The Racing Post Gold Cup (formerly the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup) is run over 2m5f at Cheltenham’s December Meeting each season around the middle of the month.
In recent years, trainer Paul Nicholls’ has won the prize five times, the most recent being Frodon in 2018. Nicky Henderson is another trainer to look out for - having won the race three times since 2002 – while last year (2020) the race was won by the Michael Winters-trained Chatham Street Lad, who was only the third Irish-trained winner of the race in last 19 runnings.
It's also interesting that ALL of the last 24 winners were aged 8 or younger.
It’s generally, been a good contest for the bookmakers with just one winning favourite in the last 19 runnings (last winning market leader was in 2009), but that’s not to say those at the head of the market don’t do well as 12 of the last 19 winners returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting – while three of the last eight Racing Post Gold Cup winners returned 7/1.
Here at TQ we take a look back at recent winners and give you all the trends that matter ahead of the 2021 renewal – this year run on December 11th.
Recent Racing Post Gold Cup Winners
2020 - Chatham Street Lad (16/1)
2019 – Warthog (7/1)
2018 – Frodon (7/1)
2017 – Guitar Pete (9/1)
2016 – Frodon (14/1)
2015 – Villiage Vic (8/1)
2014 – Niceonefrankie (16/1)
2013 – Double Ross (7/1)
2012 – Unioniste (15/2)
2011 – Quantitativeeasing (6/1)
2010 – Poquelin (16/1)
2009 – Poquelin (7/2 fav)
2008 – Abandoned
2007 – Tamarinbleu (22/1)
2006 – Exotic Dancer (8/1)
2005 – Sir Oj (16/1)
2004 – Monkerhostin (4/1)
2003 – Iris Royal (7/1)
2002 – Fondmort (5/1)
2001 – Abandoned
2000 – Go Roger Go (7/1)
Racing Post Gold Cup Betting Trends
19/19 – Aged 8 or younger
17/19 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
15/19 – Had won over at least 2m4f (fences) before
15/19 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
14/19 - Went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival later that season (1 winner, Frodon – Ryanair Chase)
14/19 – Had won between 2-4 times over fences before
13/19 – Had raced at Cheltenham (fences) before (5 won)
13/19 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
12/19 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
12/19 – Officially rated 141 or higher
11/19 – French bred
11/19 – Unplaced favourites
8/19 – Carried 10-13 or more
8/19 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
8/19 – Ran in the Paddy Power (Nov) Gold Cup last time out (1 won)
6/19 – Finished in the top 5 in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last time out
5/19 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
5/19 – Won last time out
3/19 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
3/19 – Went to an Irish-trained horse
2/19 – Trained by David Pipe
2/19 – Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies
1/19 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 19 runnings is 10/1
Age Concern – This handicap tends to go to a younger, more ‘up-and-coming’ chaser rather than a handicapper that’s been around the block. This is backed up with ALL of the last 19 winners aged 8 or younger! In fact, the last horse to win this race aged in double-figures was in 1974. In recent years, we’ve even seen two 4 year-olds land the prize (2012 and 2016), but with 12 of the last 19 (63%) winners aged 6 or 7 years-old his age group have slightly edged it of late.
Recent Form – Having an outing in the last five weeks is another key trend to look for – 17 of the last 19 (89%) winners ticked this particular stat. Also having a good recent run seems to be key with 15 of the last 19 winners (79%) having finished in the top three in their last race, with 5 of those 19 having won last time out.
Track Experience – It’s no secret that horses that have performed well at Cheltenham before often do so again. This applies to all their meetings over the season and is why we see a lot of course winners at the Festival in March. It’s a demanding track with many tests, not to mention ‘the hill’ at the end, so having previous experience can only be a good thing – right? This is backed up with 13 of the last 19 winners of this race having run over fences at Cheltenham in the past – with 5 winning here.
Key Trial Races – Okay, it’s not a trial race as such, but the Paddy Power Gold Cup, which is run at Cheltenham at their November Meeting has always been a solid guide. It’s run over the same trip and always attracts the same sort of horses – young improving middle-distance handicap chasers! Yes, the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup is run on the New Course, whereas the Paddy Power Gold Cup is on the Old Course, but that doesn’t make much difference really. Over the last 19 runnings of this race we’ve seen 8 winners contest the Paddy Power Gold Cup the month before, with one horse – Exotic Dancer (2006) – winning both in the same season. With 6 of the last 19 winners of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup also having finished in the top 5 in the Paddy Power Gold Cup this is another trend to note – supported recently in 2019 with Warthog winning this race after running third in the Paddy Power Gold Cup the previous month.
Weight Watchers – Being a handicap then the weight carried is another trend look at. However, be warned as in recent years there hasn’t really been a standout stat here. Yes, 8 of the last 19 winners carried 10st 13lbs or more, but this stat could be turning around a bit as 8 of the last 10 winners (80%) won this with only 10st 10lbs or less on their backs – the 2019 winner, Warthog carried only 10st 3lbs, while last year’s winner had 10st 10lbs!
Trainer Trends – I’ve already mentioned the decent record that trainer Paul Nicholls has in this race – he’s won this prize five times and is sure to be mob-handed again in 2021 - 12 months ago he had three runners. The powerful Nicky Henderson yard also have three wins in the race over the years so must be respected too, while the David Pipe often like to target the prize. Philip Hobbs, Venetia William, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Nicky Richards are all other stables that have won this race in the last eight years.
Overall, we can expect another competitive renewal but despite that we can also take it for granted that trainer Paul Nicholls will have another strong hand in the race as they look for win number six. Don’t forget to look back to the result of the Paddy Power Gold Cup, which was run on Sat 13th Nov this year – especially horses that finished in the top five.
TQ VERDICT: Midnight Shadow was a nice winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup here last month and despite being 7lbs higher will be a popular choice to go in again, with the form of that race boosted by the win of Protektorat last weekend at Aintree. It’s a race the Paul Nicholls camp have done well in recently too - winning 5 of the last 19 and three of the last five - they run LALOR, who also ran well (3rd) in the aforementioned Paddy Power Gold Cup. He was staying on well that day to take the bronze medal but is now 5lbs better off with the winner too. He’s a proven course winner here too and the first-time cheekpieces are also on today, while that last run was also his first back from a wind op so we can expect a bit more improvement. Others of interest, that also ran in last month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup are DOSTAL PHIL (4th), Zanza (6th), Deyrann De Carjac (11th) and Coole Cody, who fell. Of that bunch, Dostal Phil is interesting, having also stayed on well that day. He’s 6lbs better off with Midnight Shadow here and with that run coming off a 7-month break then he can be expected to also improve for it. The Hobbs yard took this in 2015 as well and jockey Aidan Coleman, who was on last time, keeps the ride. Of the rest, the Henderson camp are always feared here - they run Fusil Raffles, who was last seen winning the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. However, he was a lucky winner that day really, having been 20 lengths down when the leader Shan Blue fell three out. CD winners, Siruh Du Lac and Cepage are others to not rule out, while jockey Rachael Blackmore catches the eye riding for the Venetia Williams yard - Fairinet - that won this race in 2014.