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8th December 2021

2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup Free Tips and Trends

Known as the Blue Riband on NH horse racing the Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup is the featured race on the final day (Friday) of the Cheltenham Festival that is staged each year in March.

Run over 3m 2 1/2f and with 22 fences to jump the race always attracts the best staying chasers from the UK, Ireland and France, while has been won in the past by household names such as Golden Miller, Arkle, Desert Orchid, Best Mate, Denman and Kauto Star, while in 2018 we saw the Colin Tizzard-trained Native River win the Cheltenham Gold Cup -  Did you know we’ve actually seen 9 winning favourites in the last 18 runnings?  Not a bad 50% strike-rate for a race as competitive as this!

In 2019 we saw the Willie Mullins-trained Al Boum Photo give the leading Irish trainer his first winner in the race and in 2020 he become the first horse since Best Mate to win back-to-back Cheltenham Gold Cups, after beating Santini and Lostintranslation in a race of fine margins.

Al Boum Photo will be hoping to become join the likes of Best Mate, Arkle, Cottage Rake and Golden Miller, who have all won the Cheltenham Gold Cup at least three times.

Here at TQ we look back at recent winners and gives you all the key Cheltenham Gold Cup trends to take into the 2021 renewal – this year run on Friday 19th March.

 

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Recent Cheltenham Gold Cup Winners

2020 – AL BOUM PHOTO (10/3 fav)
2019 – AL BOUM PHOTO (12/1)
2018 – NATIVE RIVER (5/1)
2017 – SIZING JOHN (7/1)
2016 – DON COSSACK (9/4 fav)
2015 – CONEYGREE (7/1)
2014 – LORD WINDERMERE (20/1)
2013 – BOBS WORTH (11/4 fav)
2012 – SYNCHRONISED (8/1)
2011 – LONG RUN (7/2 fav)
2010 – IMPERIAL COMMANDER (7/1)
2009 – KAUTO STAR (7/4 fav)
2008 – DENMAN (9/4)
2007 – KAUTO STAR (5/4 fav)
2006 – WAR OF ATTRITION (15/2)
2005 – KICKING KING (4/1 fav)
2004 – BEST MATE (8/11 fav)
2003 – BEST MATE (13/8 fav)

Cheltenham Gold Cup Betting Trends

18/18 – Aged 9 or younger
17/18 – Had raced within the last 3 months
16/18 – Had run over fences at Cheltenham before
16/18 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
15/18 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
15/18 – Had won over at least 3m (chase) before
14/18 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or more
14/18 – Won last time out
12/18 – Placed favourites
11/18 – Had won 5 or more times over fences in the UK or Ire before
11/18 – Rated 170 or higher
10/18 – Irish bred
9/18 – Winning favourites
8/18 – Had last raced in the previous calendar year
8/18 – Had won over fences at Cheltenham before
7/18 – Irish-trained winners
5/18 – Last race was in the King George VI Chase (Kempton)
4/18 – Won the Denman Chase (Newbury) last time out
3/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
2/18 – Ran in the Lexus Chase last time out
2/18 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
The average winning SP in the last 18 renewals is 11/2

Other Cheltenham Gold Cup Stats

Only one horse (Kauto Star 2009) has ever regained the race
26 of the last 27 winners have been aged 9 or younger
9 of the last 19 winners came here fresh – did not race that same calendar year
17 of the last 20 winners were rated 166 or higher
20 of the last 22 winners had won a race already that current season
14 of the last 20 winners had finished second or better at the Cheltenham Festival before
11 of the last 21 winners had run in that season’s King George VI Chase (Kempton)
All of the previous 21 winners had won a Grade One Chase contest before
The last winner aged older than 10 was in 1969 (What a Myth, 12)

Cheltenham Gold Cup – UK v Irish

16/23 – British-trained winners
7/23 – Irish-trained winners (3 of last 5 though)
Willie Mullins (Ire) has trained just two winners
Nicky Henderson (UK) has trained 2 of the last 9 winners
Paul Nicholls (UK) has trained 3 of the last 13 winners (4 in total)

 

TQ VERDICT: Al Boum Photo will cement his name in the Gold Cup hall of fame if he can land this famous race for a third year on the spin and emulate Best Mate, who did just that between 2002 and 2004. It will be a brave man to say he can’t as he’s still only 9 years-old and has returned this season as good as ever. The Mullins camp have given him the same prep as last year by winning at Tramore on New Year’s Day – which was his only run since winning this 12 months ago. He’s a horse that goes well fresh and with a mark of 175 is the top-rated in the field. He’s the champ, the favourite, the top-rated in the field and clearly the one to beat – I certainly can’t put you off him, but he’s also little value around 5/2. I also feel that this year’s Gold Cup is better than the two he’s won, while 12 months ago he only just got home by a neck from Santini, who tries again, with Lostintranslation back in third. However, that pair have hardly advertised the form since and even though they are clearly capable of better, they’ve had very average seasons, which casts a doubt about just how good that Gold Cup form of last year is. The King George winner – Frodon – continues to surprise and does love it here at Cheltenham. He might prove his doubters wrong again, but you just feel over this 3m 2 1/2f trip, will his stamina last out, but if the ground continues to dry out that will be in his favour. The warrior that is Native River, who won this in 2018, is back for more at the age of 11 and after a top win in the Cotswold Chase (run at Sandown this year and not Cheltenham), he continues to defy his age. But winners of that trial race don’t have the best record here – I think the last horse to do the double was Looks Like Trouble in 2000 (but I might be wrong), while only one horse has ever regained the Gold Cup crown and that was the mighty Kauto Star. He can still go well, but a place might be the best he can do and he’d of course love any more rain. The Venetia Williams-trained Royal Pagaille is the dark horse in the race and it’s interesting (and brave) that connections opted to run him here instead of the easier NH Chase on the opening day. That might be something to do with his owner, who is yet to win this race and gone close a few times, but he’s clearly a fast-improving staying chaser after three eye-catching wins this season and we’ll see if he’s up to this class here. He could easily grind it out from the front, but he’s another that you feel would want softer ground to be seen at his very best – all his runs to date have been on ground soft or worse. The main two against the champ though look to be a A Plus Tard and the Henderson-trained CHAMP. Both are strong finishers, so this trip and the stiff hill should be right up their street – if they jump the last in contention then it should be a epic battle up the home straight. A Plus Tard is still only 7 and he was a great winner of the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Xmas. He finished with a rattle again that day to collar Kemboy on the line and has tasted the Festival before when running third in the Ryanair Chase last season. With age on his side he should have more to come and connections have clearly been wrapping him up in cotton wool this season with just a few runs – Al Boum Photo won his first Gold Cup as a 7 year-old and it wouldn’t be a shock if this Henry De Bromhead runner did too. However, for me last season’s RSA winner - CHAMP – just edges it. He came from the clouds to win at the Festival last season to get the better of Minella Indo, who also runs here, so the extra few furlongs should be perfect. He’s had a wind op since too and returned to run a blinder over an inadequate 2m at Newbury (Game Spirit) last month so should be spot-on for this now. Yes, his jumping has not always been the best, but let’s not forget he’s only had 5 runs over fences (3 wins), so is getting better and learning all the time. Of the rest, Kemboy has the class to go well, but after running 7th last year and unseating in 2019, you just wonder if Cheltenham is his track. Of those at a bigger price, NATIVE RIVER (e/w), might also be worth a small interest. Yes, it would be a shock if he won, but he’s as consistent as they come and could easily get placed again. He’s run 20 times over fences and only been out of the top three once! He was fourth last year after never really travelling in the race and has returned this season better than ever. Any rain would help, but he’s got decent form on good ground too, while connections report him in great heart at home – he’ll have regular pilot, Richard Johnson, on too in what will be his seventh Festival outing and his fifth in this race!

 

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