 20 had run no more than 4 times over fences that season
  • 20 had scored an RPR of at least 162 last time out
  • 20 had form over the Cheltenham fences (17 having hit the top 3 in a chase at the track)
  • 19 appeared at Newbury, Cheltenham, Leopardstown or Kempton last time out
  • 19 contested a G1 or a G2 chase last time out
  • 19 had scored a career-best chasing RPR of 169+
  • 19 had won that season
  • 18 had contested a Grade 1 chase that season (14 hitting the front 2)
  • 18 had run at least twice over fences that season
  • 18 had scored a career-best rating of 150+ on the Racing Post’s Topspeed scale
  • 17 had made the top 2 in an open Grade 1 chase over 24f to 27f
  • 17 had scored career-best rating in one of last 3 races over fences
  • 17 finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 16 of the 18 previous winners with an official rating going into the race were rated 166+
  • 15 were bred in Ireland
  • 15 had a strike-rate of 40%+ over fences at trips of 24f to 27f
  • The last word....

Leave it until race day for a big price in the Gold Cup and you’re likely to end up disappointed according to the stats….

16 of the last 19 winners of the Gold Cup emerged from the front 3 in the market – and only the 2014 winner Lord Windermere, 2017 winner Sizing John and last year’s winner Al Boum Photo were returned bigger than 8s….

That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with the usual take on the weekend action....

Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd

P.S. Over the next six-weeks I’ll be distributing all my pre-Festival spadework on ATC. The intention is to be as ready-as-possible when the best 4-days of the year roll around. Be prepared….