Run over 2m 4 ½ furlongs the BetVictor Gold Cup is the feature contest at the three-day Cheltenham Open Meeting, held each year in the middle of November (16th-18th Nov 2018).
The ‘Pond House’ Pipe stable are the leading yard with nine wins in the race, with Celestial Gold, Our Vic and Great Endeavour, who won the contest in 2011, their most-recent winners. Last year the 2018 BetVictor Gold Cup was won by the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Splash Of Ginge – a win that gave the yard their third success in the race since 2008 and their four overall.
Here at TRAINERS-QUOTES we take a look at the 2018 renewal from a stats angle – this year run on Saturday 17th November.
Recent BetVictor Gold Cup Winners
2017 – Slash Of Ginge (25/1)
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
16/16 – Had run at Cheltenham before
15/16 – Had won over at least 2m4f over fences before
15/16 – Won by a UK-based trainer
12/16 – Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
12/16 – Had won at Cheltenham before
11/16 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
11/16 – Had won just 2 or 3 times over fences before
11/16 – Trained by Pipe (3), Jonjo O’Neill (3), Nicholls (2) or Twiston-Davies (3)
10/16 – Carried 10-13 or less (But 4 of the last 6 carried 10-13 or more)
10/16 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
8/16 – Won by a horse in the first 3 in the betting
8/16 – Aged 7 years-old
8/16 – Won this on their seasonal reappearance
7/16 – Placed favourites
5/16 – Won their last race
4/16 – Trained by the Pipe stable
4/16 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
3/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
3/16 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
3/16 – Ran at Carlisle last time out
2/16 – Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies
1/16 – Irish-trained winners
The last winner aged in double-figures was in 1975
Paul Nicholls has saddled 9 placed horses (two winners, Al Ferof & Caid Du Berlais) from his last 34 runners
The average winning SP in the last 16 years is 10.5/1
The average winning SP in the last 15 years is 17/2
This month we get going properly with the jumpers with the three-day Cheltenham Open Meeting (16th-18th Nov) many people’s idea of the curtain-raiser for the hedge-hoppers.
As always, we’ve three days of top National Hunt action at Prestbury Park to look forward to with the BetVictor Gold Cup the meetings flagship contest – this year that race will be run on Saturday 17th November.
In general, over the three days, it’s been a fixture that top National Hunt stables like the Pipes, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Paul Nicholls and Jonjo O’Neill have done very well at, and since 1996 those four powerful stables have landed the BetVictor Gold Cup a staggering 16 times between them!
This key ‘stables stat’ was yet again bolstered twelve months ago when the Nigel Twiston-Davies camp fired in their fourth win in the race, and their third success since 2008, when Splash Of Ginge rewarded backers at a tasty 25/1.
So, what are the other main trends to have on your side?
To start with, having previous experience, plus winning form at Cheltenham, is a big plus. All of the last 16 winners had tasted the tricky Prestbury Park fences in the past, while 12 of those 16 (75%) had won in the past over the bigger obstacles at the track.
Next up is to note horses that have won previously over at least 2m4f (fences) and, also hail from a UK-based yard – 15 of the last 16 winners get a ‘thumbs-up’ on both these stats. It also might pay to note that we’ve had only one Irish-trained winner of the race in the last 27 renewals (Tranquil Sea, 2009) so even though the Irish don’t tend to send too many over for the race it’s still worth knowing.
The age of past winners over the last two decades has a few standout stats too. Yes, the last two winners have been aged 9 years-old so we certainly can’t rule out these, but in generally it’s actually been a cracking contest for 6 or 7 year-olds with 11 of the last 16 winners fitting that age bracket. Plus, with 50% of the last 16 winners aged 7 this is clearly the main age to focus on.
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 put a line through and older horses in the race – the last double-figure aged winner was in 1975!
Coming into the race in decent form is certainly another thing to look for as 10 of the last 16 winners won this off the back of a top four finish in their most recent race, while horses that are making their seasonal reappearances go okay too – 8 of the last 16 winners took this after a lay-off.
The slightly lesser exposed runners have done best in recent years. 69% of the last 16 winners had only won 2 or 3 times previously over fences suggesting that the younger unexposed chasers are the ones to have on your side.
Being a handicap then the weight-carried is another trend that has played a big part. 10 of the last 16 winners carried 10st-13lbs or less, but – a small note of caution – there are signs this weight stat is turning the other way as 4 of the last 6 winners have actually won with 10st-13lbs or more.
The last thing to note is the betting. The weight of money for certain horses can often be a good guide as, despite the competitive nature of this contest, we’ve had three of the last 16 favourites win which at a 19% strike-rate isn’t too shabby for a race that normally has 15-20 runners in. The market leaders have also been placed in 7 of the last 16 (44%) runnings, while it’s worth noting that a massive 12 of the last 16 winners (75%) returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting – all these stats indicate it’s a race the punters tend to get right more often than not.
So, taking all these trends into account, then once we know the final runners, then this should be easy – right? Okay, it doesn’t always pan out as the stats suggest, but I’d still rather be looking for horses that tick the winning formulas that past winners have shown. Therefore, taking those factors on board you could do a lot worse than concentrate on anything the Pipe, Nicholls, O’Neill and Twiston-Davies stables have entered. While if any of their runners are also aged 6 or 7 years-old, plus also have past track experience and are 12/1 or less in the betting then these runners are certainly worth taking a second glance at – Simple!!
TQ VERDICT: Another top running of the BetVictor Gold Cup and all eyes will be on Splash Of Ginge as he looks to back-up last years win and become the first horse since Bradbury Star to land the prize two years on the spin. However, at the age of 10 he’ll have the main age trend to overcome as last double-figure aged winner was in 1975! Baron Alco, from the Gary Moore yard, can make a bold bid and he returned to the track after an absence with a fine second at Chepstow last month. He’s yet to finish out of the top three from 7 chase starts and his three runs over fences here have been good ones – second (twice) and third. He can go well. The Moore’s also run BENATAR (e/w) and a case can be made for him too. He pulled way too hard on his first run back at Newton Abbot last month but hopefully that effort has brought him on and in this better race they should go a stronger pace. He was third in the JLT Novices’ Chase here last March and that form would make him interesting too. The Pipe yard have done well in the race over the years so their runners – King’s Socks and Eamon An Cnoic – can’t be ruled out but both would also need to bounce back from below-par runs and have something to prove. Rather Be and Mister Whitaker are other leading players in the race – they were separated by just a head in the Close Brothers Novices’ Chase here at the Festival but Rather Be has a handy weight pull this time, so it looks an interesting re-match. Mister Whitaker, however, has already been out this season, when winning at Carlisle and he looks a fast-improving chaser. From 6 runs over fences he’s won 4 and is yet to finish out of the top three. He could easily be better than a handicapper and the way he travels through his races suggests there is more to come. However, even though he looks the most likely winner for me, he’s also poor value. I’ll already be playing Benatar but one of the Paul Nicholls team often go well in this race too – they’ve have 9 placed horses and two winners from their last 34 runners in the contest. Frodon, Romain De Senam and Movewiththetimes are their entries this year and it’s the last-named – MOVEWITHTHETIMES (e/w) – that looks the most interesting. He gets in here with just 10-5 to carry and Barry Geraghty does the weight for his boss – JP McManus. Yes, he unseated Geraghty last time out, but he gets back onboard so must feel he can put that error behind him. A mark of 140 looks fair and this will be the lightest racing weight he’s ever raced on.